Butler is bearing a resemblance to great teams
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS – Where have we seen this before? The Butler Bulldogs confounding logic, confounding sense, confounding an opponent that leaves wondering what just happened.
Mark this down for March. They’re at it again, in all their pluck and mystery. Gonzaga was the victim this time, beaten at the gun for no fathomable reason Saturday night, but since when has Butler ever let reason get in the way?
It looked like 2010. It felt like 2011. You remember what happened with Butler in 2010 and ’11. Nobody stopped the Bulldogs until the national championship game.
Asked Saturday night about comparisons, Butler coach Brad Stevens said, “I’ll wait two months to tell you. They did it all the way through. Sometimes it wasn’t perfect, but those guys stayed the course, whether things were going well, or going bad, and that’s our challenge.
“Teams that can do that for five months are special.”
Saturday night certainly looked special. Hinkle Fieldhouse has been around for 85 years, and this was the first time Butler had played a home game with two top-15 teams. The Bulldogs pulled out a buzzer-beater for the occasion – a Roosevelt Jones floater to win 64-63 — and haven’t lost since you were getting the house ready for Thanksgiving company. Thirteen wins in a row.
Hard to think this wasn’t a big fat hint for the future.
“Certainly this was a special moment in January,” Stevens said. Emphasis on the month. “But we’ve been lucky to live some just as special moments in March, and even early April.”
Yeah, we remember. But these Bulldogs have certainly started to look the part.
Leading scorer Rotnei Clarke, injured and in street clothes against the No. 8 team in the country? No problem.
The free throw percentage that looks like they were standing at the line shooting up bowling balls – missing 11 times? Not an issue.
Gonzaga with the ball with 3.5 seconds left AND a 63-62 lead? Piece of cake.