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Matt Howard Is Butler's March Madness Siren (And Other Bulldog Thoughts)

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Yes, Butler is back in the Sweet 16. Yes, they're pair of unbelievably narrow escapes against Old Dominion and Pittsburgh have been discussed ad nauseum and the talk of another improbable run deep into the NCAA Tournament is reaching a fever pitch.

All of this is deservedly so - make no mistake about it.

The Bulldogs are finding that March magic once again. Shelvin Mack's 30-point performance in yesterdays win over the top seeded Panthers was dominant as the junior buried 7 of his 12 attempts from beyond the arc. In fact, the 12 three's the team hit collectively were the deciding factor as Pitt dominated every facet of the game, even shooting better from the outside, just with a smaller number of attempts. The same can be said for the opening round win of the tournament over Old Dominion. The Bulldogs weren't decidedly better than the Monarchs in execution or production, but they were good enough.

That's where the potential for special enters the picture. Last year's Butler team was a great one, they were in the national picture from day one and as much as their national runner-up finish will be remembered as a shocking cinderella story, they were good enough to be on that stage. This year's team is noticeably different, not nearly as dangerous at both ends of the floor, but they still have the talent and a little bit of that postseason luck to continue this run.

There will be plenty of time for analysis and predictions to come in the days to come. For now, let's just enjoy some of the magic after the jump.