It’s finally here, the Super Bowl of college basketball. The end of all the madness that March left will be resolved on Monday night between the Butler Bulldogs and Connecticut Huskies. I think Butler has the advantage with the experience and better guard play (sorry Kemba Walker). If Butler can force this young UConn team to make mistakes, they should win. It should literally be an old fashioned dog fight – and not the kind that Michael Vick is invited to.
Here are 10 questions that will need answered for Monday’s National Championship Game:
by Ryan West
- Can Butler Stop Kemba? Butler has numerous physical guards that can match up with Kemba. If they continue to rotate and play good team defense (which they do very well), then they can win this game. But, if they allow Kemba to score at will and then also involve his teammates, Butler will have memories of last year’s game.
- Does UConn have an answer for Matt Howard? Mr. Hair and Elbows Matt Howard will have to be a key contributor for the Bulldogs to have a chance. We all know he will try with all of the effort in the world but can he stay on the court and cause problems for the Huskies?
- Will this be Shelvin Mack’s farewell game? Mack has been amazing in this tournament and just led his team past VCU. Rumors are swirling that he may be leaving for the NBA this year because his stock is as high as it will ever get. If Butler wins and he gets tournament MVP, I’m thinking he leaves.
- Will the bright lights be too much for the young Huskies? When you play in the Big East, you get plenty of national spotlight. The Huskies, who are now 13-0 in tournament play don’t seem to have a problem with added media attention. Look for the older Butler team to put them in pressure situations and force them to make mistakes – something they haven’t done yet this tournament.
- Is this Brad Stevens’ last game as Butler’s Head Coach? Back to back National Title game runs is quite a feat and if Butler wins, Stevens will get offered probably any job that is available. Problem is, there isn’t really a job all that spectacular open right now, unless John Calipari leaves for the NBA and Kentucky opens up.
- Can UConn limit Butler’s 2nd Chances? Butler does a great job at rebounding and has only been outrebounded once in this tournament (Pitt). The Huskies don’t rebound very well and if you give a senior led team like Butler too many chances, they will make you pay. UConn has to limit them.
- What Kind of Production will Khyle Marshall give Butler? Marshall has great energy and that’s something they may need if Howard gets in foul trouble (which he does a lot). Marshall had 6 points and 9 rebounds in the game against VCU. If they can get output like that again, Butler will be in the game until the end.
- How will UConn Handle Butler’s Defense? Butler will play a defense in which they switch most screens and limit Kemba from splitting the double teams. They are able to do this because they are all similar athletically and put out a full effort. Don’t expect anything less from them here.
- Will the Experience from Last Year Help Butler that Much? Experience usually means everything come tournament time and it helps that all of these guys have been here before for Butler. Will that experience be enough for them to come out on top?
- Will UConn show the world they are more than just Kemba Walker? If they want to win this game, yes, they will have to do that. We know Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriakhi are solid, but it’s Kemba that makes this team go. If these youngsters want to show they are ready to take the load next year, there’s no bigger time than now.