NCAA BK

Butler looks to hold off MTSU, return to Sweet 16

Middle Tennessee State's JaCorey Williams (22) and Giddy Potts (20) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball tournament first round game against Minnesota Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Milwaukee. Middle Tennessee State won 81-72. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Middle Tennessee State's JaCorey Williams (22) and Giddy Potts (20) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball tournament first round game against Minnesota Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Milwaukee. Middle Tennessee State won 81-72. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE (AP) No. 4 seed Butler (24-18) vs. No. 12 seed Middle Tennessee (31-4)

Second round, South Region; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 7:10 p.m. EDT.

BOTTOM LINE: Butler is looking for its first trip to the Sweet 16 since wrapping up back-to-back runs to the national title game in 2011. But the Bulldogs are no longer a mid-major darling, a title that now belongs to Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders could take a huge step forward in their quest for national respect by beating Butler.

More from FoxSports

KEEP IT MOVING: Middle Tennessee threw Minnesota off in the first round with a 1-3-1 zone look with pressure. Butler coach Chris Holtmann said spacing and decision-making will be important when the Blue Raiders go to that defensive wrinkle. Butler guard Tyler Lewis, coming off an eight-assist game in the first round against Winthrop, led the Big East with a 3.91 assist-turnover ratio.

FORWARD LOOKING: Seniors JaCorey Williams (17.2 points) and Reggie Upshaw (14.6 points) give Middle Tennessee a pair of 6-foot-8 forwards who can handle multiple responsibilities on the floor. But Butler is a solid defensive team that has proven that it can beat more athletic squads after sweeping the season series this year against top-ranked Villanova.

DID YOU KNOW: Butler is 9-0 in NCAA Tournament play as the better-seeded team.

---

For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-Top25