By Tony Lamont
The Butler Bulldogs and the Wisconsin Badgers took to the court in New Orleans to see which team would be going to the “Elite Eight” of the Men’s NCAA Basketball Championship. The early scouting reports for both teams had them matched-up pretty evenly, with Wisconsin having an edge in size. The Bulldogs came out from the first tip playing a smothering defense, forcing the Badgers to take most of their shots from outside the arch, and causing several turnovers in the first half for Wisconsin.
The Badgers are a team that throughout the regular season averaged only 7.5 turnovers per game, but by the end of the first half the Badgers had 8 turnovers that resulted in 15 Bulldog points. Butler’s energy posed a big problem for Wisconsin. Even though the Badgers had a size advantage, they didn’t plan for the hustle play of the Bulldogs. The first half ended with Butler leading the Badger’s 33-24.
The second half started much like the first with the Bulldogs scoring the first nine points of the second half. Wisconsin came out ice cold going 0 for 10 from the field in the first 6 minutes of the second half. Wisconsin shot 30.4 percent from the field (17 of 56) Jordan Taylor was the leading scorer for the Badger’s with 22 points. Jon Leuer who normally drops in 18.7 points per game, went 1 for 12 from the field and scored only three points.
Butler’s Matt Howard lead the Bulldogs in scoring with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Shelvin Mack scored 13 points and Shawn Vanzant dropped in 10. Butler won the game over Wisconsin 61-54. The Bulldogs (26-9) will face second-seeded Florida (29-7) in the Southeast regional final Saturday afternoon for a trip to the Final Four.