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9:51 PM Fri, Nov. 16th

Column: Local boys prep coaches pick Butler to win title

The majority of area boys prep basketball coaches believe the Butler Bulldogs will beat the Connecticut Huskies in today's NCAA men's championship game in Houston.

Prescott High's Adam Neely said Butler's rough-and-tumble defense will be the difference.

The Bulldogs' defense will have its hands full, especially when it comes to UConn superstar Kemba Walker.

"(Butler) will have to try to make someone else beat them," he said.

Neely's Pick: Butler 58, UConn 55

Chino Valley's Clint Cross said Butler's ability to execute under pressure will bring the title home to Indianapolis.

"I'm a big Duke fan, so I'm glad (Butler) lost last year, but it'll be great if they're able to pull it off this year," he said. "I like their coach Brad Stevens a lot. He's so calm and cool, it seems like the players (emulate him on the court)."

Cross' Pick: Butler 67, UConn 62

Mayer's Roland Medina said a mixture of fate and other intangibles weigh in the Bulldogs' favor.

'The second time's a charm, plus they seem to be in the right place at the right time," he said. 'The ball always seems to find them."

Medina's Pick: Butler 68, UConn 65

The Orme School's Todd Roe is the only dissenter in the group.

Roe, who guided the Warriors to the Class 1A state title in February, said while there's no question Butler's proven itself to be one of the nation's top programs in the past two seasons, UConn's Walker will be the difference in the game.

"Butler has a great program, but I thought coming into the season UConn had the best player in the country (in Walker), and they were the hottest team coming into the tournament, so I have to be on their side," he said.

Roe's Pick: UConn 58, Butler 50

I've got to side with Roe on this one.

Butler seems to be a charmed team this time out - if it weren't for Matt Howard's tip-in at the buzzer versus Old Dominion in the first round who knows if the Bulldogs would have even made it out of the first round - but UConn has too many weapons on offense.

My Pick: UConn 62, Butler 55

Editor's Note: Bradshaw Mountain's Doug Beilfuss could not be reached for comment.