Blog Entry

Butler 10-1 for second consecutive season

Posted on: December 23, 2008 11:25 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2008 11:43 pm

You know what's tougher than beating Xavier in Cincinnati?

Getting out of Cincinnati after beating Xavier.

"I'm just trying to navigate through this weather," Butler coach Brad Stevens said by phone, from the cold and rainy streets of Cincinnati, after his Bulldogs beat 14th-ranked Xavier 74-65 on Tuesday night. "It's nasty up here."

Portland State's win at No. 7 Gonzaga took a little of the spotlight off Butler, but the reality is this: The Bulldogs are now 10-1 with the lone loss coming at 15th-ranked Ohio State, and because they don't play again until Dec. 30 they will almost certainly be ranked in next Monday's AP poll, which will be quite an accomplishment for a team that lost five of the top seven scorers from a 30-win team and was picked fifth in the Horizon League.

Did you get that?

This team was picked fifth in the Horizon League.

But the Bulldogs got a win over Horizon favorite Cleveland State in early December, and now they have this signature non-league victory to go with it. So the obvious question for Stevens late Tuesday was how? How is this second-year coach off to another 10-1 start despite a totally different roster?

"It's not me," Stevens said, but I'm not sure I believe him, because I watch a lot of college basketball and tear through tons of rosters, and I know what usually happens when a 30-win team loses five of its top seven scorers. Rather, I know what doesn't usually happen, and what doesn't usually happen are 10-1 starts featuring road wins over top 15 teams, and if you don't believe me call Bill Self, John Calipari or Ben Howland and ask them if they'd take 10-1 with a road win over a top 15 opponent.

Betcha they'd all say yes. So that should prove that what Stevens is doing is both unique and impressive, and that he's doing it while starting three freshmen around a better-than-the-nation-realizes sophomore named Matt Howard borders on unbelievable.

"We've got good, mature guys, even though they're young," Stevens said. "Even the young guys who have never been here before always prioritize team above self, and that's given us a chance to start off well."

No argument here.

But take some credit yourself, Brad.

Because back-to-back 10-1 starts with totally different rosters is not something anybody could do.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2008 10:59 pm


Over the past 3 college basketball seasons I have noticed that when a team such as Butler is ranked #2 in RPI after 11 games and has the #5 SOS in the country, many writers and fans of the BCS conferences discredit Butler's RPI and SOS rankings.  Then, at the end of the season, we will probably find Butler in the Top 30-40 in RPI and come selection Sunday, Butler finds their seed way down low. 

I say this because it seems that when Mid-Major teams perform well and have a high RPI, many discredit the team and continue to overlook the mid-majors and attack the RPI when the previous season they were touting their BCS conference team for a great PRI rankings.

The BCS teams should not be using the RPI and other rankings only when it is convienent to their cause.  If we are going to talk RPI, be consistent!

Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: December 24, 2008 10:38 pm

Butler 10-1 for second consecutive season

Very nice article GP.  It seems that weather they start with returning back court or a entire new team, the Bulldogs have to hit the refresh button re: recognition, but that is ok.  Fun team to watch and no honest Bulldog fan would say they expected this start.  I like your props to Matt Howard, soon people will be talking about Hayward and Mack as well.

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: December 24, 2008 3:53 pm

Butler 10-1 for second consecutive season

Very good article Gary. Thank You.  Have a Merry Christmas!  Thanks for the article. PC

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: December 24, 2008 12:08 pm

Butler 10-1 for second consecutive season

Thanks for the write up Gary.

I hope you will be able to make it up to Hinkle Fieldhouse again this season.  UAB would be a great game to make a visit to Indianapolis.  Mike Davis returns to Indiana with Robert Vaden and company. 

Butler is really playing well for a young, inexperienced team, but Coach Brad Stevens has the guys believing in the system.  The freshman continue to say the right things off the court and continue to produce on the court.  Look for Butler to continue their tough play.

Since: Dec 24, 2008
Posted on: December 24, 2008 11:01 am

Butler 10-1 for second consecutive season

I also saw Matt at Connersville, including attending high school with him.  I am very proud of what the program has done, and the leader Matt has obviously become.  I'm really excited to see them this year, and I hope Matt can finally get the attention he deserves on the national stage.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 24, 2008 10:41 am

The Butler Way

I know a lot has been said about the Bulter Way over the years, but they know who and what they need to recruit and they get it. They have an abundance of the type of players Butler needs right in their own back yard. Throw in a couple of excellent athletes and you get what you have now. While Butler has been making some noise nationally for a few years now, with this group they could be lumped into the Gonzaga/Memphis catagory. They're already competing with IU and Purdue for recruits...dream big Butler fans.

Since: Dec 24, 2008
Posted on: December 24, 2008 6:30 am

Butler 10-1 for second consecutive season

We thought these kids would be good in a few years, i guess they just wanted to be good right away. So be it.  No complaints here.

Since: Aug 7, 2007
Posted on: December 24, 2008 2:38 am

Butler 10-1 for second consecutive season

     Glad to see Butler getting some love. No Butler doesn't play the national schedule of some teams, but they either beat their opponents or make them play high caliber basketball to win. I had the pleasure of watching Matt Howard play several years of high school ball for Connersville (IN). He worked well with the talent Butler hadlast year, and it is great to see this young team mesh together.

     Coach Stevens looks like one of the players. What a program Butler has turned into. They are fun to watch.

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