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Friday, March 26, 2010
Butler's power source? Howard's upper lip

By Mark Schlabach

SALT LAKE CITY -- Forward Matt Howard is one of Butler's most seasoned players, so perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that he was the only Bulldog capable of growing a wispy mustache before the NCAA tournament.

Howard

Howard

During the No. 5-seeded Bulldogs' road trip to Valparaiso on Feb. 26, they decided mustaches would be their lucky charms heading into March Madness.

Howard's mustache even has its own Facebook page.

"I didn't know that," Howard said Friday.

Howard's thin mustache resembles the blond patch of hair Larry Bird wore on his upper lip when he led Indiana State to the 1979 NCAA tournament finals. Howard's is even a little thinner, and from a distance it's hard to decipher whether it's actually a mustache or the remnants of a vanilla milk shake.

Don't expect Howard to be shaving his upper lip anytime soon. The Bulldogs have the country's longest winning streak at 23 consecutive games. They play No. 2-seeded Kansas State in the West Regional finals at EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday, with a trip to next week's Final Four in Indianapolis on the line.

Howard's ability to handle Kansas State forwards Curtis Kelly, Jamar Samuels and Dominique Sutton will be one of the keys in the game.

"The mustache is awesome," Butler guard Ronald Nored said. "I love it. A lot of guys, I can't remember where we were, but we all decided that maybe we were going to try to grow moustaches. Some guys shaved them. I had a little one going. I can't grow a big one, as big a one as Matt. But I shaved it."