More Than "Just Balls": The Legend of the Ralph Marlin Tie--MICentralSports.com
I also wore it to Hinkle Fieldhouse for the Southern Illinois-Butler BracketBuster (longtime friend of the site Brandon Loy has photographic proof). By March, there was plenty of power in the tie, and it helped propel Southern Illinois through the Columbus pod, as the Salukis destroyed Virginia Tech by 15 to make the Sweet 16.
I was very careful with the tie this season, not using it for any regular-season mid-on-major matchups. I only wore it on high-profile mid-versus-mid occasions, like the SIU-Butler rematch and the Davidson-Winthrop Buster game. I stormed three floors with it on, as the excitement of UMBC, Siena and Temple fans rubbed off on the tie.
But last weekend in Birmingham, for whatever reason, I decided not to wear the tie. Or maybe I simply forgot to. As Butler fell away in overtime of the Round of 32 to the streetball All-Stars of Tennessee, just four feet from the edge of the court, I looked down at my standard red and silver noose and cursed myself for what I didn't do. In such a close loss, the "Just Balls" tie could have given the Bulldogs the little bit extra they needed to get over the top. It was the one time that I messed up, and I apologize to every Butler fan everywhere.
Blog on spring break--Indy Star Butler Insider