Bucknell quickly came a trendy upset pick when the brackets were announced on Sunday evening, and it wasn’t necessarily wrong.
The Bison are really good and they have an NBA caliber center in Mike Muscala. That’s a combination that is ideal when trying to identify what under-the-radar teams have a chance to make a run in the tournament.
Except for one thing: they drew Butler.
That’s the Butler that is coached by Brad Stevens. The Butler that has 6-foot-11 grinder Andrew Smith in the middle. The Butler that can be as physical and stymieing defensively as anyone in the country. No one in the country game-plans better than Stevens, and no team in the country executes a game-plan better than his Bulldogs.
Which, if you listened to me (I love self-congratulation), means that you are happy after No. 6 seed Butler’s 68-56 win over No. 11 Bucknell in the opening round of East Region play out in Lexington. Muscala finished with nine points on 4-17 shooting to go along with 10 boards and four fouls, and outside of a flurry of early-second half mid-range jumpers from Joe William (20 points, 10-17 shooting) and a bunch of threes in the final minutes when the outcome had already been decided, the Bison spent a good 30 minutes of this game completely incapable of executing offensively.
And that’s good news for the Bulldogs.
Because they weren’t all that good on Thursday, either. Rotnei Clarke was 5-14 from the floor and 2-8 from three; he missed his first six triples — Butler as a team missed their first 14 — before hitting two daggers in the final minutes. As a team, Butler shot 36.4% from the field and 3-17 from three.
They won this game because they were able to defend, something that Butler is going to be able to do pretty consistently. And if you think Clarke and company are going to shoot that poorly throughout the whole tournament, well, it’s no wonder you’re already 0-1 in your bracket in the East Region.
Butler advances to take on the winner of No. 3 Marquette-No. 14 Davidson.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.
The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.
The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.
(h/t: Courtside Films)
Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.
The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.
A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.
Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.
The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.
Rules to participate are pretty simple:
- Drive around in your vehicle.
- Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
- Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
- Run back to your car and drive away.
Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:
Pretty simple, right?
The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.
Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.
And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.
While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.
I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.
Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.
The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.
Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.
On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.
Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.
Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.
Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.
The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.
Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.