The Butler Bulldogs (22-6, 9-4 Atlantic 10) have one of the best mid-major basketball programs in the country. Butler has consistently been in the NCAA Tournament, they have been getting top-tier(ish) recruits, and they have head coach Brad Stevens.
Having Stevens has their head man gives Butler everything a basketball program would need to compete with the big boys. Unlike many other sports, in college basketball, your program will be as good as your coach. Right now, there are few better head coaches in the nation than Stevens.
After the Bulldogs lost to the Saint Louis Billikens last week people started to unnecessarily panic. Forgotten was the fact Saint Louis was good, or that a team is allowed to lose every once in awhile. Instead, in the place of logic, experts started to dissect everything that much be wrong with Butler hoops.
However, I doubt any of that bothered Stevens. He knew that he would have over a week to prepare for a huge game against the VCU Rams (22-6, 10-3 A-10). Not only was Stevens going to be granted the opportunity to battle wits with another good, young coach (Shaka Smart), but he would have all that time to prepare for just one game.
Butler doesn’t need to win the A-10 regular season title, their aspirations have now become something much bigger than that. Stevens knows that very few people remember who wins those almost meaningless conference championships but that folks remember NCAA Tournament runs for much longer. While I am sure it would be swell to add another nice award to the building Stevens’ trophy case, he is playing for big boy prizes and March Madness lore.
Stevens will have his team ready for the final stretch of the season, but more importantly than that, he will also have his team ready to rock some dancing slippers in the most fashionable of ways come March.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone