Duke vs. Butler When: Monday, 6:21 p.m., Ch. 7 Where: Indianapolis Records: Duke (34-5), Butler (33-4).
Duke vs. Butler
When: Monday, 6:21 p.m., Ch. 7
Records: Duke (34-5), Butler (33-4)
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Road to the Final Four: No. 1 Duke beat No. 16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 73-44; No. 8 California 68-53; No. 4 Purdue 70-57; No. 3 Baylor 78-71; No. 2 West Virginia 78-57. No. 5 Butler beat No. 12 UTEP 77-59; No. 13 Murray State 54-52; No. 1 Syracuse 63-59; No. 2 Kansas State 63-56; No. 5 Michigan State 52-50.
The stars: Duke’s three-man perimeter attack did just that in the win over West Virginia with Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith combining for all but 15 of the Blue Devils’ points. Butler’s Gordon Hayward had 19 points and nine rebounds in the win over Michigan State, and Shelvin Mack battled leg cramps to score 14.
The skinny: Butler is on one of the NCAA tournament’s best defensive streaks ever, not allowing any team to reach 60 points in a game. Duke’s low point total in the tournament is 68, and the Blue Devils are averaging 73.4 points in the tournament.
The pick: Butler is the feel-good story of the tournament, and the Bulldogs will have most of the 70,000-plus in Lucas Oil Stadium pulling for them. If Howard and Mack are limited, the Butler bench doesn’t have a player on it averaging over three points in the tournament. Duke has a big advantage inside and the odds of the three Ss having their first poor game as a unit is remote at best. Duke wins title No. 4, 73-56.
The Associated Press