5. Valparaiso Crusaders
Record since 2000: 223-161
NCAA Appearances since 2000: 3
Unlike Indiana State, the Crusaders haven't won a tournament game since Bryce Drew's magical run in 1998. They have a better overall record though, despite not making the dance in seven years. This year's Horizon League Player of the Year Brandon Wood had them on the cusp of the tournament. They were a top 50 RPI team after beating Missouri State in the BracketBusters event and in the discussion for an at learge bid, but they dropped consecutive games to Wisconsin Green bay and Loyola-IL, costing them the Horizon League regular season title.
This was a tournament-worthy team until late February. They played Purdue and Kansas in the non-conference, and they own a win over Butler. Much of their progress depends on Wood's decision regarding the NBA Draft. He has declared himself eligible, but has not hired an agent, so he could return. Valpo has a better shot of making the tournament as an at large team in the Horizon League after leaving the now Summit League, but they have yet to break through. Next year could be the year if Wood returns, but Butler will always be in the way in the Horizon League.
1. Butler Bulldogs
Record since 2000: 272-85
NCAA Appearances Since 2000: 8
NCAA Wins Since 2000: 16
Sweet 16's Since 2000: 4
Final Fours Since 2000: 2
Butler is the new king of college basketball in Indiana, and it really isn't even that close. The Bulldogs have had more success than everyone but Indiana and Purdue even if you take away these two great runs the past two seasons. They lose coaches to bigger schools (Thad Matta, Todd Lickliter, Barry Collier) and only reload. They have the best young coach in America and maybe the best coach in America period. They don't recruit big names, but they recruit guys that buy into "The Butler Way" so much that the final product is better than the parts.
Many people forget that Butler was an NCAA snub despite winning 25 games in 2002. That year they beat Indiana State, Purdue (in Mackey Arena), Evansville, and a ranked Ball State team, but they got upset in the Horizon League Tournament and were snubbed on selection Sunday. Otherwise, they would have a ninth appearance and maybe another Sweet 16.
Butler has failed to record 20 wins only twice this century, going 16-14 in 2004 and 13-15 the following year. Like Purdue, they are on a streak of five straight NCAA appearances, and could be hours away from a National Championship.
Rick Pitino seriously considered retirement--College Basketball Nation Blog
Pitino, 58, added he was committed to coaching for at least the next few years and has a successor in mind he would recommend to athletic director Tom Jurich. The coach he likes to replace him isn't 28-year-old son Richard Pitino, who could soon join the program as associate head coach, but rather Butler's Brad Stevens.
"I think I can do it for anywhere from three to five more years. I don't know who the successor would be. My first guy on the list I would recommend three to five years from now is the coach at Butler. He would be the type of person that I would recommend. It's that type of person I think would be great at the University of Louisville. I'm sure there are other guys out there like him that will develop that we'll move on."
Old coaching assumptions are fading--ESPN
Butler Will Be Back--The Hoya
Globetrotters’ Basketball Soul Outshines Rash of Rough News--Hoopville
1. Although Phil Jackson seems pretty convinced that there won’t be a next season for the NBA next season, several college players are gambling that they’ll still be making NBA money within a few months. Here are a few of the players who announced during the past few days that they’ll be entering the NBA Draft.
* Arizona’s Derrick Williams, with agent
* Butler’s Shelvin Mack, no agent
* Connecticut’s Kemba Walker, with agent
* Florida State’s Chris Singleton, with agent
* Kansas’ Josh Selby, with agent
* San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard, with agent
* UCLA’s Malcolm Lee, with agent
Utah Jazz reflect on strange season--Deseret News
Rookies Gordon Hayward, who ended the season with a career-high 34 points, Favors and Jeremy Evans showed enough oomph and talent to get fans and the team giddy about their future.
The Jazz also have player personnel decisions to make to fill the roster, which currently includes eight players under contract. Barring trades, Bell, Evans, Favors, Harris, Hayward, Jefferson, Millsap and Okur will be back whenever the 2011-12 season begins.
Utah Jazz players' summer plans--Deseret News
Position: Small forward
Stats: 5.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Summer plans: Will go back to Indianapolis to work out at St. Vincent's where he worked out before last year's NBA Draft.
Contract situation: One more guaranteed year on rookie contract worth $2.4 million per year.
Quote: "I proved to myself I belong in the league; it was a real confidence-booster. Not making the playoffs and watching them will definitely keep me motivated and try to be a better player."
Utah Jazz rookies looking to work on games during offseason--Deseret News
Monson: Jazz go through depths of hell to reach heavenly limits--Salt Lake Tribune
Jazz left to decide which direction it will take — and who will take it--Salt Lake Tribune
Kentucky, UNC Top Our NCAA Basketball Rankings For Next Season--SB Nation
On the Outside Looking In
... you may have heard of this Butler team, one that should be good even without Matt Howard.
Dawg recruiting update--The Indy Star
Dunk master Doug Anderson headed to Detroit Mercy--The Detroit News
Iowa point guard transfers to Loyola--The Chicago Tribune
Cully Payne Transfers To Loyola--LoyolaRamblers.com
Virginia adds three games against Tony Bennett's alma mater, Wisconsin-Green Bay--Streaking The Lawn
Men's basketball: UW-Green Bay to play Virginia, face former star Tony Bennett--Green Bay Press Gazette
Wardle Reflects on His First Year at the Helm--uwgbathletics.com
Horizon League coach to Miami?--Eye On College Basketball
Off-Season Workouts Have Panthers Turning Focus To 2011-12 Campaign--uwmpanthers.com
Hawkins takes over at IUN--The Post-Tribune