#6 Butler (26-8) made a name playing the role of Samson and slaying giants. #11 Bucknell (28-5) have also slayed a few giants in the NCAA Tournament (2005 & 2006), but those victories have not come recently.
After failing to make the ‘Big Dance’ last season, Butler wants to start where they left off and win the title.
Will Bucknell “out-Butler” Butler?
Who do you think will win? We help you fill out your bracket.
The Butler Bulldogs won some big games this season. They beat Indiana on a neutral court (sort of) and beat Gonzaga at home. No other team in the tournament field has beaten two #1 seeds.
When Butler has Rotnei Clarke, Andrew Smith and Roosevelt Jones on the court, they are at their best. They struggle when Kellen Dunham takes too many three-point shots. He has taken 162 attempts and has only hit 56 of them. Clarke is even more active behind the arc with 262 attempts, but he hits those shots over 41% of the time.
The Bucknell Bison might have the best player in the tournament. 6’11 senior Mike Muscala is a double-double machine. His season averages are 19 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He has the ability to score 30+ points per game if needed. Also, if the game is close at the end, he is a great free-throw shooter, so he can stay on the court.
Muscala isn’t the only show in town. Junior guard Cameron Ayers has the ability to attack the rim and pick up the slack if Muscala is in foul trouble. The Bison can also shoot from behind the arc, but are limited to Bryson Johnson and Ayres. The rest of the team doesn’t have shooting range.
Butler’s Smith will have the job of stopping Muscala, but he is not a strong defender. I don’t see the Bulldogs stopping him.
Mike Muscala is the reason why Bucknell will upset Butler.
Prediction: #11 Bucknell Bison
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