Butler, back to back National runners-up, not headed to NCAA Tournament

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As hot a coaching commodity as Brad Stevens is, his stock will decrease just a tiny bit in value this year.

It’s official now, the Butler Bulldogs, who made it all the way to the national title game both last year, and in 2010, will not be in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Valparaiso Crusaders (20-11) eliminated Butler (20-14) tonight in the Horizon League tournament, the Bulldogs only way in this March.

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Rough First Year at UIC for Howard Moore as Flames Continue Rebuilding

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Last summer Jimmy Collins stepped down as college basketball coach at UIC. Collins spent 14 seasons as the Flames’ head coach and guided UIC to the first three NCAA tournament berths in school history. He is the all-time winningest coach in school history with 218 victories from 1996-2010.

Current Athletic Director Jim Schmidt, who’s been with the university for 25 years, found his replacement in Howard Moore, a high profile college basketball assistant under Bo Ryan with the Wisconsin Badgers. His Flames have just one regular season game remaining, and then the Horizon League Tournament. It’s been a rough year to say the least, as their record stands at 7-22, 2-15 in conference.

Senior Day at the UIC Pavilion was tough, as Butler blew out the Flames by almost 30.

“This one’s going to stick with me for awhile, it’s all I got to say about that. It definitely hurts right now,” said senior Robo Kreps, the teams leading scorer, following the game. The Flames will lose him, as well as Minnesota Golden Gophers transfer Paul Carter to graduation.

By Paul M. Banks

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Butler Bulldogs a Good Role Model for UIC Flames

butler bulldogs

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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Plan to Form a New Great Midwest College Basketball Conference

Louisville dance team

The Big East conference has too many college basketball teams. In an ideal situation, each team in a conference plays each other twice, home and away. They can’t: too many teams!

If they did this, each school would have to play 30 conference games!

Ok, then let’s try this: split the Big East into two divisions of eight and play the other seven schools in your division home and away and play the eight schools from the other division once each-four of them at home, four on the road. No, this won’t work either because this still adds up to 22 conference games, which is still too many.

And besides, if you split into divisions, the only logical way to divide them would be into an east and a west and I’m pretty sure schools like UConn, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Villanova, and Georgetown aren’t going to be OK with being all lumped together and forced to play home and home with each other while schools like Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Marquette get shipped west and avoid the “bullies” of the conference.

I have a better solution: DePaul, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Marquette should leave the Big East.

By Adam Satorious

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Loyola Ramblers Always Seem to Give Butler Bulldogs FITS!

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In the modern era of college basketball, only one school in the state of Illinois boasts a national title. Guess which one.

The Illinois Fighting Illini? Sadly no, but they probably are the strongest program in the nation never to have cut down the nets. DePaul was great in the ’80s, how about the Blue Demons?

Nope, it’s actually the Loyola Ramblers, vintage 1963.

The Ramblers also went to the sweet sixteen in 1985. Unfortunately, they haven’t been back to the dance since then. But there is one team with which every game has a March type atmosphere. That would be last year’s national runner-up, the Ramblers’ Horizon League rival Butler Bulldogs.

In Wednesday night’s conference opener for both teams, the Butler-Loyola rivalry saw another nail-biter, as the Bulldogs handed LUC their first loss of the season 65-63 at the Gentile Center. Last year, when BU made their historical Final Four run, Loyola lost 48-47. I guess you could call both these games “moral victories.”

By Paul M. Banks

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