Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Breaking Down Butler

This post was given to me by one of the MTAC correspondence who attended the Butler/Ohio State game this weekend. He came away extremely impressed with Butler's game and program as a whole. This is a good read for any college hoops junkie.

I moved to Indianapolis last July, and during my first sports winter, not only did the hometown Colts win the Super Bowl, but the Butler Bulldogs had their best year in its century-old school history. They won the presesaon NIT over Thanksgiving, beat three in-state rivals (Notre Dame, Indiana and Purdue) and had 29 regular season wins overall before bowing out in the NCAA Sweet 16 after beating "powerful" (and often overrated) Maryland in the second round.

This season, under new head coach, Brad Stevens---who is 31 but looks about 21---the Dawgs off to another stellar start at 7-0, having won another Thanksgiving tournament (Great Alaska Shootout, where they beat three teams from major conferences and hit a record 47 three pointers in three nights), and establishing a Top 15 ranking after smashing Ohio State this past Saturday night at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse before a raucous sell out crowd of over 10,000, in the 80 year-old gym where the final scenes of "Hoosiers" were once filmed.

In case you did not read the recap or see the game on ESPNU, Butler was atrocious in the first half, missing their first 15 three balls, though capping it off nicely with a desparation, fade away threeball from the corner by stereotypical small town fundamental Indiana baller, AJ Graves.

Momentum gained or not, Butler came out and absolutely destroyed the Buckeyes in the second half. OSU had 16 points in the entire second half, and if memory serves, roughly 21 points over the final 30 minutes of the game. While freshman star Kostas Koufus was strong, he faded in the second half (as did most Buckeyes); and the other frosh, Mr. Ohio basketball, Jon Diebler, was a disaster, being juked and having the ball stolen from him at will all night by Graves, Mike Green and Butler's ballhawking defense that seldom allows a team to score over 50 points. This comeback (45-16 in the second half) was also mostly completed without Butler's star three point shooter Pete Campbell, who left with a leg injury early in the second half. Pete, a transfer from IPFW last year, set a school record for three point percentage last year, and has 28 in five and a half games this season (17 in the three in Anchorage).

Butler, as you might understand, plays basketball the way it should be. The same folks who hate the NBA and Pacers thug ball here in Indy, love the Bulldogs. The same thugs who love the NBA and apologize for college football's sham of a BCS system, don't attend Butler games.

Butler does not play many non-conference home games this season, and actually opens conference play later this week at Detroit and defending co-champ Wright State. The Bulldogs do tangle with Missouri Valley foes Bradley and Southern Illinois later in December and have a bracket buster game, likely at home, in late February against a top team, though. All things considered, the Butler Bulldogs have a good chance to post a large win total again in '07-'08

The Butler Way - Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports

The Butler Men - Seth Davis, si.com

Posted by: Ari

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