Hinkle Fieldhouse to get more national attention Saturday

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The movie “Hoosiers” made it famous, but Butler’s 2010 National title game run made it a tourist destination. I made my first visit to the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse four years ago when I covered the Final Four for the Washington Times. Tomorrow I return to cover my first ever game at the basketball mecca. Northwestern at Butler will be the first nationally broadcast game on Fox Sports this season.

It leads directly into coverage of the Big Ten Football Championship Game, held just a few miles down the road at Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium.

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Update: Butler star Rotnei Clarke suffers serious injury; out indefinitely

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Butler star Rotnei Clarke, who did in Marquette earlier this year with a buzzer beater, and helped take down the then #1 Hoosiers, was injured in Butler’s 79-73 victory at Dayton on Saturday.

He will undergo further medical evaluation. Clarke was discharged from Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, and returned to Indianapolis with Butler’s team.

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Will the Butler Bulldogs rebound and reach the NCAAs next year?

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This year, as two of the best programs and college basketball history made their way to the final game to compete for a national title, it was almost a change of pace from the last couple of years. With Butler’s two Final Four runs in 2010 and 2011, it was different to see a Final Four stacked with powerhouses in 2012 while Butler failed to even reach the tournament.

After losing several seniors and junior Shelvin Mack after last year’s runner-up season, the Bulldogs struggled to get going early this season. Especially on the offensive side, this was a team that did not play like prototypical Butler teams coached by Brad Stevens.

By Collin O’Connor

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Butler NCAA Title Game Appearance Generated $500 Million in Publicity Value, Study Says

butler bulldogs

You’ve heard the expression- “you can’t buy publicity like that?” Well if you did it would cost $512,382,703, according to a study done by Borshoff, which monitored and evaluated media coverage of the Butler University college basketball team from mid-March to mid-June, 2011. During that period, Butler garnered an estimated half-a-billion $ through television, print and on-line news coverage. When factoring in social media, the audience reach surpassed 69 billion.

Don’t forget all the great Bulldogs articles out there this spring like “Matt Howard’s NBA Draft Stock,” the early entry analysis of Shelvin Mack; which featured numerous Mark Morrison “Return of the Mack” jokes, and coverage of the oppression of their live mascot Blue II.  These pieces were integral to that half a billion dollars.

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10 Butler-UConn National Title Game Questions

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It’s finally here, the Super Bowl of college basketball. The end of all the madness that March left will be resolved on Monday night between the Butler Bulldogs and Connecticut Huskies. I think Butler has the advantage with the experience and better guard play (sorry Kemba Walker). If Butler can force this young UConn team to make mistakes, they should win.  It should literally be an old fashioned dog fight – and not the kind that Michael Vick is invited to.

Here are 10 questions that will need answered for Monday’s National Championship Game:

by Ryan West [Read more…]

Can Butler’s Matt Howard Make it in the NBA?

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Matt Howard of the Butler Bulldogs is to committing a good hard foul what Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is to being unfunny and possessing no wit.

Howard benefited greatly from sophomore Center Andrew Smith breaking the starting lineup. This allowed Howard to move from the five to the four, giving him more experience playing the only position he has a legitimate chance of playing at the next level. Howard, lost weight in the offseason and improved his jump shot.  He’s a great college basketball player, but his skills do not necessarily translate to the next level.

Still, he could get serious looks due to his intangibles and actually make a roster due to his winning ways and the energy he brings. And he’s smart too, Matt Howard was the Academic All-American of the year.

By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

Go here for our NBA draft stock analysis of Shelvin Mack

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Butler Bulldogs Prepare for Wisconsin Badgers in NCAA Sweet Sixteen

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If college basketball has an Alexander the Great, it’s probably Butler Bulldogs head Coach Brad Stevens. Like the ancient ruler who conquered half the known world before his 20th birthday, Stevens has accomplished a lot at a very young age. He graduated from college in 1999, but he’s already taken a team to within three points of a national title, and three sweet sixteens.

Only five coaches in NCAA men’s basketball history have reached 100 wins faster than Stevens and none has done it in the last three decades. Butler will make its fourth “Sweet 16” appearance in nine years when they meet the No. 4 seed Wisconsin in the Southeast Regional of the NCAA Tournament. The game between the two Midwest (and very, very white) teams is scheduled for a 8:57 p.m. (CT) tip and will be televised on TBS.

By Paul M. Banks

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Head NCAA Referee Explains Bizarre Ending of Butler-Pittsburgh Game

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It was the most talked about college basketball game of the weekend; and not just because it featured a big upset. it had one of the weirdest endings to march madness that we’ve seen in awhile.

Minutes after the ending of No. 8-seeded Butler’s bizarre, 71-70, win over No.1-seeded Pittsburgh in the Southeast Region’s third round game, both the Atlanta (Matt Winer, Steve Smith, Seth Davis and Phil Martelli) and New York (Ernie Johnson, Greg Anthony, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Rick Pitino) NCAA Tournament studio shows aired interviews with John Adams, National Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating.

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On the crucial calls between Butler and Pittsburgh at the end of the game:

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Butler Bulldog Mascot Banned from 1st NCAA Tournament Game

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Who could say no to this face? Seriously, who in college basketball would turn this guy away? When I had the wonderful opportunity to cover last year’s Final Four in Indianapolis, do you know who the star was in the media room on national title game night?

“You’re my boy Blue!” pictured above; all the journalists swooned over him. Now he’s doggie non grata for this year’s tourney.

According to Indy Fox 59:

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National Academic All-American of the Year: Butler’s Matt Howard

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Butler senior forward Matt Howard has been named the 2010-11 NCAA Division I college basketball Academic All-American of the Year. Howard was chosen to the Capital One Academic All-America Team, for a school-record third consecutive year.

Howard was one of two repeat selections on the University Division first team. Graduate student Tim Abromaitis of Notre Dame also was named to the first team for the second consecutive year.

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Butler Bulldogs a Good Role Model for UIC Flames

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For a solid blueprint to success, the team playing at the campus colloquially known as “Circle” can look to their “Circle City” conference brethren.

“Butler has a program that we’re aspiring to be, not that we’re trying to be Butler,” said UIC first year Head Coach Howard Moore, who previously worked as an assistant under Bo Ryan at Wisconsin.

“We’re aspiring for that kind of success, where your players come out expecting to win and expecting to get results whether at home or on the road. They’re very impressive, they know who they are, and they play to that.”

Moore has many reasons to complement his Horizon League rival. Brad Stevens has won the league all three years that he’s led the small private school in Indianapolis. This year, they’ll finish third or fourth, but look to be in decent shape for a NCAA at-large bid

By Paul M. Banks

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Does ‘The Butler Way’ Lead to a Return NCAA Tournament Trip?

brad stevens butler

Beneath the Hoosier Sky last March, the Butler Bulldogs unfolded one of the greatest stories in college basketball history. And had that last second half-court heave stayed down and fallen through in the national title game, history would not have denied the glow of the victory firelight for the “home team” at Lucas Oil Field.

Just one more basket and the small mid-major school could have beaten heavily-favored Duke to win it all. The full story is documented quite well by David Woods in his book “Underdawgs.”

This year has been much less romantic for the Bulldogs however. Sure, they can still run the table in the Horizon League Tournament next week to guarantee a NCAA berth, but right now they are the very definition of a “bubble team” in most bracket projections.

Let’s look at how they can grab that at-large berth.

By Paul M. Banks

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