Butler Bulldogs vs. Connecticut Huskies: Prediction and Simulation

Jake WestrichSenior Writer IApril 4, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrates after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

This time last year, I was sitting at a coffee shop outside of Indianapolis, chatting with an elderly woman who loved all things basketball. On that night, she was rooting for the Butler Bulldogs to beat Duke.

I didn't have the heart to tell her at the time that, according to our simulation engine, Brad Stevens would not win the NCAA championship at the age of 33. Gordon Hayward's half-court heave at the horn was within inches of making our college basketball simulation engine eat its own data bits.

To my surprise, not to mention the majority of those who filled out a bracket, the Bulldogs are back in the title game with a chance for Stevens, Shelvin Mack, Matt Howard and Butler to capture what escaped them a year ago.

Cinderella's invitation back to the grand ballroom would leave those supporters of the underdog to believe even more in the heart, desire and never-say-die attitude of Stevens' crew. Unfortunately, the college basketball simulation engine doesn't take into account the "hometown kids make good" intangible.

Using our college basketball simulation engine, we simulated the 2011 national championship game 2,001 times. It generated each team's chances of winning, average points per game and sample box score with play-by-play. If you aren't sold on the simulation results, YOU can re-simulate the 2011 national championship game as many times as you would like for FREE!.

2011 NCAA National Basketball Simulation—2,001 Times
Matchup Win% Avg Score WIS Interactive
Butler Bulldogs33.767Sample Box Score
Connecticut Huskies66.371Simulate Title Game


About a month ago, we thought Connecticut ripping off five wins in five days during the Big East tournament would be an awesome demonstration of conditioning and will. The ninth-best team in the Big East accomplished the mission behind the inspiring play of Kemba Walker.

The junior guard hasn't missed a step in the NCAA tournament, and a win Monday night over Butler in the national championship game would extend the Huskies' winning streak to 11.

According to the simulation engine, Connecticut will win a third national title for coach Jim Calhoun since 1999. The simulation projects the Huskies to win nearly two-thirds of the 2,001 games by an average score 71-67.

Butler w/ Hayward versus UConn—2,001 Times
Matchup Win% Avg Score  
2010-11 Butler w/Hayward34.267 
Connecticut Huskies65.871 


We also simulated tonight's national championship with a twist: We added Gordon Hayward to the 2010-11 Butler roster. But as you can see, the addition of the Bulldogs catalyst from a season ago didn't provide a game-changing jolt to their chances.