National Championship Experts Picks: UConn vs. Butler
April 04, 2011
Experts' Picks: National Title Game
SI.com's six experts predict who will reign supreme in Monday night's national championship showdown.
UConn (3) vs. Butler (8)
Seth Davis Butler is playing for the national championship because this team excels at making other teams uncomfortable. UConn, however, is comfortable slugging it out in the half court. The Huskies have the best player on the court in Kemba Walker, but the supporting cast has also made great strides over the last two months. Butler has had a terrific run, but in the end I just can't pick against Kemba. UConn 64, Butler 59
Luke Winn Butler has already knocked off three top-25 offensive rebounding teams in this tournament (Old Dominion, Pittsburgh and Florida), so the fact that the Huskies rank seventh nationally in offensive board percentage shouldn't be a huge issue. They don't work the ball inside enough to get Matt Howard in foul trouble, either, and the Bulldogs' power forward will put up a 20-and-10 stat line in his final college game. The unsung heroes will be Shawn Vanzant, for keeping Kemba Walker under 25 points, and Khyle Marshall, for keeping five Butler possessions alive with his spirited work on the offensive glass. Butler 67, UConn 64
Andy Staples Nothing else has gone as planned this tournament, so why should the title game be any different? Kemba Walker will score his points, but the experienced Bulldogs will find a way to win. The nation may think of Butler as a Cinderella, but the Bulldogs aren't afraid of the clock striking midnight. Butler 65, UConn 62
Andy Glockner If you took the names off the jerseys and just went on an honest evaluation of the teams, how they are playing and how they match up, you'd take Butler. So that's what I'm going to do. We're going to have our first mid-major national champion of the modern college hoops era. Butler 65, UConn 60
Tim Layden First of all, anyone who thinks Butler remains a Cinderella is delusional. It is a transcendent defensive team; at one point Saturday night Ronald Nored was calling out a VCU play before VCU ran it. The Bulldogs execute flawlessly in pressure situations and this game will absolutely be close. In Shelvin Mack, they have the second-best player left in the tournament (and he's not far behind Kemba). Connecticut was on fumes for the last 10 minutes Saturday night against Kentucky. All that and a hunch: It's Butler's time. You can feel it in the air. And yes, my predicted score is the same as the score by which Duke beat Butler a year ago. Butler 61, UConn 59
Stewart Mandel It's pretty simple. It's the championship. I'll take the team that has Kemba on the court. UConn 74, Butler 70
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