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Butler hanging with Duke

INDIANAPOLIS -- Quick thoughts from the first half of Duke-Butler.

  • Butler held a 20-18 lead with 7:54 left in the first half.

  • The crowd is pro-Butler, much more so than Saturday night. So far I’d give this an A for atmosphere. It has lived up to the hype of having a homecourt advantage.

  • Both teams are playing defense at a high level. You can’t fault the defense when Kyle Singler and Zach Hahn make deep 3-pointers.

  • Love how aggressive Matt Howard was in trying to score, draw fouls and get rebounds. But he really struggled to finish at the hoop and at the free-throw line.

  • Shelvin Mack is one of the elite guards in the country. We should have all seen that when he played for a gold medal last summer for the Under-19 USA team. Mack took over the game for a few possessions to rescue Butler from getting too far behind.

  • Lance Thomas got into early foul trouble with two. That’s OK since Duke’s depth inside is its best.

  • We can only hope it stays close for the final 32 minutes.