Last night’s game was a screenwriter’s dream. He (or she) was probably like the rest of us, watching Duke and Butler go at it. They saw the atmosphere, the contrast in coaching styles, the big shots, the tremendous defense, and started writing their interpretation of the story right there.
They saw Gordon Hayward’s last-second heave from half-court come up short, and with Duke celebrating, Butler in disbelief, as well as a shocked crowd and millions around the country, they knew a story like this was pure gold. Even in Duke’s win and Butler’s loss, there’s a story that has to be told, will be told, and when it is, we all win.
For 39 minutes, I refused to become emotionally invested in this game. After making the trip to the Elite Eight to watch Baylor-Duke, and getting my hopes up for Baylor, I was let down, thanks to Duke prevailing. With that as the backdrop, Ed hit the highway to the National Championship, and put his fandom to the ultimate test. For me though, this was one that was void of emotion. Sure, there were times when excessive yelling, reckless tweeting, and curse words were tossed, but that’s a part of watching the game, but when the last minute hit, the emotion came back, and I became invested in the ending of this game. Even with the ending, and despite the fact this post is being written as the first set of Sportscenter highlights are rolling, there’s no anger residing inward. Duke made the most of their opportunities last night, and won the game. In basketball, sometimes it really isn’t that complicated. Sometimes, it really is just a case of one team winning and one team losing.
For the Butler players, there’s nothing but respect and admiration for them. To play that hard and come up short is something that’s hard to cope with, but the hope is they can take this experience in stride, even though the feeling sucks right now. As for Duke, they earned it. Everyone said for Butler to win, they would have to hold the Blue Devils under 60. When it was all said and done, Duke finished with 61.