"I was getting pushed around like I wasn't anything". "They showed me how it's supposed to be done".
"Every game we come out we try to have a chip on our shoulder", senior Tyler Wideman said before practice. "And I thought our guys performed really well and won 23 games". "So I know our guys are super, super excited about having a chance to play in this event and having a chance to play against an outstanding Butler team". "That's all you can ask".
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" We've got to worry about Arkansas", Jordan said. "He's big, long athletic". So defensively we are just going to have to dig down deep and we're going to have to really rebound the basketball. We got a couple of times fronting him a little bit too high and they threw it over the top and he was able to use his length. "We just stayed connected on the defensive end". The Razorbacks cut the lead to four early on in the second half, but the Bulldogs wouldn't let them get any closer. The winners of both games will advance to the second round on Sunday to face each other.
"I wasn't focused", Gafford said. Well, that's where we come in. A 10-0 Razorback spurt followed by another 16-0 run completely erased Butler's advantage and gave Arkansas a brief lead with just under four minutes left before halftime.
The Bulldogs' only opening loss in that span was against LSU 75-71 in 2009.
Arkansas is the favored seventh-seed with the veteran coach and Butler the 10th-seed with a young first-year coach, LaVall Jordan.
"Obviously, we had to earn that. They didn't call nothing, and they got a basket". "That's been the case the past two decades". Forward Kalen Martin is Butler's leading scorer at 20.8 points per game and he needs just nine more to reach 2,000 for his career. They open up the floor.
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Anderson likes calling his bench, also aided by sophomore shooting guard C.J. Jones, the team's strength, but Jordan brings some of his best 3-point shooters off of the bench in Jorgensen and Henry Baddley.
"He averaged 2 and a half blocks a game", Kelan Martin said of the freshman. "It took all of us out there to shrink the court, and that's what we did". And I thought that would spur us on.
As a reward for their victory over the Razorbacks, Butler gets another showdown with the Purdue Boilermakers in the Round of 32.
The Bulldogs had five dunks to two for the Razorbacks.
The Bulldogs also realize, they can't overlook the towering 6'11 presence of Razorbacks freshman big man, Daniel Gafford. Guarding the arc has been an issue for Butler's defense throughout the season.
"With our team, it's a game of runs, " Anderson said. The Razorbacks played 11 NCAA Tournament teams this season and went 8-8 in those contests.
The Razorbacks are 6-1 this season in games decided by five or fewer points. The Bulldogs are coming off an 87-68 loss to No. 1 seed Villanova in the Big East Conference Tournament. Butler has a 23-15 record in the Big Dance.
This is the fourth-straight year Butler has made it to the NCAA Tournament. The Pirates were charter members of the Big East when it was formed in 1979.