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Dublin: 18 °C Saturday 20 July, 2019
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Connecticut Huskies end mad March as top dog

The UConn Huskies won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in Houston last night, beating the Butler Bulldogs 53-41.

Kemba Walker (centre) holds up the championship trophy with his Connecticut teammates.
Kemba Walker (centre) holds up the championship trophy with his Connecticut teammates.
Image: Ryan McKee/NCAA Photos/AP/Press Association Images

COLLEGE BASKETBALL MIGHT fly under the radar here in Ireland, but over in America it is a very big deal as the University of Connecticut proved last night.

The Huskies, led by star point guard and tournament MVP Kemba Walker, won their third NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in Houston, scoring a 53-41 victory over the Butler Bulldogs of Indianapolis to bring this year’s “March Madness” tournament to an end.

In stark contrast to the exciting and unpredictable manner in which the 68-team tournament had unfolded over the last three weeks, the final itself was strictly one for the purists and has been described in many quarters as the worst championship game in years.

Butler entered the game as firm underdogs, surprising many by making it as far as the final after they started the tournament as the eighth seed in the Southeast region.

In the end, it was their inaccuracy rather than their underdog tag which proved to be their downfall, hitting the net with just 18% of their attempts.

Though the Huskies were only marginally better, they could rely on big performances from Walker, who scored 16 points, and their other star man Jeremy Lamb, who chipped in with twelve, to pull a third national championship out of the bag.

And so it ends until November when all 346 colleges in the 32 NCAA Division-I leagues will start again and try to emulate Connecticut’s success – but not before broadcaster CBS had a chance to play us out with their traditional end-of-tournament montage, cut as always to “One Shining Moment.”

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Niall Kelly

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