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2018 NCAA tournament preview: No. 10 Butler

Butler Bulldogs: 20-13, 9-9 in the Big East Conference

Head coach: LaVall Jordan (1st season)

Players to watch: Kelan Martin (20.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 44.1 FG%); Kamar Baldwin (15.5 PPG, 3.1 APG, 1.5 SPG); Paul Jorgensen (10.5 PPG, 85.1 FT%)

Season recap: The early part of last summer brought a bit of a shock to the Butler program. After Ohio State hired coach Chris Holtmann away from Indianapolis, the Bulldogs had to quickly find a replacement—and in June, they did just that, bringing in LaVall Jordan, a former assistant at Michigan who had been a head coach for just one season prior to joining Butler.

It wasn't easy early for the Bulldogs, which started off 3-2 with losses in both of their games against major conference opponents. But in their final contest at November's PK80 in Portland, Ore., Butler got revenge on its former head coach, knocking off Holtmann's Buckeyes 67-66 in overtime. 

Although the Bulldogs have gone just 1-7 against ranked teams, Butler does have a signature victory on its resumé, a 101-93 win against top-seeded Villanova at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Still, the Bulldogs have struggled away from home, going just 6-10 in games not on their own court, and Butler will limp into March with six losses in their last nine games.

How they make a run: The Bulldogs lean on veterans Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman to show their young guys the ropes and squeeze out enough points from their offense to earn a chance to play in the tournament's second weekend.

How they falter: Butler can't find the bottom of the basket and without enough points, the Bulldogs just don't have enough firepower to pull off an upset. 

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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