USA TODAY Sports
Gonzaga set the standard for small schools at the turn of the century, and Butler one-upped them a decade later. Now, the two perennial Davids will meet in a big-time setting on Saturday night in Indianapolis.
At the turn of the century, Gonzaga began to establish itself as the top small school in the land after reaching the Elite Eight in 1999 and fighting its way into the Sweet 16 in each of the next two seasons. However, the Bulldogs of Gonzaga have never made it past where they ended in 1999, while the Bulldogs of Butler, college hoops' new-age underdog, reached heights previously unseen by the sport's David types.
Butler has appeared in two of the last three national championship games, although the Bulldogs came up short both times, losing to Duke in the final seconds in 2010 and falling apart against UConn the next year. This season, the Bulldogs look as strong as ever, entering their meeting with Gonzaga boasting 15 wins, including victories over Marquette, North Carolina and Indiana.
Gonzaga is no slouch either, having fallen just once this season, a loss to then-No. 13 Illinois on Dec. 8. Still, the Bulldogs have taken down seven teams from major conferences, including impressive wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
Butler and Gonzaga will tip off at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN and WatchESPN.