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Butler senior center Andrew Smith.
Record: 22-7 (9-5 in A-10)
Key Wins: Marquette, North Carolina, Indiana, Gonzaga, Temple
The Butler Bulldogs have to be included on the mid-major dangerous list, even though they have not been themselves lately.
Sure, one could go with UNLV, Colorado State or Akron, but when Butler begins NCAA Tournament play, it becomes a new animal.
Butler has gone 6-4 in its last 10 games and is currently on a two-game losing streak. The Bulldogs were defeated at home against conference leader Saint Louis on February 22 and were dismantled this past Saturday at Virginia Commonwealth, 84-52.
The Bulldogs will look to bounce back this week against UMass and Xavier. They will need to win these games to gain momentum as they head into a difficult Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament next week.
Even though Butler has struggled as of late, it is already a lock to make the NCAA Tournament. Its goal is to win a few more games before heading into the tournament. The last thing you want to do as a team is limp into the dance.
Brad Stevens is a good coach, and he should be able to get his team going before the madness begins. It would be surprising if Stevens didn't have his team ready based on his track record.
The Bulldogs head into the final stretch of the season with senior guard Rotnei Clarke, senior center Andrew Smith and sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones leading the way.
Clarke leads his team in scoring and is averaging 16.5 points per game. Smith has been averaging 11.0 points per game, and Jones has been strong on the boards and averaging 10.8 points per game.
Don't count the Bulldogs out. They can beat the best teams in the country and will be a tough team to take down in the NCAA Tournament as usual.