OVERTIME: Basketball does not define Butler

The magic of Butler University exists on and off the court, and that is why this school is special.

I did not find out about Butler, nor did I apply here, because of basketball fame.  The university sent me a letter, and my mother pushed me to look into the school.

I fell in love with Butler not because of what I saw at Hinkle Fieldhouse but because of what I saw in the campus as a whole.

If the Butler men’s basketball team does not find a way into the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, everything will be OK.

There is much to look forward to next season, and there is, after all, more to this school than what happens at Hinkle.

After wins against Youngstown State, Cleveland State, Loyola of Chicago and Indiana State, the Bulldogs seem to have their February mojo working in full force.

But is it too late?  I believe so.

The team has struggled with consistency for much of the season, losing games to Evansville, Valparaiso and Ball State, as well as a pair against Detroit.

After last night’s victory over Illinois-Chicago, a victory against Valparaiso on Friday would give the team a 19-12 record in the regular season.

Hopefully that can propel the team to one of the top two seeds in the Horizon League tournament.

The Bulldogs will then need to win the conference tournament to have a hope of returning to March Madness. I do not see that happening.

Despite what happens with the remainder of this season, the program has a bright future.

Coach Brad Stevens has one of the nation’s best 3-point shooters in senior transfer Rotnei Clarke, who will play his final year of eligibility for the Bulldogs next season.

Stevens also has a solid recruiting class, staring 6-foot-5 shooting guard Kellen Dunham, coming to campus next season.

I expect that these two will provide effective outside shooting—something that the team has been lacking this season.

More than anything that will be seen in Hinkle over the next few years, I find comfort in the fact that even without the two deep runs in the tournament, Butler would still be the fantastic school it is today.

Butler students are blessed to attend such an amazing school.  While the school has garnered fame from basketball, but without a good background, it would not mean much.


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