Duke Blue Devils Seeking Fourth National Title, Butler Bulldogs Chomping For First

April 5th, 2010 – by Cory

In a matchup as old as the calendar itself, the NCAA Tournament’s own version of David vs. Goliath tips off tonight at 9:21 pm EST to decide the Men’s NCAA National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Butler Bulldogs, 33-4, are currently riding a 25 game winning streak dating back to their last loss on December 22nd, 2010, to UAB 67-57.

Butler, the league champs of the Horizon Conference, are enjoying a season full of firsts and records.

The Bulldogs 33 wins this season are not only the most in school history, but also in the Horizon Conference history as well.

The Bulldogs are looking to extend that record to 34 wins by pulling off just one more upset, this time against the Blue Devils.

This is not the first time that Butler coach Brad Stevens has pulled that feat off. In his first season as head coach, he lead the Bulldogs to a 30-4 record before losing to the 2nd seeded Tennessee Volunteers in the second round of the 2008 NCAA tournament. At that time, Butler’s 30 wins were both a school and Horizon Conference record.

The most impressive part of Butler’s record setting run in 2010 is the path they took to get here.

Butler opened the round of 64 in the only game that featured two nationally ranked teams when they downed UTEP 77-59. In the second round, Butler defeated 13th seeded Murray State, 54-52, allowing them to advance into the Sweet 16, Coach Stevens’ first trip. The following weekend, the Bulldogs knocked out top seeded Syracuse 63-59, clearing the way to the Elite 8.

For the right to go to the Final Four, Butler would be matched up against 2nd seeded Kansas State. The Wildcats were coming off of a double overtime win just two days prior against Xavier. The effects of that game were clear as Kansas State managed just 20 first half points en route to a 63-56 loss at the hands of the Bulldogs.

Once again, the Butler Bulldogs and the Horizon Conference made history by gaining their first trip to the Final Four. In the national semifinals the Bulldogs beat the Michigan State Spartans, 52-50. Butler advanced another step, and is now just one win away from claiming their first ever NCAA Tournament era National Championship.

In their way will be ACC powerhouse Duke.

The Duke Blue Devils come into the Bulldogs backyard looking to bring home the school’s fourth basketball championship and the first since 2001.

Three Duke players, G Jon Scheyer, F Kyle Singler and G Nolan Smith are all averaging more than 17 points per game this season and will surely be a tough matchup for Butler.

Duke’s “Big Three” is a very potent combo, one that the Bulldogs must contain should they have a chance of winning tonight. A slow grinding basketball game is just what Butler would prefer. Butler wants to muck up the game, and if they can… anything is possible.

Currently, Duke is a big favorite, the reason for the billing “Goliath” in this matchup. Depending on which USA Online Sportsbook has the lines, the Blue Devils are anywhere from a 6.5 point to 7 point favorite in this contest.

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