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Maui Invitational Bracket Released, Butler Plays Marquette

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Indianapolis (IN) - The wait is finally over for Butler fans wondering who the Bulldogs will play in the 1st round of the Maui Invitational.

Marquette, who is looking to rebound from losing Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder and shooting guard Darius Johnson-Odom, will meet the Bulldogs in Maui.

The Golden Eagles were 27-8 last season and finished second in the Big East. They were eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Florida.

Marquette will be led by junior forwards Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson, along with junior guard Vander Blue. The roster will also be bolstered by Arizona State transfer Trent Lockett.

Butler is coming off a 22-15 season and semi-final loss in the College Basketball Invitational to Pittsburgh and a 4th place finish in the Horizon League.

The Bulldogs add senior transfer Rotnei Clarke, the leading 3-point shooter in Arkansas history (43.8% in 2010) and freshman guard Kellen Dunham to a young team that gained a lot of valuable experience last season.

They also head into a new conference - The Atlantic 10.

Ronald Nored will certainly be missed for his leadership and defensive presence, but four starters return in Andrew Smith, Khyle Marshall, Chrishawn Hopkins, and Roosevelt Jones.

Butler also returns key reserves Kameron Woods, Chase Stigall, and Erik Fromm.

The main reason for Butler's struggles last season was floor spacing. Opponents were able to crowd the lane because Butler only shot 27% from 3-point range last season. Clarke and Dunham should help to remedy their shooting woes.

Adding Marquette to the official schedules gives the Bulldogs yet another big non-conference game that is already loaded with challenges.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to play big non-conference games against Indiana, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt, Xavier, and now Marquette.

The other 1st round matchups are: North Carolina vs Mississippi State, Texas vs Chaminade, and Illinois vs Southern California.

If the Bulldogs can knock off the Golden Eagles in the 1st round, they could potentially play North Carolina in the semi-finals.

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