NEW ORLEANS — Matt Howard scored 20 and Butler sent home yet another higher seed in the NCAA Tournament with a 61-54 victory over Wisconsin on Thursday.
Shelvin Mack scored 13 and former Wharton High standout Shawn Vanzant 10 for the No. 8 seed Bulldogs (26-9), who led by 20 in the second half before withstanding a late rally by the No. 4 Badgers.
Butler advanced to the Southeast Region final, where the Bulldogs meet Florida. Butler reached the NCAA title game last season, losing to Duke.
Howard said of the Gators: "They are good inside and outside. They are real big inside, real physical.''
Jordan Taylor scored 22 for Wisconsin (25-9), which shot 30.4 percent (17-of-56).
Jon Leuer, one of the Badgers' top offensive forces with 18.7 points per game, scored three on 1-of-12 shooting.
"(Wisconsin) missed some shots they normally make,'' Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "We're happy to be playing Saturday with a chance to get to another Final Four. We have to start getting ready for Florida.''
Before the game, Stevens addressed talk about why he is not leaping to a higher-profile, higher-paying program.
"I appreciate the compliment, and I appreciate you saying I'm crazy for staying," Stevens said. "One of the things in all the job talk is, it's all speculation. It's not like my cellphone is blowing up.
"And it's not like I'm a guy that thinks the grass is greener somewhere else just because everybody says it's supposed to be. I think that we are very fortunate to have really green grass in Indianapolis and at Butler."