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NCAA championship game: What you didn't know about Butler

Yes, Butler is the sentimental favorite heading into tonight's NCAA championship game against Duke. But as an Indiana school, it has a long basketball history.

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Even during the Hinkle era, the Bulldogs and their Hall of Fame Coach often shared the limelight in the old Indiana Collegiate Conference with down-state rival Evansville College (now the University of Evansville), led by another Hall of Fame coach, Arad McCutchan. The Purples Aces actually were more successful in postseason play, winning five national small-college championships even as Butler gained a reputation for upsetting Big Ten teams.

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In recent years, Butler has become one of the most respected teams from a “mid-major” conference, the Horizon League, which includes schools such as Valparaiso, Wisconsin-Green Bay, and Wright State.

Ironically, Butler has a number of similarities to Duke. Both are private schools with strong academic reputations and strong basketball traditions. Each plays in a basketball-oriented state, uses a storied old gym (in Duke’s case, Cameron Indoor Stadium), and even share blue as their school color.

Here's the tale of the tape for tonight's final:

Number of in-state students on basketball roster

  • Butler – 10
  • Duke – 4

Year of university founding

University enrollment

  • Butler – 4,512*
  • Duke – 13,000

* This reportedly makes Butler the second smallest team to ever play in the NCAA championship game after Jacksonville in 1970.)

Year varsity basketball program began

  • Butler – 1897
  • Duke – 1906

Number of consensus All-America players ever

  • Butler – 0
  • Duke – 15

Annual undergraduate tuition

  • Butler – $28,460
  • Duke – $39,075

Percentage of basketball players who graduate

  • Butler – 90 percent
  • Duke – 92 percent

Number of Final Four appearances

  • Butler – 1
  • Duke – 15

Ross Atkin's March Madness trivia:

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