The EA Sports Maui Invitational has been filled with great upsets with Chaminade (D-II) defeating Texas and now Butler defeating North Carolina last night. This is a great win not only for the Butler Bulldogs but for the Atlantic 10 conference.
This is a tournament resume win and also gives the Atlantic 10 the respect that its deserve. The Bulldogs dominated the Tar Heels in all phases of the game last night and it started in the first half when they took a 35-18 lead going into halftime. For the Butler Bulldogs, you can take away three positives from this game versus North Carolina.
The first positive you can take away is that your starting backcourt duo of freshman guard Kellen Dunham and senior guard Rotnei Clarke both played phenomenal. These two combined for 34 points and 10 rebounds. Also both of them shot well from the field and the three point line. Dunham was 5 of 10 from the field and 5 of 9 from the three point line. On the other hand, Clarke was 5 of 11 from the field and 4 of 6 from the three point line. If these two play this like in conference play don’t be surprised to see Butler at the top of the Atlantic 10.
The second positive you can take away is that Butler’s defense was tremendous as they only held North Carolina to 31.8 percent shooting from the three point line and held them to only 42.9 percent shooting from the field. That kind of defense helped the Bulldogs upset the Tar Heels.
The last positive you can take away from this game is coaching. Don’t get me wrong, I know that Roy Williams is a tremendous hall of fame college basketball coach but Butler’s head coach Brad Stevens just has something different about himself. His intangibles just make his players play hard for him, the team, and for Butler University. That is something that cannot be taught and we are seeing it right before our eyes.
The Bulldogs record is now 3-1 and will take on Illinois who record is 5-0 at 10:00 pm in the EA Sports Maui Invitational. This game can be seen on ESPN.
Jovan Alford is a staff writer for The Sixer Sense, a writer for Buzz On Broad covering the Philadelphia 76ers and Local College Basketball, and is a writer for Rant Sports covering the A-10 Conference for College Basketball.
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