NCAA Bracket 2011: Butler vs. Pitt Yields the Maddest Ending This March

J FCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2011

WASHINGTON - MARCH 19: After making the game winning free throw, Matt Howard #54 of Butler jumps into the arms of teammate Zach Hahn #3 as Pittsburgh's Travon Woodall #3 looks on following  their game in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Verizon Center on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. Butler won the game 71-70.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

It's really not over until it's over.

I'll never underestimate that cliche statement ever again.

Butler's third-round matchup with No. 1 seed Pittsburgh deceived audiences with a "clear" winner twice in the final seven seconds.

It was the wildest, most unexpected finale in the tournament thus far. Even Butler's coach Brad Stevens felt bad about how it ended, but fortunately for him, he found himself on the better side of an awkward deal.

Down by one, Butler had the ball with seven ticks remaining, and Andrew Smith laid in the go-ahead bucket with less than three on the clock.

It appeared Smith had put in the game-winner, but as Pitt's Gilbert Brown was driving down the sideline preparing for a desperation heave, Shelvin Mack ran into him, drawing an unthinkable foul.

Mack had scored 30 for the Bulldogs, but one bonehead play would erase the W that was all but chalked up on the blackboard. Mack stared blankly in unbelief at the crime he had just committed.

All Brown had to do was make both free throws to avoid the upset, right? Half the nation was probably writing in Pittsburgh in the next round of their brackets.

Brown made the first, but the second fell into the hands of Butler's Matt Howard who tried to throw up a full-court attempt with 0.8 left.

As Butler fans were leaving their seats in sadness, a ref's whistle was music to their ears. Nasir Robinson had fouled Howard, and he would go to the line for two.

Matt Howard sunk his second straight game-winner, but this time it came from the charity stripe. He missed the second foul shot, but it didn't matter.

Butler and Pitt traded incredibly idiotic mental mistakes in the final seven seconds. Shelvin Brown will sleep tonight, but Nasir Robinson will be haunted for a long time. However, Brown may be awake all night thanking God for the outcome.

I feel bad for both players, but you just can't do things like that at the end of the game.

But what a great game it was! One No. 1 seed down!