Butler Basketball: Cinderella Team or Deadly Threat?
The Associated Press has the Butler Bulldogs ranked as No. 11. USA Today has them ranked as No. 10.
However, the NCAA Tournament committee gave the Bulldogs a seven seed.
How could that be? Are you just as confused as I am?
If the Bulldogs are worthy of a No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, should they not be deserving of at least a No. 3 seeding?
According to the polls, there are supposedly only nine or 10 teams better than Butler in college basketball. But to the NCAA tournament committee, apparently at least 24 teams are better than Butler.
I am completely baffled.
The Butler Bulldogs have exhibited one of the best finishes of the college basketball season. They won 13 of their last 14 games, and the one loss came against Drake, a five seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Moreover, the Bulldogs have lost only three games all season, by a combined total of 10 points. Butler also won the Horizon League title, a conference that boasts four teams with over 20 wins.
Only four teams in Division I have a better overall record than Butler does.
So why has Butler fallen from the graces of the NCAA selection committee, despite its Top 10 status? This may forever remain a mystery locked away in Sunday’s tournament selection committee room.
However, one thing is certain: Butler is this year’s biggest Cinderella, and its stagecoach will not turn back into a pumpkin when the clock strikes midnight.
With four players averaging over 10 points per game, look for Butler to rout the South Alabama Jaguars.
The Bulldogs' next challenge will most likely be Tennessee on Sunday.
These two teams are similar in many ways. Both are ranked in the Top 25 in offensive efficiency nationally. Both have a lingering swagger from their 29-win seasons. Both average wins by at least 10 points.
Tennessee has, without a doubt, played a tougher schedule. But the team also struggled at the end of the season, and lost to Arkansas in the SEC Tournament after receiving the number one seeding and a first round bye.
Butler, on the other hand, won its conference tournament and finished their season tenaciously. With their confidence rising, the Bulldogs should continue with the same intensity as they look to upset the two seed Tennessee Volunteers.
The challenge to continue their run looks daunting, but not impossible. A win against Tennessee could catapult the Bulldogs to at least the Elite Eight, if not further.
Is Butler this year’s Cinderella?
This seven seed will prove they are a better than their seeding, a true contender, and this year’s Cinderella.
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