We're now less than one hour from tip-off, perfect time to check in with the SB Nation blog network about Monday night's national championship game between Butler and Duke.
At CougCenter, our Washington Sate blog, they offer an extensive preview, and point out what they think will be a key to the game: defensive rebounding, something Butler does very well.
People wonder why I harp on that as an important defensive skill, but the Bulldogs are the perfect example of why it matters. They're good-not-great at a lot of things, but the fact that they don't give opponents extra opportunities to score makes them a great defensive team overall. That's how important it is to end possessions, and it was the difference against Syracuse, Kansas State and Michigan State. Butler held them all to under 30 percent offensive rebounding -- and these are teams that were at 37.6, 40.4 and 39.7. They are able to take relatively ordinary talent and produce simply extraordinary results through being better fundamentally than all of their opponents.
They're likely going to have to be just as extraordinary tonight if they want to have a chance of shutting down Duke and pull off what will be considered an accomplishment of historical proportions. The Blue Devils have only been held under 42 percent offensive rebounding once in this tournament (by Cal, oddly enough), and that's not an accident -- they ranked No. 6 nationally in OR%.
And now, more Open Game Threads then you know what to do with:
Double-T Nation: NCAA March Madness Open Thread :: National Championship Game
Blogging the Bracket: National Championship Game Open Thread
The Only Colors: National Championship Game Open Thread
Black Heart Gold Pants: WE'RE TALKIN' BASKETBALL: White On White Crime For The Title (complete with a bingo card!)
Building The Dam: NCAA Basketball National Championship Open Thread
California Golden Blogs: National Championship Open Thread: Duke vs Butler
The UConn Blog: TheOpenThread: Butler vs. Satan, NCAA title game