Sunday, April 3, 2011

Butler-Connecticut: Who has the edge?

Here are some notes and statistics for the Butler-Connecticut NCAA men's basketball championship game that will be played Monday night at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

TOURNAMENT TRAIL: Butler, a No. 8 seed, beat Old Dominion (9), Pittsburgh (1), Wisconsin (4), Florida (2) and Virginia Commonwealth (11); UConn, a No. 3 seed, beat Bucknell (14), Cincinnati (6), San Diego State (2), Arizona (5) and Kentucky (4).

BLOCK STOCK: Butler blocks an average of 1.6 shots per game, UConn 5.5.

RECORDS: Butler is 28-9 and has won 14 games in a row. Connecticut is 31-9 and has not lost a game outside the Big East Conference this season.

BEEN A WHILE: Either Butler or Connecticut will become the first tournament champion with nine losses since Arizona won the national championship in 1997. The Wildcats were 25-9 that season.

DOGS 'N' CATS: Butler will try to become the first school since Kentucky in 1998 to win the championship the year after losing in the final. The Wildcats defeated Utah in the 1998 title game, after losing to Arizona in the 1997 final.

MARGINS OF VICTORY: Butler has won its games by an average of 7.7 points this season. The Huskies' margin is 7.4.

DEFENSE, DEFENSE: Butler's opponents shoot an average of .426 from the floor, UConn's .398.

VERSUS PITT: Connecticut lost to Pittsburgh in the regular season and defeated the Panthers in the Big East Tournament. Butler beat Pitt in the NCAA tournament.

CINDERELLA STATUS: Butler, a No. 8 seed, is the lowest-seeded team to play in an NCAA championship game since eighth-seeded Villanova defeated No. 1 seed Georgetown in the 1985 final. The NCAA began the seeding process in 1979.

DOUBLE-L: If Butler loses to UConn, the Bulldogs would be the first team to lose consecutive championship games since Michigan in 1992 and 1993. The Wolverines' Fab Five teams lost in 1992 to Duke and 1993 to North Carolina.

A JIM DANDY: A Connecticut victory would give Huskies coach Jim Calhoun his third NCAA championship. That would move Calhoun into a tie with Bob Knight for fourth place on the all-time list. The leaders: John Wooden 10, Mike Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp 4 each.


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