|Written by Michael|
Bet on NCAABA No. 8 seed has made it to the NCAA championship game only two times before in history. Can Butler continue their remarkable run this year and complete their unfinished business from last year's championship game loss to Duke?
The Bulldogs will have their hands full against the UConn Huskies in tonight's championship game, a game in which the sportsbook lists Connecticut as the 3.5 point favorites. Butler has won 14 games in a row and had one of their greatest margins of victory against the VCU Rams for the regional title.
The Huskies, on the other hand, are starting to look a little fatigued after winning five games in five days for the Big East Tournament title, then going straight to the NCAA tournament. Their game against Kentucky was a little too close for comfort, with the Huskies coming out on top 56-55.
That fatigue factor may make all the difference tonight. UConn's Kemba Walker has played 384 out of 405 total minutes during the tournament, and the star has played all 40 minutes of each of the last three games. If he is fatigued, the other players will have to step up and cover the difference.
Butler will have to keep Walker from running the ball, as his transition game is second to none in the NCAA. Walker on the fast break is almost a guaranteed two points for the Huskies, especially after rebounds. So Butler will also need to hit the boards hard on both ends of the floor in order to take away Uconn's running game.
But the key to a Huskies victory will be their running game, which will have to be firing on all cylinders to outrun the Bulldogs. Butler has an outstanding half-court defense, so easy transition layups will be important for making up any difference.
Finally, Connecticut should take a lesson from the Butler-Florida game where the Bulldogs had such trouble defending the post early in the game. If Florida had kept going inside, they may have won that game. If the Huskies play inside, they may be able to break down Butler's defense.