In years past, the Butler and Texas seedings would be flip-flopped. Butler was always the underdog and Texas would be a Goliath. It shows how much the NCAA selection committee have changed their mindset over the years.
Butler didn’t make the NCAA Tournament last season during a transition after Brad Stevens left to coach the Boston Celtics. It didn’t take long for The Bulldogs to look just as good as they were under Stevens.
Texas has had some good teams under head coach Rick Barnes. He is often criticized for underachieving in the NCAA Tournament. That would once again be the case if they fail to advance into the third round.
Can Chris Holtmann get his first NCAA Tournament win as the coach of Butler?
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Butler makes their first NCAA Tournament since Brad Stevens left for the NBA. Head coach Chris Holtmann took over the job after Brandon Miller decided not to return after an extended medical leave of absence. They finished 2nd in the Big East and lost to Xavier in the conference tournament. Butler doesn’t rely as much on perimeter shooting as in the past.
Texas started the season with high expectations. They were 11-2 before starting their Big 12 conference schedule. They seem to face a ranked opponent in every game. Actually, they faced six ranked opponents in their final eight games. They went 3-5 in that stretch. The Longhorns may not have came out the winner in many of those games, but they are battle-tested.
Texas is one of the best rebounding teams in the country. A lot of that is due to many of the up-tempo offenses they faced. Butler is an elite offensive rebounding team. If Butler can keep possessions going, Texas will be in trouble. Butler will advance after a tough, physical game.
Prediction: #6 Butler Bulldogs
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.