College hoops doesn't get any better than the performances of Butler and Indiana on Saturday afternoon. What an incredible basketball game. You had two schools playing in a rivalry with a lot of pride, heart and passion. Both coaches had their squads prepared to play.
When it was all said and done, Brad Stevens' Bulldogs found a way to win 88-86 in overtime, with a basket from a guy you would not have expected to take their final shot: Alex Barlow. He was the big man on campus on Saturday night, a former walk-on and talented baseball player. Move over Andrew Luck, there's a new star in Indianapolis, baby!
Butler did a phenomenal job on Cody Zeller, though he did rack up points at the free throw line. They kept the ball away from the interior and also neutralized Jordan Hulls, containing him from shooting the trifecta. Christian Watford was also held in check on the perimeter.
Stevens' club was able to hit the key 3-pointer in overtime and did a super job on the offensive boards. Rotnei Clarke finished with 19 points to lead the way. Butler won despite losing Roosevelt Jones (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Andrew Smith, as both fouled out. They were not available in crunch time.
This Butler team has showed it can flat-out play, beating North Carolina in Maui. The Bulldogs’ two losses this season came against Illinois and Xavier.
It was an outstanding win for the Bulldogs. They have scored a number of big victories over the years under Stevens. Butler played for the national championship twice, an amazing feat for a school labeled as a mid-major.
Indiana will still be labeled as a contender for the national title. The Hoosiers and Tom Crean will learn from this and use it as a chance to grow.
It will be tough to top the excitement of this game. It just shows you that college basketball is so special and provides so much energy, enthusiasm and electricity.
It was a special moment for the kids from Butler.