It all comes down to this.

After all the conversation about Butler's improbable run last year, and the equally improbable chance that they would repeat their effort this year, the Bulldogs are back in the title game playing a Connecticut team that has proven that they are more than just the national player of the year contender Kemba Walker and some spare parts.

The Huskies went into the tournament as one of 11 Big East teams, and as most of the Big East teams folded early, Connecticut peaked at the right time. While Walker has been his typical prolific self, Connecticut probably would have faltered if not for the emergence of guard Jeremy Lamb.

The freshman has matured as the tournament has progressed, and has been a stable force in the starting lineup. Lamb has hit plenty of big shots, and has maintained his poise in high-pressure games.

It hasn't only been Lamb and Walker, for head coach Jim Calhoun's squad. The big man presence of Alex Oriakhi and the clever play-making abilities of Shabazz Napier have also been instrumental in the Huskies' tournament run.

This may neither be Jim Calhoun's most talented team, nor his most balanced, but it may very well be his most resilient.

Connecticut had a one-of-12 shooting night from beyond the three-point arc and turned the ball over 15 times against Kentucky, but the Huskies still found a way to win.

Calhoun may need a better effort against the Bulldogs, who show no intimidation against high-ranked opponents.

Last year, Brad Stevens's team came within two points against Duke in the title game, and on their way they defeated three out of five opponents by four points or less.

This year's run has been somewhat similar, with Butler edging three of five opponents by three points or less.

Butler's success has mainly rested on the shoulders of two upperclassmen: senior Matt Howard, and junior Shelvin Mack.

An excellent free throw shooter, Howard has provided senior leadership and clutch scoring this season, though he's been inconsistent with his outside shot. Mack, however, has been a scoring machine for Butler in the tournament, particularly in the Bulldogs' extremely close victory over number-one seed Pittsburgh when he scored 30 points.

Mack has averaged 25.5 points per game in the past two games. It may be Jeremy Lamb's assignment to contain Mack, which may be harder than it looks considering the way Mack has shot the ball.

What makes Butler such a force is not just the combination of Howard and Mack. Stevens has implemented a very intelligent and aggressive defensive plan.

The central piece of the defensive plan may be Ronald Nored, the 6'0 junior guard. Nored hasn't converted a field goal since the second-round Old Dominion game, but his defense may be the reason the Bulldogs have advanced this far.

His defensive skills will be put to the test against Walker, a 6'1 junior star who seems to always make a big impact.

The battle between Walker and Nored may decide the national championship. Walker is coming off an 18-point performance against Kentucky, which was probably his worst game of the tournament, and has played in nearly every single minute of the tournament, as well.

Both teams are certainly elated to have come as far as they have, but as expectations have grown throughout the tournament, anything short of a win on Monday night would be a disappointment.