Wednesday, March 30, 2011

News On The Horizon 3/30/2011

VCU-Butler makes for a great story -- but not during the Final Four--Sports Illustrated
Butler still getting big bounce from 2010 NCAA run--Indianapolis Business Journal
How Butler gets it done in recruiting--ESPN
Butler finds help from 2 surprising
The Low Point--The Mid-Majority
NCAA Regional Diary From New Orleans--Rush The Court
NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.29.11--Rush The Court
The Week That Was: From Sixteen To Four--Rush The Court
So just how unlikely is this Final Four?--ESPN
Ten things to know about this Final Four--ESPN
Mid-major is a term that doesn't apply to Butler or basketball at all--Sporting News
Why reseeding before the Final Four would be a terrible idea--The Dagger
Butler lifts expectations in the Horizon--ESPN
Part II: Top 10 Unlikeliest Final Fours Since 1979--Lost Letterman
Matt Howard's value goes beyond the box score--Ballin' is a Habit
Final Four teams by the numbers--Eye On College Basketball
2011 Final Four Coverage: Butler Slowing Things Down--Mid-Major Madness
Utah Jazz notebook: Energized rookies likely to see more playing time--Deseret News

And there could be more bonuses ahead for Utah youngsters Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Jeremy Evans in the final week-and-a-half of the 2010-11 season.
Corbin didn't fully commit to a full-out youth movement, but he appreciated how Hayward, Favors and Evans – with C.J. Miles and Ronnie Price – helped the Jazz claw back into Monday's embarrassing defeat.
Asked if he envisions himself, Favors and Evans having larger roles in the future of the franchise, Hayward said he can only work on what he can control in the present.

"For me, I'm thinking about now, trying to win games. I'm not really thinking too off into the future," he said. "I'm thinking about tomorrow going into practice and getting better. That's all I can do right now."

Jazz rookies run with starters’ minutes--Salt Lake Tribune Lake Tribune

But after Utah scored an abysmal 30 points during the second half of a home loss Saturday to Dallas, the Jazz initially came out just as flat against Washington. Down 51-43 at halftime to the third-worst team in the NBA, Corbin suddenly decided to make the move that he had long resisted, hitting the rebuild button and putting rookies Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Evans and Derrick Favors on the court.

Bob's Blitz: It's a boring Final Four -- not!--The Indy Star
Marshall finds his way--The Indy Star
Butler's Stevens, VCU's Smart were small-town Division III players--The Indy Star
Dawgs and life lessons--Indy Star Butler Insider
Audio: Talking Butler on XL 950--Victory Firelight
Bulldogs silence doubters, advance to Final Four--Butler Collegian
Robot Rodeo: Ron 5 travels to Houston--Butler Collegian
Stevens sees glasses as secret weapon--Butler Collegian
Pep rally, fair and viewing party planned on campus--Butler Collegian

Waters Says He Has Not Talked to UD--Let's Go Vikes!

UIC Athletics Launches Flames Final Four Ticket

A thought on Loyola's coaching
Thumbs up, thumbs down--Loyola Phoenix

And this week's shout-out goes to Butler

Way to rep the Horizon League, guys. Brad Stevens and co. have once again shown it's possible for a Horizon League school to experience success at the national level, improbably reaching the Final Four for a second straight year. But they have me to thank. For the second straight year, I picked Butler to lose in the first round. Before you call me an idiot (which I might very well be), I will defend myself by saying it helped them in a reverse psychology sort of way.

2011 Final Four Preview--Loyola Phoenix

VU’s Wood to test NBA waters--The Post-Tribune
VU standout Wood to enter NBA Draft; still could return to Crusaders--The NWI Times

Tournament Tracker: March 30--Horizon League Network

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

News On The Horizon 3/29/2011

Even at 2 a.m., Butler receives a well-deserved hero’s welcome--The Dagger
Pack should court Stevens first--Charlotte News-Observer
Mid-Major Morning Mashups: Appreciating VCU And Butler For What They Are--Mid-Major Madness
Big Al fumes on Jazz’s bench--Salt Lake Tribune

Favors had his best game in a Utah uniform, scoring 11 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking three shots. Most importantly, he brought energy, along with Jeremy Evans and Gordon Hayward, that the first unit didn’t have in the first half.

Should Butler's Final Four Run Make Panthers' Loss Hurt Less?--SB Nation Pittsburgh
NCAA Tournament: Closure for the Butler/Pittsburgh and Texas/Arizona Officiating--SB Nation Philly
Howard, Butler just keep winning--ESPN
Butler fans empty store's shelves to get into the spirit--The Indy Star
Butler faithful scramble to land a ticket in Houston--The Indy Star
Kravitz: No doubt, this is a great way to determine a champion--The Indy Star
Who's this year's Butler?--The Indy Star
Ranking most amazing Final 4 runs--Indy Star Butler Insider
Recounting a few Florida moments in between--Victory Firelight
VCU enhances strengths for tourney run--Victory Firelight
VIDEO | Basketball team gets warm welcome at Hinkle--Butler Collegian

Jamie Samuelsen's blog: Butler vs. VCU doesn't fire me up--The Detroit Free Press
NCAA tournament: George Mason paved way for Butler, Virginia Commonwealth--The Detroit Free Press

Season Recap: UIC--The Inside Scoop

Benford to interview at

Bollant Named WBCA Region 6 Coach of the

Clark and Cartharn leaving men’s basketball program--The Guardian

Monday, March 28, 2011

News On The Horizon 3/28/2011

Unthinkable foursome heading to
Final Four Look Ahead: Could it get any crazier?--CBS Sports
Game 7-102: NCAA Southeast Region Final--The Mid-Majority
Don't Know Mind--The Mid-Majority
Final 4 Preview: Butler-VCU Ticket and TV Info, Tip Time, Analysis, Spread, and Prediction--Midwest Sports Fans
Butler Gets A Bigger Piece Of Winning Pie--Sports Biz
Connection between Final Four-bound Butler and the Michigan basketball program is
Circle of March XV--Rush The Court
RTC Final Four Snapshots: Butler Bulldogs--Rush The Court
NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.28.11--Rush The Court


* With two Final Four appearances already under his belt at the age of 34, Butler head coach Brad Stevens is moving up the coaching pantheon at a rapid pace. Considering the success of the past two seasons, we can assume that Stevens is just getting started.
* Butler forward Matt Howard takes a workmanlike approach to the game of basketball. This approach embodies Butler basketball, and he’s not through yet.
* The Bulldogs have experienced two close calls with injuries in their last two games. The anxiety that fills Butler fans’ hearts when someone comes up limp have been as heart-stopping as the Butler’s unexpected heroics.
* An interesting piece about whether Miami (FL) should go after Brad Stevens or Shaka Smart to be the Hurricanes’ head coach. This is interesting due to the fact that Frank Haith is still gainfully employed by the Hurricanes and was thought by many to have one year left to translate the Durand Scott/Malcolm Grant/Reggie Johnson trio into some postseason success.

Celebrate Good Times, Final Four Style--Rush The Court
Butler’s Blue II Cleared For Final Four--Lost Letterman
Are Websites More Important for Mid Majors?--Digital Hoops Blast
Brad Stevens Photo Makes Web Rounds--Lost Letterman
Second Weekend Recap--Ballin' is a Habit
Four teams, four cinderella stories--Ballin' is a Habit
Southeast wrap-up: The best and worst of 15 games--Eye On College Basketball
The 10 best games of the 2011 tourney -- so far--Eye On College Basketball
Mid-Major Morning Mashups: VCU And Butler Reach Historic Final Four Edition--Mid-Major Madness
Utah Jazz extra: Playoffs? Who needs the playoffs?--Deseret News

Five reasons why Jazz fans can enjoy the end of this season:

Young gun fun

Coach Tyrone Corbin says he won't throw in the towel on this year, so don't expect Gordon Hayward, Jeremy Evans and Derrick Favors to average 40 minutes anytime soon.

But their playing time has increased recently due to injuries, and the season's last 2-1/2 weeks could be prime time to allow them to develop even more when/if the Jazz are mathematically eliminated from postseason participation.

Favors gives fans exciting glimpses of potential greatness, but Hayward has especially played well in stretches lately. Of course the Butler product has. It is March.

Wizards work their magic in overtime against Utah Jazz--Deseret News

Utah's trio of rookies — Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans — combined for 17 fourth-quarter points to get the Jazz back in the game after they trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter.

But Hayward and Evans both made key turnovers in overtime for the Jazz.

Jefferson benched as Jazz fall to lowly Wizards 100-95--Salt Lake Tribune
NCAA Tournament Final Four: By Default, Syracuse Fans Rooting For VCU--Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician
Butler prepares for a familiar national role--The Detroit News
Cinderella officially departs the NCAA tourney--The Oakland Press
Attitude adjustment sets Butler on another magical Final Four ride--The Chicago Tribune
Final Four breakdown: Butler vs. VCU; Kentucky vs. UConn--The Chicago Tribune
It's a why-not-us Final Four--The Chicago Tribune
With all the upsets and emotions, March Madness keeps getting better--The Chicago Sun-Times
A Final Four gone conclusion--The Indy Star
Final Four tickets still available--The Indy Star
Butler players stepped up for 13-game winning streak--The Indy Star
NCAA Tournament Final Four preview live chat--The Indy Star
Ranking most amazing Final 4 runs--Indy Star Butler Insider
Cutting down the ‘Net: Who’s the bald guy?--Victory Firelight
Hopkins provided spark for late comeback--Butler Collegian
New Information For Student Final 4

Cleveland State's Norris Cole and Kent State's Justin Greene named All-American honorable mention--Cleveland Plain Dealer
PRESS RELEASE: Cole Earns Honorable Mention All-America Honors--Let's Go Vikes!
Cole Earns Honorable Mention All-America

Griner scores 40 as Baylor beats Green Bay
NCAA women's basketball: Baylor tops UWGB, 86-76--Green Bay Press Gazette
UWGB women's basketball coach Bollant on UW job: 'Right now my focus is our team'--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's basketball: UWGB welcomed home after losing to Baylor in Sweet 16--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's basketball: Record, national exposure expected to be boon for UWGB recruiting--Green Bay Press Gazette
Historic Green Bay Season Ends in Sweet
Postseason Props: Green Bay Senior Class Does Green Bay
Phoenix Greeted by Enthusiastic Fans as it Returns to Green

AL HAMNIK: Homer 'Drew' up this Butler Final Four scenario long ago--The NWI Times

Two guards leaving WSU--Dayton Daily News
Two players to leave Wright State men’s basketball team--Wright State University Sports

Fan Blog: Slocum Must Make the Most of Butler's Run to the Final Four--Let's Go Guins!

Green Bay's historic season ends in Sweet 16--Horizon League Network

Cole Earns Honorable Mention All-America Honors--Horizon League Network

Sunday, March 27, 2011

News On The Horizon 3/27/2011

Butler's Stevens is too smart to take the next best thing--
Fans throw another Final Four party for
Butler back in Final Four, beats Florida in
Bracket Breakdown: Critical Questions for the Elite Eight--Hoopville
RTC Live: Southeast & West Regional Finals--Rush The Court
NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.26.11--Rush The Court


* When Butler went through a swoon in January, head coach Brad Stevens called good friend Mark Few for advice to get his team through the tough time.
* This Indianapolis Star columnist is not attributing Butler’s run as “magic,” but merely as the best team winning. The Bulldogs need to be on their game if they want to beat Florida to advance to their second straight Final Four.
* Hailing from little Connersville, Indiana, Butler forward Matt Howard has been the heart and soul of the Bulldogs throughout this season. Howard has been so unselfish that point guard Ronald Nored has, at times, had to beg the big man to shoot more.

Florida was flawed all along--Ballin' is a Habit
You have to appreciate just how impressive Butler's last two touraments are--Ballin' is a Habit
Can we even comprehend what Butler's just done?--Eye On College Basketball
Final Four at Stake: Florida vs. Butler--The Big Lead
Brad Stevens to Billy Donovan After Butler’s Win: “You Outcoached Me”--The Big Lead
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight: Butler vs Florida An Advanced Look--Mid-Major Madness
Butler Returns To The Final Four--Mid-Major Madness
Mid-Major Morning Mashups: Butler Back To The Final Four Edition--Mid-Major Madness

Utah Jazz notebook: Gordon Hayward enjoying Butler's tourney run--Deseret News
Jazz notes: Hayward being more aggressive as season closes--Salt Lake Tribune
Jazz fall apart late, as Mavericks sweep season series--Salt Lake Tribune

The last time the Jazz were two games below .500 and falling apart, Deron Williams chucked a ball at Gordon Hayward and chewed him out on national television.

Kentucky Basketball: Can-Do 'Cats Survive and Advance ...--A Sea Of Blue

Even though I wrote this piece Thursday entitled "Can-Do 'Cats," reiterating not the shortcomings of Kentucky, but instead focusing on what the 'Cats can do, I still was not a true believer -- I got the idea for the post from Butler Bulldog head coach Brad Stevens, who, when asked during his mandatory media op, how is Butler, a so-called mid-major, able to consistently challenge the supposed big boys, answered in his best John Wayne deadpan (paraphrasing) -- We focus on what we can do, not on what we can't do, or can't control.

In spite of my misgivings, Stevens' words inspired me to write about the positives Kentucky brought to the floor in their match-up with OSU, such as, UK's ability to score from anywhere on the floor, take care of the basketball, play defense, and rebound. I also wrote about the 'Cats' team speed, as well as the unmatched improvement of Josh Harrellson, and the fact that I liked the point guard match-up of UK's Brandon Knight vs. OSU's Aaron Craft.

Florida Blows 11-Point Lead, Loses to Butler in OT--Team Speed Kills
The Butler defies conventional wisdom once again--Searching for Billy Edelin
"The Butler Did It...Again" Prime Offenders--Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician
2011 NCAA Elite 8: Back To Back! Butler Heading To Final Four Again, UConn Joins Them--SB Nation Indiana
TOURNEY WATCH: 3/27/2011 (NCAA Open Thread)--Bring On The Cats
Every Dog Had its Day--Basketball Prospectus
Butler knocks off Florida to advance to Final Four--The Chicago Tribune
Hopkins, Marshall come up big--The Indy Star
As expected, Howard comes up big again--The Indy Star
Bob Kravitz: It seems like a fairy tale, but it's real--The Indy Star
You can’t make this stuff up--Indy Star Butler Insider
Basking … Final Four style--Victory Firelight
FOLLOW THE GAME LIVE: Bulldogs vs. Gators--Butler Collegian
PHOTO GALLERY | Moment by moment of Butler vs. Florida--Butler Collegian
PHOTO GALLERY | Bulldogs celebrate Florida upset--Butler Collegian
[VIDEO] Students celebrate on Hampton Dr. after Elite 8 win against Florida--Butler Collegian
Butler men’s basketball upsets Florida; advances to Final Four--Butler Collegian
Final Four Gear Now

UWGB women's basketball notebook: Baylor isn't one-woman show--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's basketball: Slowing Baylor's Griner is tall order for UWGB--Green Bay Press Gazette
Green Bay Meets the Press, Practices for Sweet
Matt Bollant Previews Green Bay's Sweet 16
(5) Green Bay Ready to Face (1) Baylor in Tonight's Regional

More success for Butler=more money for Horizon League teams--Section EE

Butler Headed Back to Final Four After 74-71 Thriller--Horizon League Network

Follow the Phoenix through the Sweet 16--Horizon League Network

Saturday, March 26, 2011

News On The Horizon 3/26/2011

Florida avoids Cinderella comparison with
Butler's Brad Stevens continues coaching
Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 720--The Mid-Majority
NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.25.11--Rush The Court


* The craziness of March Madness has Butler in position to reach the Final Four again. It will not be easy though, as they will have to get through the Florida Gators.
* Butler’s strong defense threw Wisconsin off their game. If the Bulldogs defend that well against Florida, they will probably advance to next weekend in Houston.

NCAA Elite Eight Game Analysis – Saturday--Rush The Court
Circle of March XIV--Rush The Court
The Dagger lists the 21 best potential Final Four fields--The Dagger
Elite 8 Preview: No. 2 Florida vs. No. 8 Butler--Ballin' is a Habit
Here’s Gordon Hayward’s 2nd Best Rookie Highlight (Swatting a Chris Paul Layup Attempt)--The Big Lead
Butler keeps Wisconsin quiet for 35 minutes, wins 61-54--Butler keeps Wisconsin quiet for 35 minutes, wins 61-54--BT Powerhouse
Elite Eight: predictions and picks--Rumble In The Garden
TOURNEY WATCH: 3/26/2011--Bring On The Cats

As for those other four teams and Florida, I don't think any of them can beat KU because they all would have the Jayhawks' full and undivided attention.

No, I think our last, best hope lies in another killer B: The Butler Bulldogs. There's an outside chance that the Beakers might take the Boy Wonder and his Cinderella kids lightly, even in the Final Four, and Butler is equipped for the upset.

Daily list: How Butler has done it--The Detroit Free Press
Mascots keep crowds on their feet during the NCAA Tournament--The Indy Star
Butler on gettting back to Final Four: 'This is business'--The Indy Star
Butler mascot Blue II celebrates 7th birthday--The Indy Star
Donovan chases own success--The Indy Star
Butler mascot Blue II surrounded by well-wishers for 7th birthday bash--The Indy Star
Smith's ailing ankle gets the treatment--The Indy Star
Butler looks to avenge pair of losses to Florida--The Indy Star
Kravitz: Brad Stevens loves Butler, but can it last forever?--The Indy Star
Coaching colleagues on opposite sides--Indy Star Butler Insider
Cutting down the ‘Net: Quick links to positive press--Victory Firelight
Showdown with Florida more personal for Butler--Victory Firelight
Butler vs. Florida, by the numbers--Victory Firelight
Injury Report: Butler's Andrew Smith Probable for the Next Game--Butler Blue Fever
Hail to the King--Schultz's Shots
Elite 8 Preview: Butler v Florida Info, Analysis & Prediction--Midwest Sports Fans
Bulldogs take a break after Badgers battle--Butler Collegian
Sizing up the competition--Butler Collegian
Butler Faces Florida In The Elite

CSU-bound Grady does it all for Ironmen--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle
CSU Recruit Grady Leads CCC to Division III Championship Game Saturday--The Cauldron

Handful Of Former Ramblers Burning Up European

Green Bay preps for Baylor and shot-blocker
NCAA women's basketball notebook: UWGB's trip home was 'right decision'--Green Bay Press Gazette
Women's basketball: UWGB players stands tall among nation's elite--Green Bay Press Gazette
The Phoenix Has Landed in

YSU spurred KSU, Butler Elite 8 runs--Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle

Tournament Tracker: March 26--Horizon League Network

Friday, March 25, 2011

News On The Horizon 3/25/2011

Third annual All-Chicago College Basketball

Howard leads Butler over Wisconsin
Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 719--The Mid-Majority


[Comment From AaronAaron: ]
Is there anyway we can pass a law that says the media has to stop referring to Butler as a cinderella story? I mean, yes, this team did lose five games in the HL (including one to youngstown which I still cannot figure out), but if team brings back three starters from a national runner up finish isn't the cinderella label a bit ridiculous?
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:21 Aaron

In media terms, Butler is entering the same territory as Gonzaga did about a decade ago. There is no known template for a team like this... not even the Gonzaga model. Zag fans had to go through the Cinderella thing for about five years before the consensus was, "okay, this is something completely different and we have to adjust our vocabulary." Unfortunately, the descriptor they settled on for them ended up fueling countless pointless debates. (Hint: it starts with an M.) There is still no vocabulary word for "excelling with relatively meager resources," and maybe Butler will help people come up with one, finally.

[Comment From Tyler D (Indianapolis)Tyler D (Indianapolis): ]
I can explain all 5 of Butler's HL Losses. Howard got in foul trouble, we had injuries, or both. Neither has happened in the NCAA's yet. (and I hope it doesn't tonight either)
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:29 Tyler D (Indianapolis)

I agree, and I'd add inexperience, especially with the earlier losses. The Bulldogs had so many new pieces and 2010 role players fitting in 2011 starring roles that it really affected their depth. I think that's still a weakness, especially here in the deep end of the pool, but if Howard plays smart and keeps his ass off the bench, they will be in this at the end.

[Comment From chanford24chanford24: ]
Seemingly everyone is bracing for a nail-biter between Butler and Wisconsin tonight, but I have this nagging feeling that one team will execute brilliantly and the other will stumble. I have no idea which team will play which role. and I can't figure out whether this makes me excited or terrified. You gotta love March, don'
Thursday March 24, 2011 4:36 chanford24

I agree that it'll be close enough to come down to intangibles at the end. Butler has had so many intangibles going for them in the past week that it seems overwhelmingly unfair. I just hope that one team doesn't stumble (or the refs) and we get a classic finish.

Butler, The Way, and the Curse of Dick Bennett--The Mid-Majority
Bracket Breakdown: 16 Questions for the Sweet 16--Hoopville

(4) Wisconsin vs. (8) Butler, Thursday 9:57

Butler survived one of the craziest endings of an NCAA Tournament games in years to knock off a No. 1 seed from the Big East for the second consecutive season. Last year, that preceded a run to the Final Four. To repeat that feat, the Bulldogs will need more hot shooting.

In the win vs. Pittsburgh, Butler relied on the long ball, draining 12 three-pointers. Shelvin Mack had a dominating performance, hitting 7-of-12 from long range. Wisconsin happens to be one of the worst teams in the country at guarding perimeter shooters. Can Mack and Butler repeat that performance and drain 10 or more three-pointers?

Wisconsin faces a very similar team that plays at a slow pace and focuses on avoiding mistakes rather forcing the issue. Will coach Bo Ryan stick with the Badgers’ tried-and-true formula, or will the Badgers switch it up and attack a foul-prone Butler team to make the Bulldogs uncomfortable?

NCAA Sweet Sixteen Game Analysis – Thursday--Rush The Court

#4 Wisconsin vs. #8 Butler – Southeast Region Semifinals (at New Orleans, LA) – 9:57 pm ET on TBS.

Butler is back in the Sweet Sixteen and while we’re a bit surprised, we really shouldn’t be. The Bulldogs are just that, bulldogs. Butler bullied big bad Pittsburgh around last week and emerged victorious, despite the bizarre ending. They’ll have to be tough as nails against a Wisconsin team that survived a 2-16 shooting performance from Jordan Taylor to get by Kansas State and into the regional semifinals. The matchups in this game are fascinating, a purist’s dream. Both teams are comfortable at a slow pace and you can bet the farm that’s how this game will be played. Each team is patient on offense, protects the ball well and can make free throws in big spots (Wisconsin is #1 in the nation at 82.3%). To defeat these clubs, an opponent must defend well in the half court for the full 40 minutes, often until late in the shot clock. Both teams have holes defensively, Wisconsin against the three and Butler inside the arc, while the Badgers have an edge offensively. You’d think that would heavily favor Wisconsin. While that may be correct, Butler has the players to put the brakes on Bo Ryan’s efficient offensive unit. Butler has won 11 straight games dating back to a mystifying loss at Youngstown State on February 3. While their defense has improved, their efficiency numbers remain in the same ballpark. The real key has been slowing the pace and forcing turnovers, therefore maximizing their opportunities to score in low possession games. Brad Stevens’ bunch will be comfortable playing at Wisconsin’s pace but they can’t expect to turn Wisconsin over like they’ve been doing to other opponents recently. The Badgers are the best ball protection team in the land, turning the ball over on only 13.3% of their possessions. To beat Wisconsin you have to shut down their three-point attack (UW gets 36% of their points from beyond the arc) and prevent Taylor from setting up the offense. That’s very difficult to do against a point guard who doesn’t turn the ball over but it can be done. If there was one coach to come up with that plan and one player to execute it, Stevens and Ronald Nored are those guys. Nored is Butler’s defensive specialist and will be the key to Butler’s success in this game while Stevens is a master strategist. While he won’t turn Taylor over often, Nored can harass him and force the ball out of his hands. When Matt Howard hedges, Andrew Smith must protect the basket and prevent Jon Leuer from getting good position. When a Wisconsin shot goes up, look for Butler to send lots of guys, maybe all five, to the defensive glass to limit Wisconsin’s second chance opportunities. Offensively, Shelvin Mack will again be the key as he was against Pittsburgh. While Wisconsin is the slight favorite, Butler will advance if Mack can keep up his recent level of play. We think he will.

The RTC Certified Pick: Butler.

NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.24.11--Rush The Court


* Growing up in the shadow of Gene Keady and Bob Knight has not turned Butler head coach Brad Stevens into the same type of loose cannon as the two legendary coaches. Instead, Stevens is known for his calm, steady, and studious approach that he takes to coaching the game of basketball.

RTC Live: Regional Semifinals – Thursday--Rush The Court


John Stevens:
Here we go with game two, everyone. Ready to tip off with Butler vs Wisconsin.

John Stevens:
With 15:35 left in the first half in the matter of Butler vs Wisconsin, the Badgers have an early 5-3 lead. That's about the score you expect at the the first media time out between these two, though Butler wouldn't exactly mind a slight pace increase. Jon Leuer hit his first three attempt which usually bodes well for the rest of his night.

John Stevens:
And just that fast, we're at the under-12. Butler's up 11-10 and -- hold onto your hats, here -- Wisconsin has turned the ball over TWICE ALREADY. That'd be like saying Jared Sullinger picked up two quick fouls! OK, don't hate me OSU fans. Just a little ribbing. Butler's attack is mostly guard-oriented with Vanzant and Mack taking the majority of the shots so far.
Thursday March 24, 2011 10:32 John Stevens

John Stevens:
But whoever's going to guard Jordan Taylor is going to have to tighten up the ol' jockstrap and get ready for a battle, because Taylor looks like he wants to take over already and will do so if given the green light by his coach. He's so good at that stutter move that so often draws fouls from opponents.

John Stevens:
This thing is just flying by, but I think that's just an illusion since there are so few possessions compared to the last game. 25-18 Bulldogs with 6:05 to go. Wisconsin is in an interesting spot, here, because while they are glad to run every shot clock down to zero before shooting, I don't think Butler minds that at all. The Butler defense is the story, though, having already forced five turnovers out of the Badgers. In a game like this, a seven-point lead is really like a 12-point lead, but just because Wisconsin likes a slower pace doesn't mean they CAN'T score quickly if they want/need. Jordan Taylor was quick to point that out in a interview this week.

John Stevens:
With 3:27 left in the half, Butler still leads by 7, 29-22. Shot selection and defense -- anyone surprised -- are the story, and the Bulldogs have the advantage so far. I can't get over the number of turnovers they've coaxed out of UW (7!) to this point, because that's unheard of for them. By contrast, Butler has taken excellent care of the ball, having committed only two gaffes so far, and they've improved theur shot selection to get their percentage up to 50%, having taken the three only when it's open. UW has shot 19 shots, but ten of them have been three attempts. They've hit four threes and four twos.
Thursday March 24, 2011 10:54 John Stevens

John Stevens:
There's the half. Butler has the advantage at the break, 33-24. Something to watch in the second half: Matt Howard and Tim Jarmusz have a little something going. Howard crushed him on a screen at the end of the half and they talked a little afterward. But you've got to hand it to the Bulldogs. That was a textbook first half for them. they played tough defense, talked like crazy on that end, pressured the ball extremely well, especially when Taylor had it. They drew a few bad shots and an uncharacteristic number of turnovers out of the Badgers and you KNOW Bo Ryan's going to go nuts on that in the locker room discussion.
Thursday March 24, 2011 11:06 John Stevens

John Stevens:
The ball pressure on Jordan Taylor has really affected him, though, and it looks like Brad Stevens is going with a "cut the head, boy will follow" philosophy. Taylor has 6 points, but on 2-7 shooting and he hasn't hit a three. He's only dished ONE assist, as well. Most glaring stat column, though...Butler has seven steals. Wisconsin...ZERO.
Thursday March 24, 2011 11:08 John Stevens
John Stevens:
Oh God. Andrew Smith is down and he is HURTING, and it looked like his knee just buckled as he came down.
Thursday March 24, 2011 11:26 John Stevens
John Stevens:
The first media time out coems at a good time for Wisconsin, because Butler has continued their ball pressure of Jordan Taylor and it is REALLY starting to show on his face and in his play. The Bulldogs lead 38-24 with 15:36 left. Andrew Smith went down in a heap on the defensive side while fighting for a rebound, and he already wears a brace on the left knee. It looked like he was favoring the knee as he went off, but trainers are doing a HUGE re-tape job on his left ANKLE, so we'll see if he's going to try to go. The Butler defense has got the Badgers shooting a glacial 8-31 (25.8%). Stevens has coached a masterful game.

John Stevens:
The under-12 arrives with a Butler crowd that is making some SERIOUS noise here, and it is an EIGHTEEN POINT LEAD for the Bulldogs, 45-27. It's a cliche, but it is one because it's true...DEFENSE wins championships, or in this case, Sweet 16 games. Jordan Taylor has six points. Jon Leuer has three. A total NINE from those guys is awful, even by Wisconsin's slow-paced standards. That ability that the Badgers have to score quickly that Jordan Taylor mentioned and Bo Ryan backed him up on? Might want to unleash that....

John Stevens:
With 7:44 left, Butler still has a very studly 17-point margin, 49-32 over the Badgers. Jordan Taylor finally hit a three, but he took another one the next time down and missed badly. What also surprises me is that whatever Wisconsin fans are here are SILENT, and have offered NO RESPONSE to their team getting spanked here.

John Stevens:
What an efficient game from Matt Howard so far. 13 points on 4-6 shooting, nine boards. Compact, efficient, and leading vocally on both ends of the floor. He's been one of the loudest talkers on the defensive end for Butler.
Thursday March 24, 2011 11:57 John Stevens
Friday March 25, 2011

John Stevens:
I don't think this is the true under-4 MTO, but I'll update you here. Wisconsin has closed the gap a bit, but Butler still leads, 52-40. Butler's ball pressure on Taylor has slacked a bit and he's taken advantage, but time is running out on the Badgers. The press row is still abuzz with the Duke win, mostly out of amazement of the margin and the second half clinic that was evidently put on by the Wildcats.
Friday March 25, 2011 12:08 John Stevens

John Stevens:
There was even a small response from the Wisconsin red-clad fans when it got down to 12, but it was short lived.
Friday March 25, 2011 12:09 John Stevens

John Stevens:
This is official under-4, but no change. Butler still has possession. Strong work by Howard there. Shot that end-of-shot clock three, and got his OWN rebound. Tells you where Wisconsin's heads are at...
Friday March 25, 2011 12:12 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Down to nine....2:15 remaining. Butler's softened here in the last few minutes. Brad Stevens stares blankly at his team as they come off the court for the short time out.

John Stevens:
UH OH....SUDDENLY we have a game! A block at one end by Nankivil leads to Taylor finding himself open at the other end for a three. FOUR POINT GAME, and the Gus Johnson law has shown itself to be true once again. 53-49.
Friday March 25, 2011 12:18 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Another time out now, and Taylor just bombed ANOTHER three but Butler scored in between, so it's 56-52 Bulldogs when play starts again. Wisconsin's full-court defense shook Butler pretty badly and that helped fuel the comeback, but MAN, Shelvin Mack DRILLED a clutch fade-away 12 footer to put Butler up by seven before the Taylor three.
Friday March 25, 2011 12:22 John Stevens

John Stevens:
The Butler crowd has started to celebrate in earnest, now, and even though Brad Stevens might not be hitting Bourbon Street tonight, these Blue/Gray clad fans will be taking it over in FORCE. The subs are in for both sides to finish the last few seconds, and IT'S OVER.
Friday March 25, 2011 12:28 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Leaders? Legends? No, sir. Only Ohio State remains from the Big Ten, as the Bulldogs take this one 61-54. I'm headed back to the media room. Bear with me, because the wireless signal is pretty spotty from there.
Friday March 25, 2011 12:29 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Game time for Butler vs Florida on Saturday is 3:30 PM CENTRAL time, so obviously 4:30 PM ET.
Friday March 25, 2011 12:38 John Stevens

John Stevens:
This isn't a connection issue. I'm still here. Neither team has come out yet.
Friday March 25, 2011 12:47 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Still here. Can't imagine what the delay is. Actually, here comes Wisconsin...
Friday March 25, 2011 12:55 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Big compliment from Jordan Taylor: "Butler is scrappy. They're relentless. They're tough kids and that's what makes them winners."
Friday March 25, 2011 1:00 John Stevens

John Stevens:
The Wisconsin kids are totally crestfallen. Obviously have been crying. The look on Jon Leuer's face is heartbreaking.
Friday March 25, 2011 1:01 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Bo Ryan is a little truculent, folks. He's taking on reporters a little, he's getting these little digs in about whether the askers of questions have seen his team play this year.
Friday March 25, 2011 1:05 John Stevens

John Stevens:
WOW, Bo Ryan throws Leuer under the bus a little: "Leuer had SO many open threes. I mean, he hit his first one and then, whew...maybe they needed to guard him a little more closely? But he had it in the post, too, and he couldn't score there either."
Friday March 25, 2011 1:07 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Howard demures as far as rating his own level of play, asked of him by a writer. Brad Stevens just smiles.
Friday March 25, 2011 1:14 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Howard: [To shut down players like Leuer, Taylor] " takes a team awareness. It wasn't something one or two people did. Them starting out 3-11 was something we did collectively."
Friday March 25, 2011 1:16 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Stevens: "Matt Howard sets a tone of unselfishness in everything he does, both on the court and in the community. He's all real. Nothing is fake."
Friday March 25, 2011 1:21 John Stevens

John Stevens:
Stevens said that when Mike Miller hit the shot in the NCAA to beat butler 11 years ago, he was driving to Buffalo NY to watch a friend play against Indiana. He didn't know that coaching was necessarily on his radar.

Ranking the Sweet 16 games--Ballin' is a Habit

5. No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Butler: The make up of these two teams is incredibly similar. Two talented, scoring point guards in Jordan Taylor and Shelvin Mack. Two versatile, senior power forwards in Jon Leuer and Matt Howard. Slow paced games, efficient offenses, not-quite-so-efficient defenses.

Butler no longer the belle of the ball, the Bulldogs belong--Ballin' is a Habit
March Madness: Southeast and West Regional Semifinals--The Big Lead

SOUTHEAST REGIONAL- #4 Wisconsin vs. #8 Butler (TBS, 9:57)

It’s hard to go against Butler. First, they have Matt Howard, who reminds of that guy that you play in pickup basketball at the gym who wears the knee brace, sweats all over you, tugs at you just enough to annoy you but not enough to cause you to call fouls, and beats you up with post moves. Shelvin Mack, coming off his monster game that was the key to Butler getting a lead, goes against Jordan Taylor, looking for a better performance coming off the Kansas State win.

Then there’s Brad Stevens, who uses Ken Pomeroy’s rankings as part of his scouting to break down what opponents do. I’m just not sure if the cold, hard numbers at Pomeroy’s site can quantify how to stop the awesomeness of Mike Bruesewitz’ hair.

The Pick: Wisconsin, because at this point, Butler has already ruined my bracket. May as well pick against them and continue their run.

Butler Pre-Game: B5Q Grills Mid-Major Madness--Bucky's 5th Quarter
Mid-Major Morning Mashups: So Long Jimmer, So Long Aztecs, Hello Butler Edition--Mid-Major Madness
NCAA Tournament Day Five Open Thread - Picking the Sweet Sixteen Winners--South Orange Juice

#8 Butler vs. #4 Wisconsin - 9:57PM, TBS
Southeast Region - New Orleans
The Favorite: Wisconsin (-4.5)

This is my toughest call of the night. I can't put a finger on this game, just can't do it. Remember that disclaimer where I told you these picks were for entertainment purposes only? Yep. This game is why. I think Wisconsin will win, but the Bulldogs were on this stage last year, they're got the "nobody respects us after a national title appearance" card and Brad Stevens is a boss. And since I've rolled the dice with three Vegas underdogs already, let's go for the clean sweep. Baseball season is a week away, can I bat a thousand? It'd actually be batting one. But that doesn't sound cool. Enjoy the games, stop in and laugh at my picks and do me a favor. Don't gamble your mortgage on these picks. Don't even put your Pirate Bucks on them. Of course, if I win, it's, "told ya so" time.

Prediction: Butler (+4.5)

Brad Stevens Is Going To Get A Ton Of Money From Someone--Crimson And Cream Machine
Florida Makes Sure Overtime is not Jimmertime while Butler Stomps into the Elite Eight--Searching for Billy Edelin
Overachieving season ends as Badgers fall to Butler in Sweet 16--Bucky's 5th Quarter
You've been served: Butler knocks out Wisconsin--Bucky's 5th Quarter
2011 NCAA Tournament: Butler One Step Away From Another Final Four With 61-54 Win Over Wisconsin--SB Nation Indiana
Butler Relies on Defense to Stymie Wisconsin--New York Times
A year later, Butler one up on Duke--College Basketball Nation Blog
Butler's Matt Howard has perfected his endgame--The Indy Star
Butler beats Wisconson 61-54, advances to Elite Eight--The Indy Star
Today's party for Butler mascot to double as rally--The Indy Star
Notebook: Stevens not afraid to juggle Butler lineup--The Indy Star
Butler lets big lead get away but still stops Wisconsin--The Indy Star
Kravitz: It's not magic, just the best team winning--The Indy Star
An elite program? Elite Eight (again)--Indy Star Butler Insider
Butler wins, goes to second straight Elite Eight--Victory Firelight
FOLLOW THE GAME LIVE: Bulldogs vs. Badgers--Butler Collegian
Sizing up the competition--Butler Collegian
Butler advances to Elite 8 after 61-54 win against Wisconsin--Butler Collegian
PHOTO GALLERY | Dawgs crush Badgers in Sweet 16 upset--Butler Collegian
Bulldogs Win, Move To Elite

Cleveland State's star Norris Cole looks to NBA after stellar men's basketball season--Cleveland Plain Dealer

Women's Basketball to Host Two Summer

Women's Basketball Holds End Of The Year

McCallum Named to Freshmen All-America

VIDEO: A Look Live Scouting Report of

Last year's Jr. All-Stars still make grade--The Indy Star

Butler Back to Elite Eight After 61-54 Victory Over Wisconsin--Horizon League Network
Tournament Tracker: March 25--Horizon League Network
Butler Shoots for Return Engagement to Final Four--Horizon League Network

Thursday, March 24, 2011

News On The Horizon 3/24/2011

Where do we go from here?

Power Rankings: The Sweet Sixteen--Sports Illustrated

11. BUTLER (Southeast No. 8 )

Faces No. 4 Wisconsin on Thursday in New Orleans

Josh Levin’s deconstruction of the end of the Butler-Pitt game on was one of the better pieces of the tourney’s first week, in part due to its section about Shelvin Mack’s attempt to psych out Gilbert Brown during the clock review that preceded his final two free throws. The Bulldogs have a choir-boyish image nationally, but Mack has acquired a swagger and is known within the Horizon League for his chatter. Here, he was hoping to be a distraction:

With Brown having to wait around, Butler turns to psychological warfare. “We were just trying to psych him out,” Smith explains. “We were just standing there looking at him.” In the lane, two feet in front of Brown’s face, Mack tries to make conversation. “I just asked him where he was from,” Mack says, to laughter in the press room. “I told him I was from Lexington. I have a 3.0 [grade point average]. Stuff like that.”

The other part I loved was how Stevens wouldn’t reveal the details of the inbounds play he drew up in the event Brown hit the second free throw. As Levin wrote:

1.4 seconds to go, score tied 70-70: Butler now has to prepare for the worst: a potential one-point deficit, no timeouts, length of the floor to go. “Coach drew up a play, and so in my mind, I’m just telling myself, ‘This is gonna work, this is gonna work. Even if he makes two, this is gonna work. It’ll be fine,’ ” Howard remembers.

But the Bulldogs’ plan is sketchy. “We were just going to have to throw it deep,” Stevens recalls, “cut guys different ways and choose one.”

There’s a reason Stevens didn’t go into detail: He wants to use that play again — and there’s no sense in talking about something that opponents don’t yet have on film. All they know now is that reserve Erik Fromm is the intended inbounder. The rest is still a secret.

Utah Jazz notebook: Gordon Hayward has a rough birthday--Deseret News
Badgers, Bulldogs rise to the occasion--Bucky's 5th Quarter
Badgers' Ryan wouldn't want to play any other way--The Indy Star
Notebook: Don't fear Butler's fashion sense--The Indy Star
No one dares to overlook Butler Bulldogs this year--The Indy Star
Bucking the Badgers--Indy Star Butler Insider
Countdown to Butler vs. Bucky--Victory Firelight
On this day 8 years ago - Mar 23, 2003--Butler Blue Fever
Bucky is back in the dancing business--UWGB Fourth Estate
PHOTO GALLERY | Bulldogs practice before tonight’s game--Butler Collegian
Newsday: Butler still on script--Butler Collegian
Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: Stevens motivates without the drama--Butler Collegian
Wisconsin State Journal: Taylor is among nation’s elite, Butler’s coach says--Butler Collegian

Akron, Kent State, Cleveland State likely to contend for titles next season: Local Men's College Basketball--Cleveland Plain Dealer

Detroit-Mercy coach Ray McCallum riding high with NCAA Tournament picks--The Detroit News

Loyola basketball coach rumor mill--Loyola Phoenix

Determined UW-Green Bay women break through to next level--Green Bay Press Gazette
Phoenix women’s basketball earns 10th league title--UWGB Fourth Estate
Green Bay in the Big Dance: An Early Look at
oewisch WBCA All-America Team

In The News And On The Air--Panther Blog Zone
Jeter A Finalist For Three National Coaching

Lazerus: Should Valpo’s Wood stay or go?--The Post-Tribune
Drew Named NABC District 12 Co-Coach of the

Former WSU basketball coach has new team on verge of state title--Dayton Daily News

Tournament Tracker: March 24--Horizon League Network
Jeter a Finalist for Three Coaching Awards--Horizon League Network
Drew, Waters Share NABC District 12 Coach of Year Honors--Horizon League Network
Howard and Behn earn scholar-athlete of the month honors--Horizon League Network

Hoewisch finalist for NCAA All-America Basketball Team--Horizon League Network