San Jose Pod Daily Diary: 03.18.10 Edition--Rush The Court
Game 2: #5 Butler vs. #12 UTEP
* There’s still a buzz in the arena over the ending of the last game, but now it’s on to Butler vs. UTEP, which is one of the more compelling games of the entire first round slate. Both Butler and UTEP have a big draw here today, which is surprising given the distance to each school. We’re talking plane rides to El Paso and Indy for sure.
* MY GOODNESS. If you didn’t see Randy Culpepper’s ridunkulous open court tomahawk on a highlights package, make sure you do. It was spectacular. If Culpepper ever sees time in the League, expect this young fella with legs of rubber to take part in the dunk contest at some point. Only 6’0, he can absolutely sky.
* The difference in the athleticism between these two teams is remarkable, especially considering their relative seeding, but that’s never bothered Butler before and I doubt it will today. The Bulldogs are used to this in most cases when they play in the NCAA Tournament. The one major problem they’re having, though, is what to do with Derrick Caracter, who has gone for 12/6 in the first half. When Matt Howard is leaning on him, it looks like a teenager trying to stop a 30-year old NBA veteran. I understand the hype of Caracter — he’s a huge body with quick feet and nice touch. His haircut, however, is a total freakin’ disaster.
* There was a huge roar from the crowd upon the announcement that local favorite St. Mary’s had beaten Richmond. That one shocks me, but you just never know in this Tournament, do ya?
* Butler came out of the halftime locker room and methodically put on a defensive clinic, completely stupefying UTEP at every turn. There was one sequence in particular where the Butler coaching staff was all yelling at their players on a UTEP out-of-bounds play because they knew the formation before it seemed even the UTEP players did! Phenomenal preparation on the part of the Bulldogs and their staff. That’s what we refer to when we make vague references to halftime adjustments — the Butler coaching staff sure know what they’re doing.
* The Bulldogs started the half off on a 22-4 run and really it was never in question again after that. Shelvin Mack was the star, drilling six threes after the break, with most of them dead center. More importantly, it was a complete and utter inability of UTEP to find their people defensively and to get Derrick Caracter involved in the offense that beat them. By the time Caracter was scoring again — ten minutes into the second half — the game was effectively over.
* Randy Culpepper got NAILED on another fast break dunk attempt near the end of the game in what many people around me thought was a clean play. It may have been all-ball, but man it was a HARD fall. He’s only 6′0, as you know, and he gets way, way up in the air. He shook it off, though, and seemed ok afterward.
* There were only nine second-half FGs for the Miners, while Butler dropped ten threes in the half. Really, the only thing that Butler might complain about with this half is their FT shooting, which was spotty at best (12-17).
* With Butler staring at Cinderella #13 seed Murray State in the second round, it’s looking like another Sweet Sixteen trip for the best mid-major program in America (yes, even over Gonzaga).
* Both Randy Culpepper and Derrick Caracter are juniors who could theoretically be back in uniform next year, along with Arnett Moultrie (soph) who didn’t really show up today. You wouldn’t blame them for at least testing the waters, though, to see what kind of professional prospects they might have, but they’re probably going to all be back in El Paso next year, spelling bad news for the rest of CUSA.
Early games recap--Ballin' is a Habit
UTEP vs. Butler: This game is just finishing up, but it looks pretty safe to say Butler will win. They are currently up by 17. After trailing 33-27 at the half, the Bulldogs caught fire from three in the second half as they went on a 28-6 run to take control.
2010 NCAA Tournament: Day 1 recap--Ballin' is a Habit
PLAYER OF THE DAY: Omar Samhan, St. Mary's
They were good too
* Shelvin Mack, Butler: Mack had 25 points and 4 assists to lead Butler, but it was the second half that earned Mack mention. He hit 6-7 from three in the second half, scoring 18 of his 25 points. Four of those threes came in the first six minutes, sparking a 28-6 run that put away the Rebels.
TEAM OF THE DAY: Ohio Bobcats
They were good too
* Butler, Washington, and Tennessee: The Bulldogs, the Huskies, and the Vols all came into today knowing that most "experts" thought that they were going to lose. Well, so much for that. Butler blew out UTEP, Washington beat Marquette on a late basket by Quincy Pondexter, and Tennessee survived San Diego State.
Butler surges past UTEP in second half--The Indy Star
Butler bench players know their roles--The Indy Star
Butler goes beyond the arc to top UTEP--The Indy Star
NCAA blog 7: D + 3 = V--Indy Star Butler Insider
BUTLER 77, UTEP 59--THE unOFFICIAL BUTLER BULLDOGS MEN'S BASKETBALL PAGE
Bulldogs Advance Past UTEP To NCAA Second Round--ButlerSports.com
Bulldogs Meet Murray State In NCAA Second Round--ButlerSports.com
Women's basketball: NCAA Tournament awe dangerous for Phoenix--Green Bay Press Gazette
Tough watching tournaments--Mark Katz's Blog
Butler downs UTEP 77-59 in NCAA Tournament--The Horizon League
Favorite Butler NCAA Tournament Memories--Horizon League Network