Commentary

Jim Calhoun leads UConn to title

Originally Published: April 4, 2011
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Jim Calhoun is a street fighter, a guy who will throw the clipboard and show great emotion on the sideline. But, for the third time in his career, he is also a national champion.

The Connecticut Huskies posted an ugly win over Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs Monday night in Houston to take the title.

UConn was able to shut down the dynamic duo of Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard, limiting them to a combined 20 points.

It was a game of defense, tightness and bad shots. The teams combined for 94 points, the fewest in a title game since 1949. There was no shot clock or three-point line back then!

Calhoun joins a special group with at least three national titles -- names like Wooden, Krzyzewski, Knight, Rupp ... Wow!

My friends, it was David vs. Goliath going into this game. In the end, it was too much Kemba Walker and too many missed shots.

Remember, this was a Connecticut team picked tenth in the Big East preseason poll. The Huskies were ninth in the Big East during the regular season.

But Calhoun and his team were incredible in tournament scenarios, starting with their performance in Maui. They found ways to win close games. Go ask Arizona and Kentucky about that!

Then came the run of five wins in five games in the Big East tourney, including four against ranked teams. That sort of endurance helps build a championship attitude.

Here is a salute to the team from Storrs, Connecticut ... men's NCAA basketball champions again, 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.