The Butler Bulldogs trail the No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels just 35-32 heading into the second half. Here's some thoughts from the game so far:
Alex Barlow is having a brilliant game for Butler so far. The senior guard has a game-high 11 points and has added two rebounds and two assists while attacking the basket and knocking down two threes. Barlow has also held North Carolina's star guard Marcus Paige to just four point on 1-5 shooting with his stifling defense, erasing one of the Tar Heels' top offensive options.
Despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor as a team, the Bulldogs have grabbed 11 offensive rebounds for plenty of shot at second-chance points. Senior forward Kameron Woods picked up his second foul with five minutes left in the half and had to go to the bench, and his return will most definitely give Butler another boost on the glass.
The Tar Heels have been most successful when dumping in over-the-top passes to their bigs from the top of the key. Forwards Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks have combined for 13 points on 5-8 shooting, mostly right at the rim.
Despite North Carolina's tight pressure on the perimeter, the Bulldogs are getting their shots from deep.The team has launched 15 total three's already, knocking down four. If junior guard Kellen Dunham and freshman guard Kelan Martin can start finding their shot in the second half, Butler will be right in position to upset the Tar Heels in the opening round of this week's tournament.