Butler vs Bucknell
My fear for Butler is that they’ll lose to a team that plays very much the same kind of Basketball as they do, Bucknell. In all of my brackets I have Bucknell upsetting Butler, this will be probably the best game to watch today. Though as long as Brad Stevens is at the helm, the Bulldogs are a dangerous NCAA Tournament team. Butler has defeated two No. 1 seeds in Indiana and Gonzaga this season, and they beat both Marquette and North Carolina in the Maui Invitational. The Bulldogs are led by sharpshooter Rotnei Clarke, who averages 16.7 points per game.
Roosevelt Jones could be an X-factor for Butler. At just 6-4, he plays like a
power forward and can bruise you inside. Jones has a creaky jumper, but perfect
touch on his floater, as Gonzaga found out. Khyle Marshall is another key for
the ‘Dawgs inside. He can be prone to foul trouble, but really knows how to
score inside and does everything the team needs him to do.
Key Stats for Butler
8th Defensive Rebounds Per Game (29.0)
72nd Field Goal Percentage (45.3)
The Bison have an NBA prospect at center, and that alone makes them a very dangerous team in the NCAA Tournament and adds a special factor for Bucknell that Butler does not have. Senior Mike Muscala averages 19 points and 11 rebounds per
game, and has the requisite athleticism and defensive prowess that could make
him an NBA draft pick come June. Junior guard Cameron Ayers (12.5 ppg) and 6-7 senior Joe Willman (10.3 ppg) give the Bison plenty of scoring depth, as does guard Byron Johnson (11.1 ppg). Patriot League champ Lehigh shocked Duke as the 15-seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, so there’s no reason to think Bucknell can’t do the same.
The Bulldogs are not a great offensive rebounding team, so Bucknell should be
able to hold them to one-and-done on most trips. That could be a huge advantage. In other words, Butler is playing a better version of themselves.
Key Stats for Bucknell
177th Points Per Game (67.3)
127th Assists Per Game (13.4)
67th Field Goal Percentage (.456)