While the Connecticut Huskies cut down the nets as the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions, you couldn't help but feel the pain of the Butler Bulldogs.
Going into the title game, the Bulldogs appeared to be the more rested team. Butler was also the more experienced team, having come up just two points short of winning it all last year.
But what transpired on Monday night had little to do with how the two teams matched up on paper.
Butler simply couldn't score.
Often when a team shoots as remarkably poor as Butler did, the theorists come out with their reasoned conclusions as to why such a matter would happen. Most would say that the team was the victim of tough defense, bad shot selection, and tired legs to get the proper lift off their shots.
Specifically in Butler's case, some might argue that the Bulldogs' luck ran out. They simply weren't good enough to compete with elite teams, and previous wins against high-profile teams were an anomaly.
Perhaps there is some truth to those premises.
More than likely, though, Butler simply couldn't get the ball to go into the hoop, which is something that happens to every basketball team.
Butler shot 18.8 percent. In their previous five games, Butler had shooting percentages of 40.7, 46.2, 42.2, 40.0, and 35.6.
Consider that Butler's defense held Connecticut to 34.5 percent shooting. In the five previous games, the Huskies had shooting percentages of 48.5, 43.2, 47.4, 41.1, and 46.9.
It's hard to imagine that fatigue and tough defense could play this much of a role. Butler went from shooting 35.6 to 18.8, and Connecticut went from 46.9 to 34.5. Both teams had by far their worst shooting displays of the tournament.
The numbers particularly don't lie in Butler's case. The Bulldogs had some poor shooting performances this season, but none nearly close to 18.8 percent. It was the lowest shooting percentage ever for a National Championship game.
The best evidence of Butler simply being the victim of shots that wouldn't drop, would be the performance of big man Andrew Smith. Though Smith isn't known for his scoring ability, he shot 59.3 percent from the field during the season.
Smith was just two-of-nine from the field on Monday. Nearly all of his shots were within five feet of the hoop.
In fact, it took nearly 34 minutes for Butler to score in the paint. Connecticut's interior defense is good, but it's not that good.
Inside the three-point arc, Butler converted three shots out of 31 attempts, while outside the arc, the Bulldogs converted nine shots out of 33 attempts.
Then there's Matt Howard.
The 6'8 senior forward shot just three-of-10 from the field against VCU on Saturday, and followed that up with a one-of-13 shooting performance on Monday. Though that might suggest the rigors of the season had caught up to Howard, few shots fell short, and as fatigued as Howard may have been, making one of 13 attempts suggests something more than tired legs.
We can over-analyze this to death, but going 12-of-64 isn't going to win, Butler head coach Brad Stevens said.
Stevens may not want to analyze it, but there has to be some explanation for shooting 18.8 percent.
Jay Williams of ESPN mentioned that it's difficult to shoot in a dome, but other teams have played in domes before, and didn't shoot that badly.
It seems that Butler was partially denied the National Championship because shots that normally would go in simply didn't.