Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

The Lessons Learned from Butler’s March Madness Experiences

By Matt Noonan

It wasn’t meant to be, let’s leave it like that. Butler University is not a school of champions, but instead, a college that defines the true meaning of the “student athlete.”

One would certainly not rank the Bulldogs as a school that is equal to Texas, LSU, University of North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan, Duke, Florida or Alabama, but instead, they are the Division I equivalent to an Amherst College or Williams College, (Yes, I just compared Butler to two well-recognized New England institutions).

The college alone has watched their 19 intercollegiate teams earn 26 conference titles over the years, as well as witnessed their men’s and women’s basketball, soccer and volleyball teams compete in the NCAA tournament.

Yet, while they may not be known for their championships or banners that hang in their athletic department’s gymnasium, instead, they are and will always be recognized as the true underdog.

You have to wonder what the term “underdog” means to head coach Brad Stevens, who has led his young team of rag tag college students to the past two NCAA Division I men’s basketball finals, which resulted in two back-to-back loses. Stevens has watched Gordon Hayward’s desperation three bounce off the front rim against Duke, as well as endured a heartbreaking loss to Jim Calhoun’s UConn Huskies on Monday.

Although, is “heartbreaking” the right word to describe one of the sloppiest college basketball games ever? Probably not, but hey, I tried.

The Bulldogs game plan against the Huskies was dreadful, as they decided to forgo shots in the paint and only converted 12 of their 64 shots. They even finished the game, [9-33] from beyond the arc, which is something no coach would be pleased about, especially after that particular contest.

Let’s face it, that particular championship was ugly and downright boring. Did anyone truly stay awake to see if Butler could pull off the upset? I know I did, but again, who agrees that it was truly painful to watch?

The Bulldogs are indeed underdogs because no one expects them to succeed, but going toe-to-toe with two of the top basketball schools in the nation is certainly an achievement that they can be proud of, despite losing both times.

What Stevens and his team have proved is that anything is indeed possible, as long as you put your mind and effort to it.

Sure, they may have returned home to the great state of Indiana on Tuesday with no championship trophy in their hands, but the young men certainly have a lot of reasons to keep their chins up, especially after the past two seasons.

The may have finished their 2010-2011 campaign with a [28-10] record, but who truly predicted that the Bulldogs would once again make it back to the title game in Houston? Did anyone you know pick Butler to have another successful season and then dominate the March Madness tournament? If you did, congratulations, but I am sure that you jumped on their bandwagon just like the rest of the country did this past March.

Who would have imagined that head coach Brad Stevens would have led the Bulldogs to two NCAA Championships?

Butler earned some impressive wins in the tournament, as they defeated Old Dominion at the buzzer, thanks to Matt Howard, as well as busted everyone’s bracket when they knocked off top seeded Pittsburgh, 71-70.

In New Orleans, their magic continued as they defeated Wisconsin and then rallied to beat Florida in the NCAA Regional Final.

After arriving to Houston and getting settled, the excitement continued, as they beat another surprise team, Virginia Commonwealth in the Final Four, but after their exciting win against the Rams, their luck ran out and the clock struck midnight, once again.

Sure, they played awful against Connecticut and looked like a Division III team at time that couldn’t play defense, but once again, they defied the odds and showed the nation that hard work does pay off.

The Huskies may have talented players, such as Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb, but seriously, has their hard work measured up to the Bulldogs? I’d say, no, but again, what do I know? Walker and Lamb could be shooting around in an empty gymnasium, while I sit here and digest the March Madness final.

Butler has proved that once again the underdog still matters, especially in sports and life. Whether one wins or loses, it’s not about the scoreboard at the end of the game, but instead, it’s about giving it your absolute best effort.

Why not root for the Bulldogs? Why wouldn’t you not want to root for a team that goes to class, studies the same in the same library and eats at the same table in the cafeteria. These are student athletes that want to be your friends, but also, represent the true meaning of their school and if one can read between the lines, they’ll understand that Butler is truly a school of champions and students that will never back down from a challenge.

The Lessons Learned from Butler's March Madness Experiences

By Matt Noonan

It wasn’t meant to be, let’s leave it like that. Butler University is not a school of champions, but instead, a college that defines the true meaning of the “student athlete.”

One would certainly not rank the Bulldogs as a school that is equal to Texas, LSU, University of North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan, Duke, Florida or Alabama, but instead, they are the Division I equivalent to an Amherst College or Williams College, (Yes, I just compared Butler to two well-recognized New England institutions).

The college alone has watched their 19 intercollegiate teams earn 26 conference titles over the years, as well as witnessed their men’s and women’s basketball, soccer and volleyball teams compete in the NCAA tournament.

Yet, while they may not be known for their championships or banners that hang in their athletic department’s gymnasium, instead, they are and will always be recognized as the true underdog.

You have to wonder what the term “underdog” means to head coach Brad Stevens, who has led his young team of rag tag college students to the past two NCAA Division I men’s basketball finals, which resulted in two back-to-back loses. Stevens has watched Gordon Hayward’s desperation three bounce off the front rim against Duke, as well as endured a heartbreaking loss to Jim Calhoun’s UConn Huskies on Monday.

Although, is “heartbreaking” the right word to describe one of the sloppiest college basketball games ever? Probably not, but hey, I tried.

The Bulldogs game plan against the Huskies was dreadful, as they decided to forgo shots in the paint and only converted 12 of their 64 shots. They even finished the game, [9-33] from beyond the arc, which is something no coach would be pleased about, especially after that particular contest.

Let’s face it, that particular championship was ugly and downright boring. Did anyone truly stay awake to see if Butler could pull off the upset? I know I did, but again, who agrees that it was truly painful to watch?

The Bulldogs are indeed underdogs because no one expects them to succeed, but going toe-to-toe with two of the top basketball schools in the nation is certainly an achievement that they can be proud of, despite losing both times.

What Stevens and his team have proved is that anything is indeed possible, as long as you put your mind and effort to it.

Sure, they may have returned home to the great state of Indiana on Tuesday with no championship trophy in their hands, but the young men certainly have a lot of reasons to keep their chins up, especially after the past two seasons.

The may have finished their 2010-2011 campaign with a [28-10] record, but who truly predicted that the Bulldogs would once again make it back to the title game in Houston? Did anyone you know pick Butler to have another successful season and then dominate the March Madness tournament? If you did, congratulations, but I am sure that you jumped on their bandwagon just like the rest of the country did this past March.

Who would have imagined that head coach Brad Stevens would have led the Bulldogs to two NCAA Championships?

Butler earned some impressive wins in the tournament, as they defeated Old Dominion at the buzzer, thanks to Matt Howard, as well as busted everyone’s bracket when they knocked off top seeded Pittsburgh, 71-70.

In New Orleans, their magic continued as they defeated Wisconsin and then rallied to beat Florida in the NCAA Regional Final.

After arriving to Houston and getting settled, the excitement continued, as they beat another surprise team, Virginia Commonwealth in the Final Four, but after their exciting win against the Rams, their luck ran out and the clock struck midnight, once again.

Sure, they played awful against Connecticut and looked like a Division III team at time that couldn’t play defense, but once again, they defied the odds and showed the nation that hard work does pay off.

The Huskies may have talented players, such as Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb, but seriously, has their hard work measured up to the Bulldogs? I’d say, no, but again, what do I know? Walker and Lamb could be shooting around in an empty gymnasium, while I sit here and digest the March Madness final.

Butler has proved that once again the underdog still matters, especially in sports and life. Whether one wins or loses, it’s not about the scoreboard at the end of the game, but instead, it’s about giving it your absolute best effort.

Why not root for the Bulldogs? Why wouldn’t you not want to root for a team that goes to class, studies the same in the same library and eats at the same table in the cafeteria. These are student athletes that want to be your friends, but also, represent the true meaning of their school and if one can read between the lines, they’ll understand that Butler is truly a school of champions and students that will never back down from a challenge.

NCAA March Madness Day Three Wrap Up

The Butler Bulldogs beat Pittsburgh, but it wasn't pretty!

By Andy Lindberg

Day one of round two of the NCAA College Basketball Championship Tournament began on Saturday with much fanfare and hullabaloo.  When was the last time you saw someone use the word hullabaloo?  Probably the last time you saw Pittsburgh play as expected in the NCAA tournament.

Also, doesn’t “round one” or “round two” remind you of Mortal Kombat?  I just picture #12 Richmond as Sub Zero kicking the butt of Vandy (Reptile) and Morehead State (the oft maligned Johnny Cage).  Sorry for the side note, but if you’re like me, the same old same old gets boring very quickly.  I’ll try to make this re-cap as painless and as inappropriate as possible.

I’m going to get the game of the day and the upset of the day over with in one fell swoop.  8th seeded Butler beat #1 Pittsburgh in the single most bizarre final seconds I have ever witnessed in a college basketball game.  All right, fair is fair, it was the crappiest basketball I’ve ever watched.  Butler’s Shelvin Mack shouldn’t have been anywhere near Pitt’s Gilbert Brown with 2.2 left on the clock.  Brown was streaking down the sideline and the shot would have been damn near impossible to sink at that speed and from that angle.  Then, Brown missed the second of two free throws with the score tied at 70, and Butler’s Matt Howard snagged the rebound and alertly threw up a prayer in hopes of drawing a foul.

Yes, he drew the foul.  Apparently Pitt’s Nassir Robinson thought it would be a good idea to try to block the shot.  A shot, which was thrown up with one hand from the opposite end of the court.  In short, it proved to be a poor life decision and Howard won the game at the free throw line.

I feel bad for Robinson, to be honest.  Just as I felt bad for Mack for the first foul and Brown for missing the free throw that would have won it for Pitt.  But just because there’s no crying in baseball doesn’t mean there’s no crying in basketball.  Weep away, thy bracket-busted brethren.

All right, what else do I have to do?  Oh, stat of the day.  Well, I’m not going to do that because honestly, the most important stat is the score at the end of the game.

Nah I’m just kidding and that didn’t even make any sense.  The score isn’t an individual statistic.

Unless you score all of the points for your team, then it is an individual statistic.

I’ll go with Jimmer Fredette from BYU having 34 points against Gonzaga and there’s still 2 minutes left in the game.  That’s right, I just did the stat of the day and the game isn’t even over yet.  Do you know that that means?  Jimmer’s stats could actually be higher by the time you read this.  Or, they could not.  The anticipation of viewing the box score should be killing you at this point.

Truth be told, I just picked Fredette because I fricking love his name.  Jimmer.  There’s no much you can do with that.  The Jimmer Man, a Jimmering candle, winner, winner, chicken Jimmer.  The possibilities are as endless as they are annoying.  This is a rare honor from me to the Jimmer.  See, every year I pick out who I hate more between Duke and UNC (I hate both passionately) by whichever team has the large, dingy white dude rolling around like a stud.  A few years ago I hated UNC more because of Tyler Hansbrough.  Now I hate Duke because of Kyle Singler.  Is that a logical reason to hate a team?  Many would say no.  I would say yes.  Jimmer fits the profile!  Why I do not house the ultimate disdain for him or BYU is unknown.  Maybe one day I will learn to hate him as well.  Only time will teach me how…

Looking ahead to Sunday (or today, for those of you who are reading this when it is published), shockingly, there will be more basketball!  Who knew?  Notable matchups will be 8 George Mason vs. 1 Ohio St., 5 Arizona vs. 4 Texas, 1 Duke vs. 8 Michigan, and 1 Road Runner vs. 16 Wile E. Coyote.  Does Coyote have what it takes to finally put that effing bird on a platter with all the trimmings?  Not if he still shops at ACME.  Runner has the speed, and Coyote, although he tries, has yet to compensate.  However tomorrow I predict a different outcome.  Best matchup of the day, in my opinion, which should most assuredly not account for much at all if you knew my history of picking the NCAA tourney.

That all being said, I don’t tweet or have Facebook, so if you hate my daily recap, I invite you to comment on it!  Odds are if you hate it you’re the type of person who thinks dunking is a better facet of the game than the 3-pointer and the home run trumps gunning a runner down at the plate.  Or you’re a person who enjoys the serious recap of tournament play, in which case you stopped reading this very, very early on.  If those first two points apply to you, you shouldn’t be reading a sports blog, much less reading one written by me in about 7 minutes whilst simultaneously frying up a chicken breast.  Oh yeah, I type and cook.

Are you not entertained?