Around this time every March, without fail, the basketball world gets divided into two factions: NCAA fans who appreciate the tournament more than anything the NBA has to offer, and NBA fans who are adamant that their league is superior on account of the sheer chasm in average talent. It's safe to say that nobody on the NBA side will have been swayed by today's game between Butler and Kansas State.â†µ
The game had it all, where "it" means "imaginable faults in gameplay." Kansas State shot 22-57 from the field, including an unwatchable 5-18 stretch to open the second half. The Wildcats' star backcourt of Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen combined for two points in the first half. Two. The officiating, as is typical of college games, was uneven and arbitrary on both sides of the court. Butler committed 20 turnovers, many of them unforced. And they won.
The second half of the game was less a defensive struggle and more a comedy of errors. By the time Butler was whistled for a palming violation in the middle of a fast break, our eyes had begun barfing blood and bile, which, how did those things even get into our eyes in the first place? The Wildcats' total inability to execute in the last two minutes of the game was an appropriate denouement for the game. By which we mean it sucked.â†µ
And look, we're very happy for Butler, who were clearly underseeded as punishment for playing in a mediocre conference. They're legit and this is a giant victory for the mid-majority. But good heavens, what an ugly way to get there.