Butler big man Matt Howard, who missed much of the second half of the Bulldogs' NCAA semifinal win over Michigan State Saturday night with what later was described as a "mild concussion," is ready to go against Duke tonight for the national title.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Howard left the court at Lucas Oil Stadium moments ago after warming up with his teammates, and his name is listed in the starting lineup that was just passed out a few minutes ago. Guard Shelvin Mack, who suffered from dehydration during that game because of a bout of food poisoning, also is starting and should be ready to go the distance tonight.

Butler coach Brad Stevens said the team would monitor Howard during the game, and if he shows any symptoms of a head injury, he will be pulled from the lineup.