Tag Archive | "Clark Kent"

If academics determined NCAA tourney winner, Butler would take title

As far as Inside Higher Ed is concerned, Butler University has already won the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The Bulldogs won the organization’s sixth annual bracket, which analyzes how the teams would fare if the competition were based on academic performance outcomes.

The academic bracket predictions differ greatly from the reality of the tournament, with Butler being the only team from Inside Higher Ed’s final four picks that has advanced that far.

In the academic bracket, Butler won the championship title after defeating Texas.

The bracket winners were determined using the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate and ties were broken using the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate, according to the Inside Higher Ed Web site.

Past winners of Inside Higher Ed’s bracket are North Carolina and Kansas.

VCU exited the bracket after a loss to Texas A&M in the regional semifinals (Sweet 16).

The recognition comes after senior starter Matt Howard was named the 2010-11 NCAA Division I Academic All-American of the year.

Players like Howard are the ones who Butler head coach Brad Stevens said coaches dream about.

“When you’re dreaming of coaching an you think of the guy who’s going to give you everything he has and represent your school in a positive manner in every way to the best of his ability, you think of Matt Howard,” Stevens said.

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Will Butler outweigh VCU’s advantages in the Final Four?

Will Butler outweigh VCU’s advantages in the Final Four?

The Butler and VCU men’s basketball teams are now in Houston, away from the fan-filled fervor of their communities.

That means the time at which either team’s historic NCAA tournament run will end is quickly approaching.

It also means the time for adjusting game plans is fading.

We’ve nailed down the advantages each team has in Saturday’s national semifinal game.

Experience: The Bulldogs have been in this situation before, finding ways to win and smashing the doubts of basketball fans everywhere. Guard and NBA rookie Gordon Hayward and forwards Willie Veasley and Avery Jukes are not on the roster this year, but new faces and new strategies have filled the voids they left.

Junior guard Ronald Nored, a starter last season, has become a dose of energy off the bench and a lockdown defender once on the hardwood. Some have compared his “Nored Island” to that of New York Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Senior guard Zach Hahn joins Nored as a familiar face, and the size and athleticism of freshman forward Khyle Marshall has appeared in key moments this March.

Defense: Speaking of defense, Nored isn’t the only one able to play it. Senior guard Shawn Vanzant has been another strong defender on the perimeter, and the pair is only a microcosm of Butler’s team defense, which is second to none in preparation.

The Bulldogs are 9-1 this season when holding their opponents under 60 points, with the loss coming at Xavier on December 9 and two of the wins coming in the NCAA tournament.

VCU is averaging 74.0 points per game during the tournament, surpassing their regular season mark, but the Bulldogs are unlikely to allow such a mark to be scored against them on such a grand stage.

Butler’s weekend opponents in New Orleans were blessings in disguise. Both opponents—No. 4 seed Wisconsin and No. 2 seed Florida—had quick, savvy point guards, like VCU senior guard Joey Rodriguez, and Butler corralled them both to disrupt the offenses.

The Howard Factor: The senior forward Matt Howard had two game-winners in Butler’s first two NCAA tournament games, and also had 20 points and 12 rebounds against Wisconsin.

Former Oklahoma State point guard and current ESPN analyst Doug Gottleib called Howard the most valuable player in the tournament and the country for his ability to set screens, sprint back on defense and spread the Bulldog offense.

Coaching: As much attention as VCU head coach Shaka Smart is attracting, Brad Stevens still has the advantage. Stevens’ eyewear aside, he’s arguably the best coach out of a timeout in the country, and has been praised by analysts for his ability to constructively use personnel.


Momentum: The thing Smart’s been able to do best is use the “chip on the shoulder” mentality to build momentum throughout the postseason.

VCU’s five tournament wins have been by an average of 12.0 points per game. After defeating No. 11 seed Southern California and No. 6 seed Georgetown, the Rams’ momentum was undeniable in a 94-76 win over No. 3 seed Purdue.

The Trio: Rodriguez, senior forward Jamie Skeen and junior forward Bradford Burgess have been leading the Rams’ charge this March. Rodriguez, the dribble-drive leader on offense, is averaging 5.1 assists and 10.5 points per game this season. Skeen is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder at 15.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Burgess is no slouch, though, averaging 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

3-point Shooting: VCU has the leg up in a category Butler has historically been known for. During March, the Rams have been shooting 42.1 percent from behind the arc and the penetration of Rodriguez facilitates that cause.

Bench Depth: As much praise as Stevens gets for his use of personnel at key moments, Smart has found a way to win with a deep rotation of eight or nine players. Freshman forward Juvonte Reddic, senior guard Brandon Rozzell and junior forward Toby Veal have been the staples of bench play during the NCAA tournament, each seeing double-digit minutes regularly.

The Butler-VCU game tips at 6:09 p.m. ET Saturday.

Posted in NCAA Central, SportsComments (0)

Pep rally, fair and viewing party planned on campus

Pep rally, fair and viewing party planned on campus

In anticipation of Saturday’s NCAA Final Four match-up between the Butler Bulldogs and the VCU Rams, the public is invited to join students, staff and the Butler community for several events throughout the weekend.

A Butler-Tarkington neighborhood rally is taking place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 56th and Illinois Streets. Sponsored by area shops, there event will feature “hot dawgs” and blue cupcakes. There will also be chances to win Butler gear and gift certificates to neighborhood establishments.

Officially declared “blue and white day” on campus, wear blue and white all day to support the Bulldogs.

Gov. Mitch Daniels will join Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Butler University President Bobby Fong on the steps of Atherton Union for a pep rally.
Join Daniels, Ballard, Fong and university mascot Hink to celebrate the Bulldogs success and get geared up for Saturday’s game. There will also be live music from local cover band Zanna-Doo. The rally will kick off at noon. Hampton Drive will be closed between Clarendon Road and Beta Road from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Rain location: Atherton Union Reilly Room

Get ready for the big game by taking a stroll down Hampton Drive, the sight of many post-game celebrations, for the Bulldogs Dancing in the Streets Fair. Get your game face on at the face painting station or play fair games. There will be food, some for free and some for purchase, and Butler giveaways. The event will run from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hampton Drive will be closed between Clarendon Road and Beta Road from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

If you can’t make the trek to Houston, what better place to watch the game than the Bulldogs home court? Head over to Hinkle Fieldhouse for a community viewing party. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the games tips off at 6 p.m. Concessions will not be available, but feel free to bring your own.
Another Hinkle viewing party will be scheduled for Monday, April 4 if Butler advances to the title game. Check back for more details.

Posted in NCAA Central, News, SportsComments (0)

Stevens sees glasses as secret weapon

Stevens sees glasses as secret weapon

Related Links:

VIDEO | Basketball team gets warm welcome at Hinkle
Butler men’s basketball upsets Florida; advances to Final Four
Photo Gallery | Bulldogs celebrate Florida upset

Many basketball fans around the country have been wondering how Butler made it back to the Final Four this year, especially without Gordon Hayward.

The answer lies within comic book lore.

Before Clark Kent stepped into a phone booth to quickly become Superman, he took off his glasses.

Every morning before driving to Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler head coach Brad Stevens puts his on.

A costume and profession separate the two personas of Clark Kent and Superman.

Being on and off the court separates Stevens from his two personalities—the smiling father figure and the animated, intense coach.

Stevens, like Superman, has become a prominent figure in the popular culture of his day.

Stevens’ new eye glasses seem to be the symbol of his power, or rather success on the court.

Ever since a mishap with contacts forced Stevens to leave the last regular season game early, he’s been wearing glasses.

In the minds of many, there’s no coincidence that the Bulldogs have been undefeated in single-elimination tournament play since the switch.

Such success has inspired a #FearTheGlasses hash tag on Twitter and a “Wear Glasses in Support of Brad Stevens and the Bulldogs Day” this Friday.

Players on the team gave perspective on the spectacles.

“He’s already a smart guy, but they make him look smarter,” junior guard Ronald Nored said. “They fit the mold.”

That mold is one of an academic, math-savvy guy.

“He does a really great job of analyzing statistics,” Nored said. “There’s no one in the country that pays closer attention to the details than him.”

Sophomore center Andrew Smith said Stevens was book smart and shared knowledge with the team on a daily basis.

“The first thing I think of when I think of [Stevens] is how he always comes into practice with a new quote from some book we’ve never heard of,” Smith said. “He has one of the best minds I’ve ever encountered.”

That mind is a superstitious one, which is why Stevens has not yet sought out new contacts.

“I know he’s not going to take them off this year because we haven’t lost since he started wearing them,” Nored said.

Stevens confirmed Nored’s hunch, saying that he would not switch to contact lenses right now, even if the doctor told him it was necessary.

Smith and senior Grant Leiendecker gave further insight into Stevens’ superstitious nature.

“We’ve been having the same pre-game meal—spaghetti, chicken, baked potato, garlic bread, fruit salad—for I don’t even know how long,” Smith said.

“We’ll stay in the same hotels if we won while we were there,” Leiendecker said, “Or not go back to a restaurant if a loss followed a meal there.

“He’s superstitious until the day he dies.”

Senior forward Matt Howard knows a thing or two about being superstitious. His less-than-attractive mustache gained national attention during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships, but he assures all that it will not be making an appearance in 2011.

“This is the time in life that we all try weird things, but I think the mustache reflected poorly on my teammates,” Howard said. ”No one can tell me it was good look. That’s how I feel and how other people should feel.”

Howard said the comparison to Clark Kent and Superman may have something to it, but he’s not convinced yet.

“All I know right now is that [Stevens] no longer has watery eyes or vision problems,” Howard said. “The glasses do make him look more intelligent and about two years younger.”

So what do eye wear and Saturday’s game have in common? Virginia Commonwealth head coach Shaka Smart doesn’t wear glasses.


Click and drag the photo montage to see Brad Stevens sporting other infamous spectacles

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Posted in NCAA Central, SportsComments (0)

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