Butler avoids upset bid, heads back to Sweet 16


Another history making year of Middle Tennessee basketball is in the books with Butler’s 74-65 win over the Blue Raiders in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs will play the victor of Sunday’s North Carolina-Arkansas game in Memphis next weekend. The Bulldogs are the only team to beat defending national champion Villanova twice this season and have victories over other elite teams like Arizona.

That’s when Chrabascz responded with perhaps the most important shot of the game. The over/under total for the game is listed at 139.5 points. Butler had less trouble on the offensive end, sinking six of its first seven three-pointers. But it was Minnesota’s coach who effectively put the game out of reach. But I’m so proud of our team and our guys.

“I had a coach-friend send me a clip saying we weren’t good enough to beat Middle Tennessee”.

Against Minnesota, Middle Tennessee threw everything it had at the Golden Gophers to keep them off balance. We feel like we can compete with anybody, you know. “I thought our guys played with great resilience like they have all year”. Notre Dame had not committed double-digit turnovers in its previous nine games since a 13-turnover outing in an 84-72 win over Florida State on February 11.

UCLA coach Steve Alford says he’s focused on the NCAA Tournament, not the job opening at his alma mater Indiana.

ESPN’s “bracketologist” Joe Lunardi is picking Middle Tennessee.

McBrayer recovered from his first-half slump.

His early fouls Thursday led to a lengthy seat on the bench and a Middle Tennessee run. He and Kethan Savage each pulled down six rebounds. Giddy Potts, an all-league guard averaging 15.8 ppg, had zero on 0-of-8 shooting.

Joining Washington in the freshman class is slick-shooting guard Jamir Harris, whom Pitino called “one of the top three-point shooters in the country”. He, Martin and Tyler Lewis each had four assists as the Bulldogs helped on 16 of their 24 made field goals. Just look for his shot from beyond the arc followed by his signature three fingers held up on each hand as the shot fell and he strolled back on defense. He just looked off during parts of the game; Pitino told reporters afterward that Mason injured his hip sometime during the second half.

The Blue Raiders were led by senior Reggie Upshaw, who scored a game-high 19 points and snagged nine rebounds.

With nothing from Potts, who was benched for a portion of the second half, sophomore Antwain Johnson offered an unlikely source of scoring from an otherwise barren backcourt.

The Bulldogs advance to their sixth Sweet 16 (1962, 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2011) with the win.

No, this isn’t like Butler teams of old – a lower seed from a mid-major conference surprising everyone with deep NCAA Tournament runs – but the accomplishment doesn’t lose significance.

How to watch No. 4 Butler vs.

They’ve built off that success, and came into Thursday with a 30-4 record, including a 15-point win at Ole Miss, a 23-point home win over Vanderbilt, and a five-point home win over UNC Wilmington, a no. 12 seed in this year’s bracket that acquitted itself very well in a narrow loss to Virginia.


The Seminoles notched an 86-80 win over No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast as 12-point favorites but are winless ATS in four straight tournament contests, all as betting chalk.

Reggie Upshaw