NCAA Bracket 2011: Previewing Butler Bulldogs vs. Wisconsin Badgers

Zachary CohenContributor IIIMarch 24, 2011

TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 19:  Jordan Taylor #11 celebrates with Jon Leuer #30 of the Wisconsin Badgers after Leuer dunked against the Kansas State Wildcats in the first half during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 19, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

With Pittsburgh going down in the third round of the NCAA tournament, we are now going to see an unlikely Sweet 16 matchup in Butler vs. Wisconsin. 

The Bulldogs are no stranger to the role of the underdog after last year's improbable run to the national championship game, and they will be getting points again on Thursday when they take on the Badgers. 

These teams run differently, but they get most of their production from the same positions. Both teams have good guards (Shelvin Mack for Butler and Jordan Taylor for Wisconsin) and two good big men (Matt Howard and Andrew Smith for Butler and Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil for Wisconsin). 

The difference between these two teams is in style of play.

The Badgers play the most boring basketball in the nation, but in an ugly way, it might be the most beautiful to watch. Wisconsin holds its opponents to some of the fewest points in college basketball and they rarely turn the ball over.

Butler is a team that can play well in the half court, but if necessary, they can play the run-and-gun game and get up and down the floor in a hurry. 

This game is likely to come down to the three-point ball. Wisconsin lives and dies by the three-pointer, and if they're not falling, they could get a similar result to what happened against Penn State in the Big Ten tournament.

That game ended in a Penn State win in which both teams scored in the 30s.

Butler, on the other hand, will need Shelvin Mack to be on his game and hitting from outside. In Round 2, Mack wasn't shooting well and Butler barely got by an inferior team. Against Pittsburgh, it was a whole other story. Mack couldn't miss and Butler was able to upset one of the best teams in college basketball. 

The post play of these two teams will also be huge on Thursday.

Butler features two more-traditional post players in Howard and Smith. These guys play inside with their backs to the basket and grind away for scrappy baskets.

Wisconsin's frontcourt consists of two players who play facing the basket. Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil are both big guys who can knock down jump shots, and while Leuer can get to the basket, expect most of their points to be from 15 feet and out. 

This game looks like it's going to be another instant classic, as we've seen many in this tournament, and while as a Wisconsin Badgers fan I'm afraid to play Butler when they're they underdog, I can't see Wisconsin losing this one.

Jordan Taylor is one of the best point guards in the nation, and after his horrible shooting performance against Kansas State, I'm expecting a huge performance from a big-time player.