Butler looks to hold off MTSU, return to Sweet 16

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.

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.


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