Sun Mar 20 01:01am EDT
Yeah, I'd say Butler coach Brad Stevens is entitled to a celebratory chest bump.
This was the scene after the Bulldogs improbable, foul-strewn victory over Pittsburgh:
It took all of Shelvin Mack's self control not to come over and foul. (Oh, I kid. You had 30 points tonight, Shelvin. You can take a little ribbing for the sideline bump that almost cost your team the game.)
That scene encapsulates everything I love about college basketball. So does this:
That's the look of pain. Real pain, not "I just lost in the NBA finals and it sucks but I'll be cool because I'm flying to Ibiza tomorrow" pain. It's the sort of look you only see in the NCAA tournament.
To listen to the Pitt players speak after the game was heart-wrenching. Here's what Nasir Robinson, he of the inexplicable last-second foul, had to say about his moment of infamy:
"I wasn't thinking at all. I was trying to make a play. It was a dumb play. [...] I take the blame, man. I take the blame for the loss."
Don't do that, Nasir. It was a stupid foul and one that put Butler in a position to win the game. But you were 7-9 from the field and scored 16 points. Without your contribution, there's no tie game to blow. There were dozens of other things that happened during the first 39 minutes, 59 seconds that could have turned the tide. Pitt could have weathered Butler's first-half run a little better. Somebody could have defended Mack on the perimeter while he made seven three-pointers. Gilbert Brown could have hit that second free throw. And don't forget that the only reason your team was in a position to go to OT in the first place was because of another inane foul by Shelvin Mack.