Tonight’s NCAA championship basketball game pits polar opposite teams against one another.
Duke is appearing in its 10th NCAA title game, and is seeking its fourth title. The Blue Devils won in 2001 when they defeated Arizona; and won back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992, beating Kansas and Michigan, respectively.
On the other side of the court is this year’s Cinderella-story Butler. The Butler Bulldogs made it all the way to the NCAA championship game as a five-seed. Butler beat fellow five-seed Michigan State in front of a home Indianapolis crowd and will be looking to win its first NCAA title.
The team’s have very different coaches as well. Duke boasts veteran coach Mike Krzyzewski, who coached Duke to all three of its national titles, has coached in 25 NCAA tournament bids and has made 10 final four appearances.
Butler is coached by Brad Stevens. Since becoming head coach in 2007, Stevens and the Bulldogs have been a mainstay atop the Horizon League Standings.
This year the young coach guided Butler to a 33-4 record and is one win away from putting his team in the record book.
While there are many differences between the two teams, the important similarity is they have won five tournament games in a row. Whoever wins the sixth gets all the glory.
Though Butler is less experienced as a school in championship basketball games they should not be ruled out. If they continue to hustle and play solid defense the can stay in the game. If Duke misses shots early, Butler can take advantage.
On the flip side, if Duke gets hot early, it could send the Bulldogs reeling. A productive start is the key for the Blue Devils to nail down its fourth NCAA championship.
One thing is for sure, neither team will go quietly - and that will make an entertaining basketball game.
Josh’s pick: Duke 68 – Butler 65. Butler will put up a good fight, but will run into similar problems Baylor had with Duke. Duke’s talent, and Coach K’s experience will prevail in the end.
Be sure to check back at the blog as both Anthony and Josh will be posting throughout tonight’s game. It is scheduled to tip-off at 8:21 p.m.