North Carolina took a 68-65 lead with 44 seconds left on a tip by Kennedy Meeks after a miss by Joel Berry, who knocked down Arkansas forward Adrio Bailey as he drove to the basket.
But that was it for drama. Arkansas never led again.
The victor of today's game will face the victor of No. 2 Purdue and No. 15 Cal State Fullerton. Even without Haas, Purdue will be a big hurdle for the Bulldogs to get into the Sweet 16. The 2001 win was 79-63.
Butler (20-13) lost highly-regarded coach Chris Holtmann to Ohio State this summer and replaced him with LaVall Jordan, who had been the coach at Milwaukee of the Horizon League and was a Butler alum and former Bulldogs assistant. Friday's win will hold special meaning for Wideman after the Bulldogs shook off their blown lead and came back to outscore Arkansas by 12 points in the second half.
"It was a insane start, " reserve center Nate Fowler said. "We've always been looked at like that".
Although opening the SEC just 1-3, Arkansas' 10-8 SEC finish and winning two SEC Tournament games in St. Louis before Saturday's loss to regular-season SEC co-champion Tennessee had an at large well in hand before Sunday's pairings were announced.
"We've been working on this all year", Beard said. "If we're not going to stay composed after a couple of runs by now, then we have an issue". Well, that's where we come in.
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson basically felt the same way about the early hole his team dug against the Bulldogs.More news: Texas A&M-North Carolina,3rd Ld-Writethru
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"I can see a lot of Auburn (in Butler)", Macon said Tuesday.
Prior to Friday's game, the Bulldogs beat the Razorbacks 37-21 on January 2, 1931 in Indianapolis in the teams' only other meeting. We just talked about survive and advance. We had some outstanding performances and guys coming off the bench. "I thought that was really kind of what spurred us on". But it didn't. Give them credit. "As the stats say, they only turn it over like nine or 10 times a game". He shoots the 3-point shot, and he's automatic from the free throw line. That was a full 10 rebounds under the Arkansas average. The previous high had been 18 when it outrebounded Morehead State 42-24. We've got to worry about Arkansas. "And I think we did a great job of that". Arkansas shot just 36-percent from the floor (20-56), and only made four out of their 18 attempts for the three-range.
For the Bulldogs to win this game, they needed to prevent the 3-point line from being a massive advantage for the Razorbacks.
"I thought it really helped us throughout this year", he said.
"It was a team effort, " he said. "So it was a team effort tonight".
Butler shot just under 50 percent from the field and hit 11 of 26 3-pointers. The 6-foot-6 forward from Little Rock averaged 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in his 14.8 minutes per game. McDermott was the only other Butler player in double figures scoring with 11. Jaylen Barford led Arkansas with 15 points and Daryl Macon added 12.
The Bulldogs also realize, they can't overlook the towering 6'11 presence of Razorbacks freshman big man, Daniel Gafford.
"I didn't think Daniel played one of his better games, " Anderson said. "I think it's a blessing". "I don't want to be just one-stepping and two-stepping". "It's not like they're going to play four guys".