I hate it. I hate so much what I’m about to do. It’s the easiest rationalization and the poorest explanation. But, the Spartans were robbed.
They did not play well. They did not make their free throws. They were bothered by physical play. They missed easy buckets. But doggone it, they were robbed!
In the first half, 2 cheap and 1 legitimate fouls gave Raymar Morgan 3. He picked up his fourth less than 8 minutes into the second half. Others in foul trouble forced Tom Izzo to give significant minutes to Delvin Roe and Chris Allen, as well as make odd substitutions and lineup combos. The officials put them in that situation. They called the game extremely tight. But, that is not where they got robbed.
Butler went 10 minutes in the second half without a field goal. They were sent to the line numerous times during that stretch, allowing them to keep their 4 point edge. But, that is not where they got robbed.
With 23 seconds left, the Spartans were down 50-49 with the ball. The ball ended up in Draymond Green’s hands, and he proceeded to give a hard dribble in to the basket and pull up in front of Butler’s star Gordon Hayward. A collision ensued. Take a look at the picture above, I’ll wait. In a game where officials could not keep their power tool away from their buccal cavity, and on a night where they severely crippled an already hobbling MSU team with fouls, there was no whistle. Nothing. They were robbed of, if nothing else, an opportunity. To Butler’s credit, they played extremely hard, and fought physically on every possession. They limited the Spartans to just 50 points. That said, with their star out of commission, and with their other significant bodies in foul trouble, the Spartans found a way to get within a bucket away of the lead. And with a bang of the body, and slap of the arm, Gordon Hayward got away with basketball murder.
MSU played hard. Butler played hard. MSU, however, deserved that opportunity at the line, especially with the way the game had been called all night. It’s not too far of a stretch to subscribe to the theory that as much as the NBA loves their stars in the championship, college basketball loves its Cinderellas perhaps even more. Enjoy the massacre on Monday!