Butler upends #1-seed Pitt in a bizarre ending

University of Pittsburgh’s Gary McGhee (L) goes to the basket against Butler University’s Matt Howard during the first half of their third round NCAA basketball game in Washington, March 19, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Since 2003, only one #8-seed (Alabama, 2004) has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. It’s a tough thing to do because of that second round matchup against a #1 seed.

Last year’s Cinderella, the Butler Bulldogs, just joined Alabama by beating top-seed Pitt, 71-70.

Butler took the lead with under three seconds to play on an Andrew Smith layup, and as Pitt’s Gilbert Brown caught the long inbounds pass along the sideline, Butler’s Shelvin Mack ran into him and was called for a foul. Brown made the first to tie the game, but missed the second, and on the rebound Butler’s Matt Howard was fouled by Nasir Robinson. He made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second to give the Bulldogs the victory.

Both fouls were monumentally ill-advised and I’m being kind to phrase it that way because these are college kids and not professionals. In those situations, you don’t want to put the ref into a position to make a call like that. Mack’s poor decision came on the fly, but Robinson should have known that the game was at worst heading to overtime and kept his hands off of Howard.

Mack scored 30 points to lead the way for the Bulldogs. Meanwhile, the Panthers shot 55% from the field and outrebounded Butler, 31-21, and still found a way to lose this game.

All along, I thought the Southeast region was the toughest to predict. I didn’t really like Pitt as a Final Four team, but Florida, BYU, Wisconsin and Kansas State all have their flaws as well. I wouldn’t be shocked if Butler made a repeat appearance in the Final Four. They execute really well and obviously have last year’s experience to draw upon.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

It’s a good day to be a college basketball fan

Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski (L) talks with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill head coach Roy Williams prior to the teams’ NCAA basketball game in Durham, North Carolina February 9, 2011. REUTERS/Ellen Ozier (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Check out this lineup of college hoops today (all times ET):

12 PM: #2 Kansas @ #24 Missouri (CBS)
The Jayhawks need a victory in Columbia to win the Big 12 outright. They have a one-game lead over Texas with one game to play and are hoping to secure a #1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament as well. Meanwhile, Missouri is hoping to complete an unbeaten season at home.

2 PM: #7 Notre Dame @ #16 UConn (ESPN)
It’s senior night for the Huskies, who have beaten the Irish seven straight times at Gampel Pavilion. Notre Dame can earn the #1 seed in the Big East tournament with a win today and a Pittsburgh loss to Villanova.

4 PM: #19 Villanova @ #5 Pittsburgh (CBS)
Villanova has faded after a strong start to the season, but could still spoil the Panthers’ bid to be the top seed in the Big East Championship if they’re able to upset Pitt on their home floor. The Panthers need a win to solidify their bid to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

6 PM: #14 Florida @ #20 Vanderbilt (ESPN)
These two teams went into overtime the first time they met this season and the Gators can clinch the outright SEC title with a win against the Commodores in Nashville.

8 PM: #4 Duke @ #13 North Carolina (CBS)
The ACC regular season championship is on the line as the Blue Devils face the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. In the first meeting at Cameron, UNC had a 16-point lead before Duke came back to win 79-73. Duke is hoping to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and needs a win tonight to round out its resume.

It’s not often that there are five Top 25 matchups lined up every two hours like there are today. And don’t forget, #10 Wisconsin plays #1 Ohio State at 4 PM (on CBS) on Sunday.

Yet another reason to outlaw male cheerleaders [video]

As if we needed another reason…

After the Louisville player dunks, check out the cheerleader who grabs the ball and throws it in the air. That’s all well and good if the buzzer had sounded — but the game wasn’t over yet. There was still 0.5 seconds remaining. Louisville was charged with a technical, and Pitt hit both free throws to cut the lead to three. Pitt had a chance at a half court heave that could have tied the game.

Dude was lucky it didn’t go in.

What we learned: Dion Lewis needs help; so does USC’s defense

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Dion Lewis #28 of the Pittsburgh Panthers runs with the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Now that college football is back and we no longer have to spend our time over-analyzing off-field issues, let’s turn our attention to over-analyzing what we’ve seen in one night the play on the field.

The first night of games was pretty vanilla — outside of Utah’s overtime win over Pittsburgh, as Anthony pointed out earlier — but it did give us a little bit of insight into a few teams, and what we could possibly expect to see from them down the road.

Let’s take a look at three things we learned on Thursday night: Read the rest of this entry »

On a night of blowouts, Utah’s upset over PITT was a savior

SALT LAKE CITY - NOVEMBER 22:  Head Coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Uteswatches the game against the BYU Cougars at Rice-Eccles Stadium on November 22, 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Just to have football on my television again was enough for me to sit through South Carolina’s 41-13 dismantling of Southern Miss and not have the goofy grin leave my face the entire game, but opening night in college football was largely a dud.

I guess that’s what you get when No. 2 Ohio State opens up with feeble Marshall, or No. 13 Miami hosts the Florida Institute for Dishwashers or whomever the hell they played last night.

But one game did live up to the hype, despite it being one top 25 team against an unranked.

Pundits knew how good Utah has been at home over the years. The Utes hadn’t lost a game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in close to three seasons, winning 18 in a row while also racking up a 7-0 lifetime record against current Big East teams.

That included PITT.

The Panthers got on the board early with a Dion Lewis 3-yard touchdown run, but Utah fired back with 17 unanswered points in what looked like a potential rout. Then PITT added a Dan Hutchins 37-yard field goal with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter to make it, 17-10.

In the fourth, PITT added another field goal and Utah responded with a DeVonte Christopher 61-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Wynn. Just when you thought the Panthers would mail it in, they scored 10 unanswered points in the final 7:59 to tie the game.

Of course, that doesn’t even begin to tell what happened. PITT missed a field goal as time expired, but because Utah called a time out in effort to try and ice the kicker (which is turning out to be one of the dumbest strategies in football), Hutchins got another attempt and of course, nailed a 30-yarder to force OT.

In the extra session, Utah intercepted PITT QB Tino Sunseri (which was a great play along the sidelines), setting up Joe Phillips’ 21-yard game-winning field goal. (The final was, 24-21.)


On a night where the blowout was king, PITT and Utah’s thriller stood above the rest. Thank God football is back…

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