The Butler Bulldogs have had some recent struggles with a loss to the St. Louis Billikens this week but Butler wasn’t going to allow it to happen two straight games in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bulldogs defeated the Rhode Island Rams 75-68 on Saturday to improve to 18-4 for the season and 5-2 in the conference as Rhode Island fell to 6-14 overall and 1-6 in the A-10. It has become obvious that the team’s success is based a lot on Rotnei Clarke and while Clarke was in the lineup during the team’s loss this week, this team will live and die with Clarke.
Clarke finished with 23 points in the win as Butler is now 2-2 in their last four games. Butler was ranked No. 9 in the country coming into this week and while their ranking will fall after the loss, Butler is still a very good team. Clarke has shown his leadership in his senior year after not playing at all last season and is averaging over 17 points per game. Clarke will need to continue scoring at that clip for the Bulldogs to get through the A-10 Tournament successfully.
I really believe this is a Butler team that could make yet another appearance in the Final Four. Brad Stevens has done some things with a smaller school that amaze me every day. I will always wonder what would happen if Stevens decided to look for a bigger job. It probably will never happen especially when he can get players like Clarke to come to Butler. It looks like the combination of Clarke and Stevens are close to unbeatable when they are rolling on all cylinders like they did earlier this season and it could happen again in the NCAA Tournament.