Butler secures 9 seed in Midwest Region, set to face 8th-seeded Texas Tech
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 13, 2016) – Butler waited with bated breath until the final bracket of Selection Sunday was revealed, pairing the 9th-seeded Bulldogs against Texas Tech, the eight seed, in the Midwest Region. They’ll match up Thursday, March 17 in Raleigh, N.C.
“When Selection Sunday comes, you’re always going to be nervous,” senior Roosevelt Jones said. “This is my third time getting in and I’ve been nervous each time.”
“They’re really disciplined, and from what little bit I’ve seen I’ve been really impressed with how tough they are, how gritty their group was, its going to be a tremendous challenge,” Butler head coach Chris Holtmann said. “You’re not going to play a bad team in the tournament, that’s why they’re here.”
“The last couple of times we were in the tournament, we had a better idea of where we were going to be, but this year we had a good feeling we were in, we felt like we deserved it,” senior Austin Etherington said.
The Bulldogs enter the NCAA Tournament with a 21-10 season record, going 10-8 in the BIG EAST. They’ll face a Red Raiders that earned a 19-12 regular season record. Butler actually got to watch the gritty Texas Tech team early this season when both teams participated in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off but did not face one another.
“We were able to watch them a little bit and see them,” Etherington added. “I think we’re ready to take them on and get prepared and hopefully get a W.”
Butler enjoyed a surge the last month of the season, winning seven of their last 10 games entering the tournament. Similarly, the Red Raiders hit a late-season surge to secure their spot in the tournament while fighting through a tough Big 12 conference schedule.
“I actually have a buddy on their team, Toddrick Gotcher, so its going to be cool to go against him,” senior Kellan Dunham said. “We went on the AIA Philippines trip a couple summers together.”
The winner of that first-round matchup will advance to face No. 1 seed Virginia or No. 16 Hampton.
“The atmosphere is going to be crazy there, and we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year,” Jones said. “Everybody’s going come together and work hard together as a team.”
Butler has now appeared in eight NCAA Tournaments the past 10 years.
“It’s do-or-die time, nothing is guaranteed, and it’s my last year so I’m trying to make sure I make it last as long as I can,” Jones said.