Butler can make Final Four a homecoming

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Butler is two wins away from reaching the Final Four, which will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the school is located.

Have the Bulldogs thought about playing for a national championship in their own back yard -- with a huge home-court advantage?


"If you start thinking about what could be ahead," said junior forward Matt Howard , "you're going to get yourself in trouble."

The Budllogs looked like they were in trouble at halftime of their first two NCAA Tournament games.

Against UTEP, they trailed 33-27.

Against Murray State, they trailed 26-22 after a closing 9-0 run by the Racers.

Asked about Butler's comeback mentality, coach Brad Stevens said, "The point of emphasis is don't panic, stay together, do the tough things. ... One of the things we talk about is not hitting home runs. It's single, single, single, single. One possession at a time."

That was then

When Xavier and Kansas State play Thursday night, it will be the second meeting of the season between the two teams.

On Dec. 8, the Wildcats used a 46-33 rebounding advantage and rolled to a 71-56 home win.

The Musketeers have gone 21-5 since the loss, however, and look forward to the rematch.

"We didn't do anything right against them," junior Dante Jackson told the Cincinnati Enquirer . "We didn't run our offense right, we didn't play defense right. A completely different Xavier team went to Kansas and just got their brains beat in."

Xavier shot 29.4 percent against K-State, which attempted 40 free throws in the game.

Jackson added: "We were trying to find our way. I think we were a bunch of individuals and not a team, and that's all different now. ...

"We're going to play to win, stick to our system, and do everything we didn't do in Manhattan."

Boeheim honored

Syracuse's Jim Boeheim has been named winner of the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award, presented annually by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Boeheim has 829 career wins and has guided the Orange in the NCAA regionals for the 16th time in 27 tournament appearances.

Syracuse has reached three championship games, winning in 2003.

Freshman lifts Wildcats

Freshman forward Wally Judge gave Kansas State a huge lift in its 84-72 win over BYU in the second round of the tournament.

Judge, a McDonald's All-American coming out of high school, finished with eight points and eight rebounds against the Cougars.

It was his third straight game with at least six points and four rebounds, according to the Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury .

Said coach Frank Martin : "Wally Judge didn't come to K-State because it's easy. He came to K-State because he wants to be a special player ... [and] because he believed in us. We've coached him. We forced him to grow. And to his credit, he's never fought it. He's embraced it."