Commentary

Vitale: Why college basketball is great

Updated: April 6, 2010, 2:38 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium was so, so special.

As I sat there and watched the classic confrontation between Duke and Butler, it hit me why college basketball is so amazing.

[+] EnlargeKyle Singler
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesKyle Singler hit some clutch shots Monday night, helping Duke pull out a 61-59 win over Butler.
First of all, both teams poured their hearts out. It was incredible to see the drama and the intensity. Duke's biggest lead in the game was six points, that coming in the first half. Butler's biggest margin was two points.

Then there was the reaction of the fans. It was a tremendous atmosphere with over 70,000 cheering wildly. Yes, Butler was the hometown favorite and the overall underdog in this brilliant one-night play. Brad Stevens' club heard the cheers and it probably served as additional motivation.

It was so well played that the teams combined to turn the ball over just 20 times, despite incredible defense.

Kyle Singler, who earned Most Outstanding Player honors with 19 points (totaling 40 in the two Final Four games), made big play after big play to lead Duke.

The bottom line is the drama and emotion of Butler and Duke would have never happened in college football. Let's face reality. We have seen a number of non-BCS schools competing in BCS bowls. The truth is none of them, even with unblemished records, have had a chance to win the national title.

Butler, of the Horizon League, earned the opportunity of a lifetime and fell just short. You will never see that David vs. Goliath play out on the college gridiron. That is why college basketball is the best, baby!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.