They forced turnovers, challenged shots and were diving for loose balls all night. For a minute I thought Butler was winning because this is synonymous with the so-called “Butler way”. While I respect what Brad Stevens has done, sometimes that style isn’t basketball to me. Instead it’s football on hardwood but if the refs don’t punish it then let them have some of their own medicine.
Saint Louis is one of the most confusing teams in college basketball. They got off to a poor start and were one of my major disappointments at the mid-season point. Of course, they were without star point guard Kwamain Mitchell for the first month or so with a foot injury. So a loss to the Santa Clara Broncos and a near miss to the North Texas Green Wave could be explained.
But then they lost to an awful Rhode Island Rams team at home in overtime just a few weeks ago. It makes no sense!
In this topsy turvy year in college hoops, though, few things do. I have to give this team the benefit of the doubt. They returned most of their squad from last year’s NCAA Tournament team that nearly took down the Michigan State Spartans to get to the Sweet 16.
Losing head coach Rick Majerus is obviously a huge blow but Jim Crews had been a guiding force in an extremely difficult situation. His time as the head coach of the Army Black Knights certainly taught him many lessons. There are things in life bigger than basketball. It’s just a game, go play it.
While Mitchell is still trying to get fully back up to speed, wins over the New Mexico Lobos, and now Butler, speak for themselves. I have a feeling this team is going to be hellish match up yet again come March Madness. They aren’t afraid to be physical on offense OR defense. A recipe for success year after year in the NCAA Tournament.
Like my article? Hate it? Let me know on Twitter (@tmichaelcronin). I look forward to your thoughts.