Butler Upsets No. 8 Villanova 73-61 Ahead of Big East Tournament

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2021

Butler guard Chuck Harris (3) shoots over Villanova guard Collin Gillespie (2) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The 2020-21 season has been a nightmare for Butler, but the Bulldogs appear determined to finish strong.

Chuck Harris scored 20 points and Jair Bolden added 15 as Butler pulled off a 73-61 upset of No. 8 Villanova on Sunday.

The Bulldogs (9-13) have won two straight games for just the third time this season. Building off its strong defensive performance against Seton Hall, Butler held Villanova to 38.1 percent shooting and set the tone by limiting the Wildcats to 24 first-half points.

Bryce Golden and Bryce Nze were also in double figures for Butler. 

Villanova's loss could knock Jay Wright's team off the No. 2 seed for the time being. ESPN's Joe Lunardi has had the Wildcats slotted for a No. 2 seed for weeks, but they may wind up dropping after losing two of their last four games.

The margin is thinner than ever in a shortened season, and Villanova laid an egg against a Butler team that will finish under .500 for the first time since 2012-13 barring a deep run in the Big East tournament.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Justin Moore and Collin Gillespie were in double figures for Villanova, which boasts a 10-3 conference record with two regular-season games remaining.

Wednesday's matchup against Creighton will essentially decide the regular-season Big East champion and give the Wildcats a chance to right themselves after a 16-point loss to the Bluejays earlier this month.

For now, Wright and Co. will have to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to get back into the Top 10 after they likely fall out in Monday's rankings update.

Butler closes its regular season Saturday against Creighton.