Posts Tagged ‘ Butler Bulldogs ’

Devil Of A Game


Say what you want, but the Duke Blue Devils reached the top of the NCAA world after a nine year absence.

In a season that was reigned by Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, and a few other teams, Duke was never mentioned. They quietly did their thing, and while doing that all regular season, they quietly won the ACC, the ACC tournament, and earned their position in the tournament.

The naysayers and critics believed that Duke was the weakest of the #1 seeds in the tournament, and had the easiest road, but Duke went out and handled their business. Breezed through the South Region and the Final Four for a trip to Indianapolis.

Then the stage was set for the National Championship. They faced a team that had the crowd, and a “Hoosiers” like story behind them in the Butler Bulldogs. Like Duke, this was a team that handled their business. 25 straight wins, knocked off Goliaths such as Syracuse, Kansas State, and Michigan State. Playing down the road from the championship site (Lucas Oil Stadium), Butler was looking for a great story and cap off a Cinderella run.

Butler showed nothing but heart in a game where they were a 7.5 point underdog, and many people felt that Duke would steamroll them and make it no contest. The Bulldogs showed nothing but grit and grind in this game, when Duke got up by six, Butler responded with seven straight points. When the Blue Devils wanted to pull away, Butler would not let them, it took a 48 foot heave by Gordon Hayward that hit the backboard and off the front iron that gave Duke its first championship since 2001.

For the Blue Devils, it was their fourth championship, in a tournament where they knocked off a seed higher than four for the first time since 2001 (last time they won), and they used their strengths and improved their weakness. From Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler’s ability to shoot from the outside and the length and height of Brian Zoubek and the Plumlee brothers (Mason & Miles), coming home to Indiana to win a national championship. And Coach Mike Krzyzewski, coming off the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, claims another title, which ties him with Adolph Rupp of Kentucky for the second most championships among coaches with four. (Behind John Wooden’s 10).

Finally how about Nolan Smith. 30 years after his dad, Derek Smith won a National Championship with Louisville in 1980 in Indianapolis at the old Market Square Arena, he wins one himself in the same city at Lucas Oil Stadium. A great story indeed.

The National Championship stays in the ACC, and in the state of North Carolina continues to reign supreme in college hoops. And it will just add more fire to the already heated UNC/Duke rivalry. Celebration is on in Cameron, congratulations Duke. You earned it.

2010 Bracket Series: West Region- Sweet 16

The 2010 Bracket Series is back along with the Madness, as the Sweet 16 resumes with the games out west in Salt Lake City. The Syracuse Orange had no problem in their first two games, but they are going against a Butler team that has not lost in 2010 (22 straight wins). A newfound rivalry is resumed in the Beehive State as the Kansas State Wildcats go up against the Xavier Musketeers

(1) Syracuse Orange vs. (5) Butler Bulldogs- This will not be an easy task for the Orange, no Arinze Onuaku for this game, but Jim Boeheim stressed that he is focused on Butler and nothing else. The Bulldogs are the underdog, but they have also won 22 straight games. They have what it takes to beat Syracuse, and if they can get by that 2-3 Zone, and slow down the transition game, they have a chance to win. However, Syracuse is too talented, and are playing very well. Orange win.

(2) Kansas State Wildcats vs. (6) Xavier Musketeers- People are wondering why this is a rivalry. 1) Xavier blew K-State out by 26 in 2007, and K-State won this season by 15. 2.) Frank Martin’s familiarity with Xavier (being in Cincinnati). This is a game between two scrappy teams who want to go to the Elite Eight. Jacob Pullen & Jordan Crawford are two guards who will not let their teams go down without a fight. At the end of the day though, Xavier has been here before (only them and Michigan State have been this deep each of the past three years) and Kansas State has not been here. The tournament is when the Musketeers usually shine. Beware of the X, K-State. Musketeers in an upset.

On Friday, TSX will look at the Midwest & South Region’s Sweet 16 matchups. Enjoy the games everybody!

2010 Bracket Series: West Region- 2nd Round

The West Region 2nd Round has some very intriguing matchups, and only one low seed made it out of the first round: the Murray State Racers on Danero Thomas’ game winning jumper. Murray State has the task of facing a Butler team that has won 21 straight games, and overcame the 12 over 5 curse by dispatching UTEP. This region also features the three second round matchups the committee thought would be perfect, and those matchups will be broken down individually.

(1) Syracuse vs. (8) Gonzaga- This will be probably one of the best games in the second round. Two teams loaded with talent, two great coaches, and this game has put Syracuse in the most vulnerable spot of all the #1 seeds. Gonzaga has a good inside and outside game, along with Syracuse, and this is where Arinze Onuaku would be a factor. But since he is unlikely to play this weekend, this is a game that can go either way.

(2) Kansas State vs. (7) BYU- BYU’s mission: to play in their home state, but this will be boiled down to how Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen can do. BYU will have not as fresh legs, but Jimmer Fredette is a scoring machine himself, and if they can get a spark from Michael Loyd like he gave the Cougars in the Florida game, Kansas State will be in trouble. BYU just might not have enough in the tank to pull off the upset, but do not be surprised if they do win the game, and go on to Salt Lake City.

(3) Pittsburgh vs. (6) Xavier- Another great matchup. The X is not afraid of Pitt, and they could pull off the upset, but Pitt has a lot of weapons, and those weapons can be just a little too much for Xavier to overcome. A Sweet 16 without Xavier would be weird, but in this game, it just looks as if the Panthers will overwhelm the Musketeers by the end of the game.

(5) Butler vs. (13) Murray State- UPSET ALERT! Hate to put Butler on the upset alert again, but Murray State is deep, they have such a good rotation, but the thing that could work against them is if they still living off that emotion from Thomas’ buzzer beater. They have to stay focused on the Bulldogs or they will be out of the tournament very quick.

Enjoy the 2nd round games later today, TSX will return the Bracket Series for the Regionals next Wednesday & Thursday.

2010 Bracket Series: West Region- 1st Round

The final bracket is broken down in the Bracket Series for the first round, and it is the West Region. Syracuse is the top seed, and they are sort of limping into the tournament with two straight losses, but as with all the other regions, they have the ability to take it all the way, as well as the fellow teams in the field. Let’s look at the first round matchups out west.

(1) Syracuse vs. (16) Vermont- The last time these two teams met in the tournament, Vermont knocked off Syracuse. This time around, it will be different. Wes Johnson will throw the team on his back, and there are too many weapons on the Orange for Vermont to handle.

(8) Gonzaga vs. (9) Florida State- The Zags are perennial tournament attendees, The Noles are in and out every other year. Gonzaga’s experience will trump Florida State in this first round.

(5) Butler vs. (12) UTEP- UPSET ALERT!- The Bulldogs should watch out for UTEP, although they lost to Houston in the C-USA, this UTEP is something special. If Butler wins, do not be surprised, but UTEP has the potential to go far.

(4) Vanderbilt vs. (13) Murray State- UPSET ALERT! Murray State has the deepest team in the field, and has the possibility to have a long run, They are experienced, and the fact that they can get so many players into the game, makes it very difficult for Vanderbilt to match up with.

(6) Xavier vs. (11) Minnesota- Something about the X that happens in March… if any team knows how to turn it on in the tournament, it’s the Musketeers. This is a team that can go far in the tournament, and they do it every year. They should win this first round matchup.

(3) Pittsburgh vs (14) Oakland- Pittsburgh wins this one with ease. Tourney tested, Big East ready.

(7) BYU vs (10) Florida- BYU will be motivated to get to Salt Lake City, which is why they are going to come at it with everything they have, but even then, it may not be enough. Florida has a lot of weapons. Advantage to the Gators.

(2) Kansas State vs (15) North Texas- Out of the #2 seeds, K-State is the most vulnerable. The Mean Green could leave the Little Apple green with envy, but if K-State can hit the three, and play like they have all season, and not be complacent, they will win easily.

This concludes the Bracket Series for the first round. Second Round game previews will be this weekend.