Last year, Butler lost to Duke in the title game by two points.

This year, the Bulldogs have a great chance to be on other end of a close game, when they face Connecticut in Monday's title game.

The Huskies are led by Kemba Walker, who might be the best player in college basketball, despite the accolades bestowed on Jimmer Fredette.

Walker has carried UConn on his back for most of the season up until the emergence of freshman guard Jeremy Lamb.

But as good as Walker is, he faces perhaps an equally prolific defender in Ronald Nored.

Butler's 6'0 guard makes up for his lack of scoring by playing smart and tight defense, and he will likely get the assignment of containing Walker, which should be his toughest task of the tournament.

Walker may be a little fatigued after playing nearly every minute of Connecticut's five tournament games. The junior guard had perhaps his worst showing of the tournament on Saturday when he scored 18 points on just six-of-15 shooting.

The more intriguing match-up, though, should be Connecticut's Lamb and Butler's Shelvin Mack. While Walker has been responsible for leading the scoring charge, Lamb has shot the ball very well in the last five games as Jim Calhoun's second scoring option.

But Mack has been outstanding lately. The 6'3 guard is coming off an eight-for-11 shooting effort against Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday, and scored 30 points against Big East power Pittsburgh.

Certainly, Mack has risen to the occasion for Butler. Though Walker has been among the game's best players, neither team has a player as hot as Mack right now.

The other interesting match-up will be down low with the Huskies' Alex Oriakhi tangling with the Bulldogs' Matt Howard. Both players have had inconsistent showings, but their defensive presence against the dribble penetration, and their down-low scoring, will be critical to the outcome.

The Huskies and Bulldogs can expect a dog fight in Houston.

PREDICTION: Like last year, this game will come down to the wire. But unlike last year, Butler will prevail. The Bulldogs have been here before, they appear less fatigued than the Huskies, and their defense should limit Connecticut's guards.

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Butler 64, Connecticut 63