Although they lost to the Saint Louis Billikens in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Ten conference tournament, the Butler Bulldogs still ended up with a six seed in the East region of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Brad Stevens has proven that he is an incredibly talented coach and he has shined in the NCAA Tournament. This will be Stevens’ sixth appearance in the tournament since he took over the Butler program before the 2007 season.
Butler emerged onto the national college basketball scene after its loss to the Duke Blue Devils in the National Championship game in 2010. In 2011, it again went to the title game, losing to the Connecticut Huskies, to prove that 2010 was not a fluke.
The Bulldogs are led by senior guard Rotnei Clarke, who led the team in scoring at 16.7 points per game in his first season since he transferred over from the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Clarke is an excellent shooter, averaging close to four three-pointers made per game. He has the ability to be the next player from a small school to emerge a superstar in the NCAA Tournament, like Stephen Curry or Jimmer Fredette.
However, Clarke was injured for a short period of time, including the Butler’s victory over the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones took over in that game, scoring a team-high 20 points in the team’s biggest game of the season. Jones is also the leading rebounder on the team.
The Bulldogs do have two legitimate scoring threats in Clarke and Jones, but lack of experience could be Butler’s only problem, as they only have three seniors on the roster.
They will play the 11th seeded Bucknell Bison in the second round, in what is going to be a very tough matchup. The Bison won 28 games in the regular season, including a win over the La Salle Explorers, a talented Atlantic Ten team that defeated Butler in the regular season, but this should be an easy victory for the Bulldogs.
Butler has all of the talent needed to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, but they will have to pull off some upset along the way, as they are in the same region as the Marquette Golden Eagles, Miami Hurricanes and the top-seeded Indiana Hoosiers. If any mid-major team can make a run in this tournament, I would bet on Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs.