SportsNation Blog Archives Butler Bulldogs
UCLA's dominance of college basketball under John Wooden is a big part of of the game's history -- and maybe that's the trouble in Westwood. Butler's Brad Stevens has reportedly joined VCU's Shaka Smart in declining to pursue the vacancy that opened when the Bruins fired Ben Howland after 10 seasons and three Final Four appearances. Is UCLA still a dream job? Or has Wooden's legacy of multiple championships left behind unrealistic expectations?
What do you think? Leave your comments below.
2. Which upset surprised you more?
The upsets have already started in college basketball, with Louisville taking out Butler and San Diego State edging out Gonzaga. Neither is, say, an Appalachian State vs. Michigan situation, but it'll still shake things up quite a bit to see some big contenders fall this early. Which upset surprised you more?
We don't know what coach Norman Dale did after leading Hickory High to the state title. We like to picture him moving up through the ranks of Indiana basketball and eventually coaching the Pacers in the ABA, decked out in a leisure suit and flashy jewelry on the sideline.
But if you believe the contract Brad Stevens just signed, we do know what the coach who inspired so many people to revisit Dale, Jimmy Chitwood and Myra Fleener (all right, not Fleener) in recent weeks.
Fresh off Butler's run to the final play of the national championship game, Stevens signed on for 12 more years at the small school in Indianapolis. He's an Indianapolis native, so maybe there's reason to believe he really will pull a Mark Few and try and maintain the success Butler has been building for much of the last decade. If so, is it possible that even in a state with historically significant programs like Indiana and Purdue, Butler might reign for a long time? Vote on Butler's future.
Although the loss crushed me, you can't say enough about what Butler did not only in March but throughout the season. I know each season is supposed to be treated on its own, but how much does a performance like Butler's play into next year when it comes to potential seeding? It appears Butler's #5 seed was the ceiling for Butler going into Selection Sunday (even though us in Bulldog Nation though they deserved better) -- Butler still has to play in the Horizon League and winning all the games again is probably unlikely so will Butler ever have a shot at a #2 or #3 seed or will they always be playing for a max out at #5?
I do not see a "seed ceiling" for programs such as Butler. In recent years, we have seen Saint Joseph's get a No. 1 and Xavier both a No. 3 and No. 4. Gonzaga has also been as high a No. 2 seed from a more comparable conference. It can happen if you schedule and win the right non-conference games. Full transcript
Brad Stevens (Eugene, OR)
Should I make a possibly career-limiting move and sign on the dotted line or keep a good thing going back in Indianapolis? Those millions are awfully tempting.
Brad: Ask Todd Lickliter. The grass isn't always greener (not even when Nike is designing the hideously green Duck uniforms). Full transcript
Monday was a good day for bubble teams. Siena and Old Dominion, regular-season champions in the MAAC and CAA, respectively, held off challenges to win conference tournaments and automatic bids to the NCAA tournament. WCC regular-season champion Gonzaga wasn't as kind, losing to Saint Mary's and potentially stealing an at-large bid from a bubble team (although Saint Mary's might have gotten in anyway).
And after spending months compiling a 15-3 record to win the Southern Conference regular-season title, with no at-large hopes in the event of a loss, tiny Wofford had to sweat out the final 20 minutes and a furious Appalachian State rally to earn its place in the NCAA tournament with an automatic bid.
With all the talk about expanding the NCAA tournament field, how about we start by just getting the most deserving teams in the current bracket by rewarding regular-season champions? Or on the flip side, is the drama of Championship Week enough to justify conference tournaments?
Aside from the Zags getting a lower seed from this, I think St. Mary's was in, regardless, so there were no bubble spots usurped in this one. Maybe a good wake up for Gonzaga going in to the dance. Always pull for the Zags when we're not playing them. With some 10 spots and 21 teams still in bubble land, those of us there are pulling for a minimum of upsets with the exception of within our own conference tournament.” -- datzMRDorsey
this is why the auto-bid for winning the conference tourney has got to go. If the NCAA wants to give a team a bid for an entire season of work, ie: winning the regular season title fine. But now St. freaking Marys is stealing a bid from a much more deserving team.” -- abe3232
Conference Championships are an embarrassment to College Hoops. Teams steal bid from other worthy teams. These Conference tournaments are not meaningful for teams that have already locked up NCAA births. Gonzaga looked like an NIT team tonight.” -- Goodtymes