Butler good enough for NCAAs
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY Sports
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Butler Way is back in NCAA Tournament business. That’s Marquette’s problem now.
We’ve seen how the Butler Way works. Play physical. Defend like you’re trying to stave off a mad dog. Don’t worry about the lousy shooting percentage. Never apologize for it being ugly. And move on.
The obvious question to Brad Stevens after his team pushed past Bucknell 68-56, and now seeks to make more trouble in a Marquette rematch: Any similarities between this bunch and his Final Four Bulldogs?
“The similarity,” he answered, “is they’re Butler.”
So never mind the 36.4 shooting percentage or how they clanged their first 13 three-point attempts, or how Bucknell had them groggy with a 19-2 run in the second half, or how they led by a touchdown after an unsightly first half, 21-14.
“It may not have been aesthetic the entire game,” Stevens said.
But Butler has a different way of defining beauty, and everyone should remember that from two years ago.
Beauty is Alex Barlow, a walk-on to start the season, getting four steals, picking off a couple of passes and saying later it was just like playing cornerback for his high school football team back in Ohio. Being a defensive pain-in-the-Bucknell trumps the fact he might have trouble scoring in an intramural game. Not every program would value someone such as Barlow.
“That was one of the things I looked at when I went to Butler,” he said in the locker room afterward. “They had players like me.”
Play him? Stevens started him, noting that Barlow “was dialed into a different level than pretty much any other guy we had on our team the last couple of days with his study.”
Beauty is Andrew Smith and friends crashing in on Bucknell star Mike Muscala and making life miserable, to the tune of 4-or-17 shooting.
Beauty is ignoring that 19-2 blitz … [For more on A game, B game, Butler's game is good enough for NCAAs, click here.]