The Butler Bulldogs are ready to make yet another deep run in the NCAA tourney this season, and they certainly have the talent to do so.
Despite all of the success from such a small program, it still has to sting to lose in the National Championship Game twice in back-to-back seasons. The program failed to make it back to the Big Dance in 2012, but the Bulldogs are back to make yet another championship run.
The resume for the Bulldogs has been impressive despite switching from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 Conference. They went 26-8 overall with a record of 11-5 in the A-10 and had big wins against Indiana, North Carolina and Gonzaga on the season.
This team may not have Gordon Hayward, but there is plenty of talent on the Bulldogs’ roster.
Rotnei Clarke has been spectacular. The transfer student from Arkansas has become the star player for the Bulldogs, and his play proves it. He’s averaged 16.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, and he’s also been a dangerous three-point shooter, making 41.2 percent of his shots and an average of 3.5 treys per contest.
Andrew Smith and Roosevelt Jones have been the other big names for the Bulldogs. Smith has been a great big man for the team, averaging 11.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 49.6 percent from the floor. Jones has been spectacular as well, scoring 10.1 points while grabbing 5.7 rebounds and dishing out 3.5 assists per game.
As a team, none of their statistics jump out at you. Strangely enough, the same thing can be said about the previous teams that made championship runs. They weren’t spectacular on offense or defense in either season, but they knew how to win.
When you watch them on the court, you see that the Bulldogs play to their opponents’ level. While that sounds like a bad thing, it really isn’t when they play good teams. They showed that they can go toe-to-toe with two different teams that have been ranked No. 1 this year in Gonzaga and Indiana. Brad Stevens does a good job of creating a strategy based on who the team is playing, and he sticks with it.
No one knows how they do it, but Butler seems to find ways to make deep runs consistently. With Stevens coaching and all of the talent on this year’s team, there’s even more reason to believe that they can make another big push to the Final Four.
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