Ah, the pride of the Horizon League. Butler is the first mid-major on this list. They would also be the first mid-major to win a national title, were it to happen this year. Here’s why it might:
Prior to entering the friendly confines of Horizon League play, Butler scheduled every major team that would take them on. Do Minnesota, UCLA, Clemson, Georgetown, Ohio State, and Xavier sound okay to you? Most Big East teams don’t schedule that tough.
Of course, Butler has to, as they are well above the level of the rest of their conference. By the way, Butler also beat Ohio State and Xavier. They came within a point of Clemson. In no loss were they badly beaten.
Butler has not lost a game since December 22, 2009. That’s right. They swept their entire conference and its tournament. There’s nothing like being on a roll headed into tournament time.
While not terribly big, Butler gets offensive production from four of its five starters. Guard/forward Gordon Hayward might be the best player in America that you’ve never heard of. This guy scored 24 point against both Georgetown and Ohio State. Then he dropped 22 on Xavier. Similar performances in his next few games and that anonymity could change quickly.
If George Mason can make it to the Final Four, Butler can win a title.