In one of the best games of the NCAA Tournament, so far, the #1 seed Virginia Cavaliers defeated the #9 seed Butler Bulldogs 77-69 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Butler took a 25-23 lead into the break, as they were able to match the effort put forth by the one of the nation's top defensive team, Virginia.
The first few minutes of the second half saw Butler continue to match that effort, as Andrew Chrabascz scored 12 points in the first 3:30 of the half to give Butler a five point lead, their biggest of the game. However, after Chrabascz's hot start, UVA coach Tony Bennett dispatched ACC Defensive Player of the Year Malcolm Brogdon to guard Chrabascz, and the Butler big man was held scoreless for the remainder of the game.
There's not much to say about Virginia's defense that every single national publication and writer hasn't already said, but they're absolutely as good as advertised. Brogdon and company punish and smother teams and make them grind out every possession and shot attempt. With Michigan State out of the way, Virginia should be playing in the Final Four in a couple weeks.
Of course, it's also necessary to talk about UVA's shooting barrage in the second half. At one point, they hit 12 of 13 shots. There's not much Butler can do in a situation like that, if a team is going to hit 92% of their shots. Brogdon is UVA's leader on the offensive end, also. He finished with 22 points.
The Cavaliers had six offensive rebounds in this game, and 12 second chance points. That's right. They turned all six offensive rebounds into second chance points. There's not much you can do if you're Butler.
Aside from Chrabascz (25 points, season high), Roosevelt Jones ended his collegiate career with a bang. 18 points, most of which came on those circus lay-ups we have all come to know and love from him. Kellen Dunham had eight points in his final collegiate game. It will be interesting to see how the Bulldogs replace those two, but that's another story for another time.
In the end, Butler couldn't replicate the magic they captured five years ago to the day, the last time they defeated a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but that's the thing about March Madness: It cares not for your narratives.