NCAA Tournament 2011: Florida Gators vs. Butler Bulldogs Preview

Trevor LowryContributor IMarch 26, 2011

WASHINGTON - MARCH 19:  After making the game winning free throw, Matt Howard #54 of Butler is embraced by teammates Zach Hahn #3 and Khyle Marshall #23 in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Verizon Center on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. Butler won the game 71-70.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Florida Gators and Butler Bulldogs will face off in the Elite Eight today at 4:30 p.m. on CBS. Although the Gators are a two seed and the Bulldogs an eight seed, this will be a very good basketball game.

The Bulldogs are having a championship run once again and are in position to make it to the Final Four for the second straight year. However, the Gators are playing very good basketball and are a very hungry team.

The Gators have not made it to the Elite Eight since the 2007 season, when they won the championship game for the second straight year. Although this Florida team is not as good as it was in 2007, the Gators are still very good, and most importantly, play like a team.

Chandler Parsons is the SEC Player of the Year, and he is certainly playing that way in the NCAA tournament. However, Erving Walker is leading the charge for the Gators. In Florida's three tournament games, Walker is averaging 18.3 PPG.

The Gators are a very well-rounded team and have great inside presences in Vernon Macklin and Alex Tyus. Not to mention, the Gators are very capable of knocking down threes with Walker, Parsons and Kenny Boynton as their main outside threats. Any of these five players has the ability to have a big night on offense. 

On the flip side, the Butler Bulldogs are known as a two-man team, as Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack lead the charge for the Bulldogs. Both are playing really good basketball, and Butler is going to need both of them to be very productive to win. 

Matt Howard has been the MVP for the Bulldogs so far in the NCAA tournament, as he made the game-winning shot against Old Dominion and the game-winning free throw against Pittsburgh. 

Both of these teams are very good, but the Florida Gators have the edge in this game. The Bulldogs rely on Howard and Mack way too much. This may have worked last year, but the Bulldogs also had a third scorer in Gordon Hayward.

The Butler Bulldogs' Cinderella run is going to come to an end, and the Florida Gators are going to find themselves playing in the Final Four for the first time since 2007.