Brad Stevens

Projecting how Butler and VCU will fare in the A-10

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VCU, along with Butler, is headed off to the Atlantic 10 next season.

One of the most intriguing story lines heading into the year is whether or not two of the nation’s best mid-major programs — the last two mid-majors to make the Final Four, when they squared off in 2011 — will be able to handle the transition to a stronger conference.

As VCU Ram Nation determined, Shaka Smart’s boys shouldn’t have an issue:

VCU has gone 15-5 over the past 10 seasons against current A-10 teams, but grabbed the majority of their Ws against cross-town rival Richmond, notching eight of those 15 victories against the Spiders.

The Rams dominated at home but went just 5-3 in true road games during that span. However, one of those victories included a CBI Championship at St. Louis in 2010.

I urge you to go through and look at the research that Mat Shelton and company did, because it is good stuff. It also got me interested in how Butler fared over that same time frame against the current A-10 schools. The answer? 4-4 (scroll to the bottom for the full breakdown).

Four of those games came against Xavier in the past four season, a series that Butler split despite losing the last two games. While the Final Four battle with VCU is clearly the most important game, the most exciting came back in 2009-2010, when Xavier lost to Butler on a buzzer-beating layup from Gordon Hayward. The game ended in controversy, however. The clock stopped in the final seconds, meaning that instead of Xavier having 1.2 seconds to try and win the game, the referees blew the whistle and ended it.

Here is the full breakdown of games:

2011-2012 (0-1)
Xavier 73, BUTLER 61

2010-2011 (1-1)
XAVIER 51, Butler 49
Butler 70, VCU 62 (Final Four)

2009-2010 (1-0)
BUTLER 69, Xavier 68

2008-2009 (1-0)
Butler 74, XAVIER 65

2004-2005 (0-1)
Richmond 69, BUTLER 68

2003-2004 (0-1)
ST. LOUIS 72, Butler 54

2002-2003 (1-0)
BUTLER 68, St. Louis 46

No. 25 Texas A&M outlasts No. 10 Gonzaga

Billy Kennedy
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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No. 25 Texas A&M made a statement on Turkey Day, as they knocked off No. 10 Gonzaga 62-61 in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Danuel House led the way with 19 points for the Aggies while Tony Trocha-Morales finished with 14 points as Texas A&M picked up the win despite the fact that they did not score for the final eight minutes of the game.

Billy Kennedy’s club looked the part of an SEC contender, playing tough defense and keeping Gonzaga’s massive and talented front line in check. Perhaps most impressive was that they were able to hang on despite blowing a lead late in the second half, and that they did it with their defense. Gonzaga can score. They have big bodies inside and shooters to surround them, but Domantas Sabonis struggled with foul struggle throughout the game while Kyle Wiltjer did not score in the final 12 minutes.

Kentucky, at this point, is the clear-cut favorite in the SEC, and while Vanderbilt looked really good in Maui this week, A&M looks like they’re going to end up giving the Commodores a run for their money for second-best in the league.

On the other hand, this loss wasn’t a total disaster for the Zags. They had the final possession with a chance to be a good team on a day when Domantas Sabonis was rendered completely ineffective. And, more importantly, point guard Josh Perkins was terrific. He did have a late turnover, but he scored all 15 of his points in the second half as he helped keep the Zags within striking distance.

Texas A&M will play the winner of Syracuse and No. 18 UConn for the title.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Thanksgiving Day Edition!

Kevin Ollie
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.

For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.

The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.


1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.

2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.

3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.

4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.

5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?


  • No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
  • No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
  • No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.