The entire country may be captivated by underdog Butler's Hoosiers-esque tournament run, tipping off now on CBS, but not NCAA Basketball 10. The video game spit back a simulation saying Duke will romp to its fourth national championship.
In the 84-61 win, which just played out in a CPU vs CPU game on my Xbox 360, Duke dictated a faster-paced game and killed Butler in rebounding, resulting in very little second chances for the Bulldogs. Butler also shot 39 per cent and made just one three-pointer.
Duke's Kyle Singler was the game's top performer, scoring 33 points and chipping in six rebounds and four assists. Other Devils in double figures were John Scheyer with 10 points and Mason Plumlee's 14 (off the bench, even).
For Butler, Gordon Hayward had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists; guard Shelvin Mack added another 13 points.
In this simulation, Butler trailed by 44-32 at the half but drew to 48-44 with 16 minutes to play. The Bulldogs went cold but still hung around thanks to some pressure defence and sloppy Duke misses, staying within six, 56-50, at 11:04 to go.
But a Brian Zoubek putback from a crowd of a defenders at 9:33 put the blue Devils up 11 and the rout was on. A huge Lance Thomas swat, followed immediately by a Singler three-pointer, gave Duke a 14-point lead with eight minutes to play, 64-50. That's as close as the Bulldogs would get.
The game was played with current dynamic update files (there was at least one update since the tournament began) on varsity setting with 20-minute halves in Lucas Oil Stadium. I had to adjust the rosters to reflect both teams' current depth charts. The game plays faster-paced than what we'll see tonight for sure, and definitely does not substitute as much as both teams do in real life.
But Duke presents tough matchups at every position for Butler, making an upset victory for the Bulldogs, in their hometown, as much a long shot in real life as it was in this video game.