Marquette looking for payback vs. Butler in third round

mfields@herald-leader.comMarch 22, 2013 

Marquette's Jamil Wilson (0) grabbed a rebound in the second half of the Davidson vs. Marquette second round NCAA tournament game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on March 21, 2013. Marquette won 59-58. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff

LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER Buy Photo

  • Saturday

    Marquette vs. Butler

    What: NCAA Tournament East Regional third-round game

    Where: Rupp Arena

    When: About 7:45 p.m. TV: CBS-27

    Records: Marquette 24-8, Butler 27-8

    Seeds: Marquette No. 3, Butler No. 6

    Series: Marquette leads 14-12

    Last meeting: Butler won 72-71 on Nov. 19, 2012, in Maui Invitational

It happened four months and 33 games ago, but Marquette's Jamil Wilson still vividly recalls how Butler beat the Golden Eagles in the Maui Classic.

He can still see Butler's Rotnei Clarke racing down the floor with time ticking away, his team down two, "and him just jumping, the ball releasing and going in."

Clarke's buzzer-beating three-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 72-71 victory, a shot that's been replayed repeatedly in an ESPN promo for college hoops this season.

"Definitely my least favorite commercial throughout the year," Marquette's Trent Lockett said on Friday.

The Golden Eagles' Davante Gardner's memory of Clarke's game-winner: "Kind of a lucky shot. He just threw it up and it just went in."

November is long gone, March is here and Marquette and Butler are hooking up again, this time with a lot more on the line than fun in the Hawaiian sun.

They meet Saturday night in Rupp Arena in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, and a spot in the Sweet 16 will go to the winner.

But the media is still intent on mining that November game for nuggets that might give them insight into the rematch in Rupp.


To read the rest of the article, please scroll past these links to related stories on games in Rupp Arena.

NCAA Visitors Guide: Welcome to Lexington tournament-goers

NCAA bracket with game times, locations

NCAA in Rupp: Louisville, Colorado State present each other unique challenges

NCAA in Rupp: Louisville's Harrell embraces the pressure

Mark Story: Butler's Stevens as calm as he looks — most of the time

NCAA in Rupp notes: Broken brackets to be expected, Pitino says

Marquette looking for payback vs. Butler in third round


Butler Coach Brad Stevens was happy to oblige at a Friday press conference. He said it was "amazing what happened in Maui" from Marquette's perspective.

After the Golden Eagles lost that heart-breaker on what Stevens called "a shot that should have never gone in," they bounced back to rip Mississippi State and Southern Cal the next two days.

"A remarkable achievement," Stevens said. "Nobody understands, unless you've been in the locker room, how hard that is to reconvene, go back out and compete."

Stevens thought that was an early indication of the resiliency Marquette showed throughout the season, and again Thursday night when it rallied in the closing minute to beat Davidson.

That said, both teams are much different than they were four months ago.

Marquette Coach Buzz Williams, noting Butler's post-season successes (including title game appearances in 2010 and 2011), said:

"Brad Stevens is not 12-4 in the NCAA Tournament because he coaches the same team in March that he coaches in November. Schematically, there's a lot of similarities, but they've made tweaks, they've made adjustments."

Stevens agreed, noting that Kameron Woods and Alex Barlow, who played a total of three minutes in Maui, are now in the Bulldogs' regular rotation. Barlow started and played 32 minutes against Bucknell on Thursday. Woods logged 20 minutes.

While Williams knows that Clarke can be a killer shooter, he's just as concerned with Butler's inside guys Andrew Smith, Khyle Marshall and Roosevelt Jones.

Smith, a 6-11 senior, thinks the team has improved the most defensively.

Marquette has also changed and improved since November.

When Butler's front court whipped Marquette's big guys in Maui, Wilson was starting for the Eagles. Now he's coming off the bench.

Vander Blue, who had the game-winning layup against Davidson, is now the Golden Eagles' go-to guy. Lockett, in his first year after transferring Arizona State, has expanded his role in the supporting cast. Big guys Gardner and Chris Otule have gotten better on the blocks.

One player who has put the Maui meeting out of his mind is Clarke, the star of those ESPN commercials.

"We've moved past it, definitely," he said, "just because it seems so long ago. It feels like forever. It's definitely not going to have any impact on (Saturday's) game."

It's March, not November.

It's Kentucky, not Hawaii.

It's the NCAA Tournament, not the Maui Classic.

This is the one that will really make lasting memories.


Saturday

Marquette vs. Butler

What: NCAA Tournament East Regional third-round game

Where: Rupp Arena

When: About 7:45 p.m. TV: CBS-27

Records: Marquette 24-8, Butler 27-8

Seeds: Marquette No. 3, Butler No. 6

Series: Marquette leads 14-12

Last meeting: Butler won 72-71 on Nov. 19, 2012, in Maui Invitational

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337 Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service