3:17 left in the second half: UConn, 46-35. What do you suppose all those other Big East teams are thinking right now? How could a Butler team that is shooting 3-for-28 have gotten to this point, perhaps? Matt Howard is 1-for-11. Butler is 3-for-28 on two-point shots. UConn has 10 blocked shots.
5:49 left in the second half: I'm not saying it's over, but it sure looks over. Butler is trailing, 43-30. The Bulldogs are shooting 9-for-53 from the field. That's not a typo. They went at least 10 minutes between field goals in the second half. Matt Howard is 1-for-10 from the field, Andrew Smith 2-for-8, Shelvin Mack 2-for-13. You get the picture. It's bleak. Jim Calhoun is on the brink of his third NCAA title.
11:50 left in the second half: UConn, 33-28. Lamb hit a baseline jumper after rebounding his own miss. Then Shawn Vanzant hit a 15-footer off an inbounds pass -- Butler's second two-pointer. After Lamb missed, Roscoe Smith blocked Vanzant's drive at the other end. Smith has four blocks and has been a big factor down low. Kemba Walker has 10 points to lead all scorers.
13:31 left in the second half: UConn moves ahead, 31-26, on a steal and breakaway dunk by freshman Jeremy Lamb, who has come alive after a curious, scoreless first half. Butler hasn't scored since Chase Stigall's three early in the half. The Bulldogs still have just one two-point goal in the game, which is almost two-thirds done. Amazing. How can a team win a national title doing that? Butler finds ways to win, but it's hard when virtually every shot attempt in the paint gets blocked.
15:54 left in the second half: UConn rides an 8-0 run to take a 27-25 lead. Butler went up six early in the half on a three-pointer by Chase Stigall, but the Huskies used their stifling defense to storm right back. Jeremy Lamb, who had gone scoreless in the first half, hit a three-pointer to make it 26-25. Then, after a flurry of missed shots, blocks and turnovers (ah, memories of that first half!), Kemba Walker was fouled after driving the length of the floor with a long rebound and made one free throw.
Halftime: Butler leads, 22-19, after a 28-foot three-pointer by Shelvin Mack at the halftime buzzer. It was, without a doubt, the worst half I've ever seen in a national title game. Mack scored the last six points of the half on two threes and leads Butler with seven points. The Bulldogs are shooting 6-for-27 and have made just one basket inside the three-point arc.
Kemba Walker has seven to lead UConn. But the Huskies' star guard is 3-for-11 and picked up his second foul late in the half on a charge. UConn has 10 team fouls, Butler six. The Huskies are leading the rebounding battle, 27-18.
3:49 left in the first half: Sorry, I was so mesmerized by the brick-laying, I forgot to update at the last timeout. All you missed was more regrettable offensive play. It's 19-19, which is fitting because neither team has shot worth a damn. Butler has ONE two-point basket and it 5-for-21 shooting. UConn is 9-for-28 and hasn't made a three-pointer. Butler is in it because they've made four from long range. Shelvin Mack, who was miserable early, just made a long three to tie it and might be heating up. Let's hope someone does. Kemba Walker is 3 of 10 for the Huskies, who have 10 offensive rebounds and are outrebounding Butler by nine.
11:58 left in the first half: It hasn't gotten any better for Butler. UConn leads, 13-9, and has held the Bulldogs to 2-for-14 shooting. The Huskies quickness and long arms have made it difficult for Butler to get open shots in the halfcourt set. They have two three-pointers, one by Chase Stigall and the other by Matt Howard. They haven't made a two-point shot. UConn is 6 of 17, but Kemba Walker has come on, hitting a pullup jumper and a three-point play on a fastbreak.
15:58 left in the first half: UConn leads, 4-3, after a ragged first four minutes. It became clear from the start that Butler was going to struggle for good shots against UConn's defense. Chase Stigall, who had just two field goals in the first five games of the tournament, took four shots early and made a three-pointer. The Bulldogs missed their other eight shots, and badly. Matt Howard had his first post-up blocked by Roscoe Smith and bricked a three-pointer from the top of the key. Shelvin Mack missed a couple of drives to the hoop.
UConn wasn't much better. The Huskies got layups from Tyler Oleander and Alex Oriakhi, but they're 2-for-9. Kemba Walker, their star junior, is 0-for-4 and just had his drive swatted away by 7-foot Andrew Smith.