Monday, March 28, 2011

Back To Finish The Job

The Butler Bulldogs of 2010, and 2011, are the greatest sports story since the Miracle on Ice.

If you want a team that embodies everything that is right in sports – especially when every day seems to deliver another eye rolling news story in the other direction – then this is it.

Butler isn’t just a feel good team, in a feel good tournament. It’s a palate cleanser for the cheating, stealing, and police blotter filling that occupies way too much of the modern sports page.

How does a 4,200 student school, knife fight its way through heavily armed toughs of “major” college basketball to make the Final Four?

Twice? The second time without their first – and likely only – NBA lottery pick?

You kidding me?

I’m not picking against Butler any more in this tournament. They’ve come back to finish the job. And I know destiny when it keeps punching me in the face.

I heard this a lot last year: “Man, did you see how close that final shot from Butler came to going in from half court? What a story that would have been!”

Yeah. Whatever. THIS story, is going to be even better.


The games this week were fantastic. In fact, so good, they almost looked scripted.

The one thing that kills me, though, is how poorly these tournament teams execute in the final 30 seconds or less.

The crowning blunder, was Leonard Hamilton going “Corporal Upham” at the end of regulation for Florida State against VCU. To have that much time, and to have TWO timeouts, and to just let his guys “figure it out” on the last play?

Good god, man. What do they PAY YOU for?

Chris Knoche, former D1 coach at American University and now color analyst for Maryland radio, likes to joke about how good Florida State looks sometimes, before adding “ but then luckily Leonard Hamilton stepped off the bus.”

I would usually chide him for that little rough elbow from one coach to another, but not anymore. Wow.

The other “play” that most teams seemed to run when they had the ball and needed a game winner, was the “I’ll pull up from 26 feet and jack it” play.

Which, as you know, is not a “play.”

Funny because, that shot during the normal run of the game, would get a player benched. “What the hell was that!?”

But to win the game, it somehow becomes their #1 option.


Duke’s evisceration at the hands of the Wildcats is more than just a loss. I think it’s a repudiation of the Duke style, a style that is going to be less and less effective at making a run at Final Fours in the coming years.

Basically, you can’t just have good guards, space, shoot threes and run.

Well, you can from November through February. And you’re going to win a ton of games.

But in the tournament, this style is an easy mark for another program with front court NBA talent. Like Arizona. It doesn’t matter how many Plumlees you bring to the party.

There is size, and then there is what I like to call “white size”, which is “not exactly.” Looks good in the airport, but you can’t count on a suburban 6-11 prep schooler to make big plays for you when it matters.

Duke has for years, had too much “white size” instead of NBA caliber bigs. Yes, I know that Boozer and Brand were lottery picks, but other than that….? Coach K needs to get back on that recruiting horse, and bring some home.


How did I do gambling in Vegas? Best trip ever.

Thursday night, had the following:
Big Play: $500 Butler – plus points over Wisconsin. Easy W!
Other Plays: $100 each on SDSU (L)/Over (W), UF (W)/Over (W), But/WI Over (L), AZ (W)/Under (L).

Friday night, had the following:
Big Play: $500 VCU – plus points over Florida State. Big win!
Other Plays: $100 each on UNC (W), OSU (L), Richmond (L).

Saturday had the following:
Butler: ML over Florida $50 (paid $90) and UConn -3 (L).

All in all, I’ve never had a trip where every “window session” so to speak, was a winner. Each time I went to the window with picks, I came back on the plus side. Nice.

And well, then, I seem to recall throwing away about $300 of those winnings at the Riviera blackjack pit, with two different teams of go-go dancers helping to distract me from playing my hand, not to mention some of the worst blackjack rules you’ve ever seen! Blackjack pays just 7-5 and you can’t take “even money” on your 21 before the dealer looks at the hole card. Also, can’t re-split cards, or double down on anything but 10 and 11.

Sheesh. Did we lose a war or something?


  1. No way I am rooting for Butler. I hope VCU puts them down big time, and if not, then I hope the UK/UConn winner puts a fork in them.

    Screw the bulldogs.

    Back in January 2007, Butler made an announcement in the MIDDLE of the school year that they were canceling men's lacrosse and men's swimming. Why? To put more effort into fewer sports, including big revenue sports like, basketball.

    Meanwhile, the 45 guys on the lacrosse team got screwed. Some kids transferred immediately for the spring semester. Then the rest decided to cancel the spring 2007 season to retain an extra year of eligibility to use wherever they transferred to. The Butler team dissolved by early February.

    Is that anyway to treat your student-athletes?

    Screw Butler. No way in hell I am rooting for them.

    They are just like any school that is all about the money and not about the student-athlete.

    Don't be fooled by their small school name and conference. They just want to suck the nipple of the NC$$ teats, just like all the other big boys do.

    Screw Butler.

    Here is an article from the Indy Star:


    Some players will transfer because program is being cut after this season

    By David Woods

    Butler, which announced Friday it is dropping men's lacrosse after this season, might not have enough players to compete this season.

    Players met Monday in a Hinkle Fieldhouse classroom across the hall from the office of athletic director Barry Collier. As many as 18 players on the 38-man squad plan to sit out the season and transfer so they can preserve eligibility.

    The team is to convene for practice Wednesday. Coach Stan Ross said a decision on whether to proceed might come then.

    "Now that the school has put us in shambles, we have to decide what to do for ourselves," said Will Jeffery, a sophomore from Glenview, Ill.
    Ben Sultze, a junior from Fort Collins, Colo., called Butler's decision to drop lacrosse "kind of degrading."

    Ross said he had no inkling lacrosse was to be eliminated until he was called into a meeting Friday. He said he is not worried about his future, but about the players and the 16 recruits committed to Butler.

    "Unfortunately, Butler is not going to follow through on its commitment for them to play lacrosse," Ross said.

    Neither Ross nor Collier divulged how much money would be saved by dropping lacrosse. Men's swimming is also being eliminated.

    Collier said Butler was at a "serious disadvantage" in funding as many as 21 sports. He said the move is not being made to redirect funds to any single sport. It is probable that Butler will offer basketball coach Todd Lickliter a pay increase and contract extension after this season.


    SO, SCREW BUTLER. As bad as Auburn!

  2. Hmm, Czabe, really? The same guy who, on Bob & Brian last year after the title game, called Butler a bunch of "fouling little bitches?"

    Now you're on their bandwagon?

    Go VCU.

  3. Who gives a sht about Lacrosse and those other crap sports.

  4. czabe...lovelovelove how you imply boozer & brand aren't white...if they were black, there's NO WAY koach KKK allows them to set foot on his southern plantation!

    also have to agree whole-heartedly with BKS...fuck all collegiate sports other than 1-A football and D-1 MEN's hoop...they pay the bills for the rest of the garbage that should be intramural/club activities at that, i don't care if your child is a participant...and fuck Title IX even more!

  5. Give me a break, Wombat. Operating collegiate athletic programs takes money, and for those that are revenue guzzlers as opposed to revenue generators, the reality is, you sometimes get sent to the chopping block.

    Don't blame Butler basketball for the men's lacrosse and swimming teams getting canned. It was probably the only entity keeping those two squads afloat for as long as they were. Butler basketball props up the entire athletic department at that school. There's only so much burden one program can shoulder.

    If anything, blame Title IX. At the risk of painting a broad generality, there were probably some women's programs that were faring even worse than men's lacrosse or swimming. The doctrine of Title IX dictates, however, that we can't have a wide discrepancy between the guys and gals, and in turn it's the fledgling men's sports that often get cut when athletic departments have to do some budget trimming.

  6. Hey John A.
    Total douche nozzle comment.

    all college athletics are in trouble

    the article is a little old but numbers aren't being released for 2010 yet.

    So by your own statements we should CUT THEM ALL. I agree, and I'm a former D1 athlete.

    Oh, you don't like that idea? well I say then open your eyes to how there are more sports in the NCAA that are money makers than your narrow vision...if you don't believe me I invite you to follow the money in Iowa, or Nebraska or Ohio, or PA, or a plethora of other schools that have dare i say it COMPETITIVE wrestling programs..that cost next to nothing to run but bring in a reasonable revenue? or How about Michigan, or Boston U or Minnesota who have rocking Hockey programs?

    Quit being a total ass and stinking up Czabe's page.


  7. I maybe I'm wrong but didn't Duke win the title last year with a big white oaf in Zubek?

  8. Why would Butler be offering a raise to Todd Lickliter? I would be offering it to Brad Stevens instead.

  9. Wombat:

    Perhaps a history lesson is in order. Where did Butler get the money for the soccer and lacrosse scholarships? Ironically, they came from the football program in 1995. The university made the decision that it would be easier to compete in these two lesser sports than in D-1 (AA) football with so small of a school. The 70+ scholarships (at that time) were then removed from the football program and divided among two sports that had absolutely no foothold in the local high school landscape. When this decision was made, the IHSAA had over 300 members playing football, less than 100 schools playing soccer and less than 20 playing lacrosse (lacrosse is still not a sanctioned sport).

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    If you dislike this Butler basketball team and how they go about their business, the issue is solely with you. They are what we as a nation were about when we were great, before becoming an entitled, welfare state.

  10. I love you czabe but're really saying that Duke's model is broken? Really? They won the championship LAST YEAR. But I guess that must be old news.

  11. Joe-No kidding? The fail to make the final four a year after winning the whole thing and the system is broken???Talk about knee jerk.