Wisconsin mounted a furious comeback, but the hole Butler had put the Badgers in proved to be too much. Butler used strong defense to limit the Badgers on the offensive end to open the second half, taking a lead as big as 20 at one point. A furious rally brought the Badgers to within four with time running out, but it wasn't enough as Butler hung on to advance to the Elite Eight with a win.
With Wisconsin closing fast, Matt Howard made the play of the game for Butler. Following a missed Shelvin Mack free throw, Howard hustled for the rebound, snatching it away from the Badgers and drawing the foul. He hit both free throws to push the lead back to seven with just under 30 seconds to go, effectively sealing the game for the Bulldogs.
Matt Howard finished a team-high 18 points for the Bulldogs. Jordan Taylor led all scorers with 22 points, many of which came during the Badgers furious late rally. For much of the game, though, Butler held Taylor in check, frustrating him with hard-nosed defense.
Butler moves on to face Florida with a trip to the Final Four on the line on Saturday. An updated bracket can be found below.
No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Kentucky, Friday at 9:45 p.m. on CBS
No. 2 UNC vs. No. 11 Marquette, Friday at 7:15 p.m. on CBS
No. 5 Arizona Wildcats def. No. 1 Duke Blue Devils, 99-77
No. 3 Connecticut Huskies def. No. 2 San Diego State, 74-67
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 12 Richmond Spiders, Friday at 7:27 p.m. on TBS
No. 10 Florida State Seminoles vs. No. 11 VCU Rams, Friday at 9:57 p.m. on TBS
No. 8 Butler def. No. 4 Wisconsin, 61-54
No. 2 Florida def. No. 3 BYU. Thursday, 84-73