Butler’s Dream Season Continues

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Bulldogs reach Final Four in own backyard

Mark it down: the Butler Bulldogs will be everyone’s favorite to win it all when the Final Four gets underway this weekend. Well, at least for those fans not rooting for the West Virginia Mountaineers, Michigan State Spartans or the Duke Blue Devils.

Cinderella has arrived at the ball and she is there thanks to victories which have included wins over Syracuse and Kansas State, the two top teams in its bracket.

Hot Dogs

Final FourThe Bulldogs are in the Final Four because they are the hottest team in the nation having last lost on December 22, 2009. With 24 consecutive victories under their belts, the Bulldogs have demonstrated that they can play with everyone, beat anyone, and perhaps win it all thanks to the tournament moving to Indianapolis which is just five miles from their Indy campus.

Considered a “mid-major” program due to its membership in the Horizon League (home of Valparaiso, BTW), Butler has been playing some of the best basketball over the past decade.

Gordon Hayward

Importantly, Butler has gotten to 32-4 on the backs of a team, not just one player. Forward Gordon Hayward averages 15.2 points per game, but three others have contributed throughout the season including guard Shelvin Mack (14.2 ppg.), forward Matt Howard (11.8 ppg.) and forward Willie Veasly with 10.1 points. Hayward, however, has led the team down the stretch recovering from a back injury to bring the Bulldogs this far.

Making it to the Final Four gives Butler a virtual home field advantage not enjoyed by the other three schools. Lucas Oil Stadium, opened in summer 2008, is the venue for this year’s tournament finale–a 63,000 seat stadium when the NFL Indianapolis Colts play there. For the Final Four and for the 2012 Super Bowl, the stadium will seat 70,000 fans. Expect that when Butler takes the floor against the Spartans Saturday night for the stadium to be sold out and with the majority of fans wearing Bulldog attire.

Hoosier Hysteria

One significant point to note about this Butler team is that their home court is the Hinkle Fieldhouse, which hosted the Indiana state high school basketball championship from 1928 to 1971 and was the backdrop for the 1986 movie, Hoosiers.

By getting to the Final Four, Butler hopes to tap the Hoosiers mystique as well as the glories of the University of Indiana basketball program by taking out Michigan State. Should Butler win on Saturday, odds are that the city of Indianapolis will remain in a state of bedlam until the seconds are counted down for Monday night’s finale.

Who ya gonna root for?!

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