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Milwaukee’s Best: Boilers and Bulldogs advance to Sweet 16

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Butler's Kethan Savage and Tyler Wideman celebrate their NCAA Tournament second round win over MTSU (WTTV March 18, 2017).

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Butler was the first Central Indiana school to punch a ticket to the Sweet 16 Saturday afternoon. The 4-seed Bulldogs never trailed 12-seed Middle Tennessee en route to a 74-65 win.

“We finally got to the Sweet 16,” said head coach Chris Holtmann through a wide smile. “Feels like it’s been a long time coming though it’s only been three years.”

“We can compete with anybody in the country,” added Kelan Martin, who finished the day with a team-high 19 points off the bench. “As for today, we were together. We started off hot, you know hot shooting, and defended well.”

“This team really fought hard,” said senior Avery Woodson. “We worked hard from the beginning. From August, from the beginning, and it’s paying off right now.”

For Woodson, the Sweet 16 and hopeful Elite 8 games will be a return to his old stomping grounds in Memphis, where he played for the Memphis Tigers before transferring to Butler as a grad student.

After the Bulldogs’ win, Purdue followed with a gritty 80-76 win over Iowa State, moving on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010.

“It’s hard to win games in the NCAA Tournament,” said head coach Matt Painter. “It’s hard to get in the NCAA Tournament. You can’t take it for granted.”

“All the goals we set out to do,” reflected Vince Edwards, who led the Boilers with 21 points, “and we’re not finished yet, but to be where we’re standing now is a heckuva feeling.”

Purdue will next play in Kansas City and face the winner of Sunday’s Kansas and Michigan State game. Butler will play in Memphis against either North Carolina or Arkansas.

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