2011 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight: Florida vs. Butler Preview

A trip to Houston and the Final Four is on the line today as the 2nd seeded Florida Gators take on the 8th seeded Butler Bulldogs in the Southeast Regional Final. Tip-off is set for 4:20 EDT, and the trio of Gus Johnson, Len Elmore, and Reggie Miller will have the call for you on CBS.

Butler has a quality inside-outside scoring duo in Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack, and the Bulldogs have a lineup that can play in a variety of ways. Andrew Smith should be able to play for Butler after taking a nasty fall in their Sweet 16 victory over Wisconsin on Thursday. The Bulldogs will need a 3rd scorer to compete with Florida, and one option might be Tampa Wharton grad Steven VanZant.

Butler has the bigs to compete with Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin down low, it will just depend on how Mack, VanZant, and Ronald Norad take care of Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker, and Chandler Parsons on the perimeter.

The Gators are a heavy favorite tonight against Butler, as Nate Silver from the New York Times gives the Gators a 68% chance of winning, which is the 2nd highest of the Elite Eight matchups. Don’t be surprised however if this game is much closer. Butler is a talented and experienced team that has played in a ton of big games over the past two years.

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