Only one team - the Duke Blue Devils -has won more NCAA Tournament games than the Butler Bulldogs that past two seasons. That's simply because it was Duke that beat Butler in the NCAA Championship Game last year. That one blemish is all that has kept Butler from making a truly historic run in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, though for some what they have been able to accomplish is already amazing enough.
9:57PM et: (8)Butler Bulldogs(25-9) Vs. (4)Wisconsin Badgers(25-8) - TBS
Perhaps it is fitting, then, that Butler's opponent tonight is a tough, hardworking, midwestern team that in a lot of ways mirrors what the Bulldogs are all about - the Wisconsin Badgers. Like Butler, Wisconsin has made success in the NCAA Tournament a habit making their 5th run to the Sweet 16 in the past 11 years.
"They don't beat themselves so we're going to have to beat them," Wisconsin freshman Josh Gasser said. "That's a lot like how we play."
That means tonight's contest will come down to which team known for execution will execute the best. Both teams can look great at times, or simply awful - as Wisconsin proved in a 36-33 loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament. Still, Butler coach Brad Stevens knows the Badgers do it the right way.
"I could sit up here and flatter them all day," Stevens said. "I'll telling you what -- why wouldn't you want to play a way where everybody is completely unselfish? There's a reason they don't lose often."
The same could be said for the Bulldogs, and with rumors swirling around what the future could hold for Stevens - no easily the hottest coaching prospect in the country - his battle could be as much about outside distractions as it is the Badgers vaunted defense.
MY PICK: My head says Wisconsin, but how can my heart pick against Butler? The answer - it can't.
BUTLER 53 - WISCONSIN 52