Sunday, April 3, 2011

We want to believe in Butler

We want to believe in Butler, don't we?
Believing in the Bulldogs isn't the same as rooting for them to beat Connecticut in the NCAA men's basketball championship game Monday night.
The Huskies, after all, have a pretty good thing going, too. Led by junior guard Kemba Walker, they have won 10 consecutive post-season tournament games, including five in the NCAA, and are in many ways a likable entity heading into the final.
But it's difficult to disassociate the Huskies with the fresh stains that blot big-time college sports.
Questionable actions at Auburn, Oregon and Ohio State cloud the futures of those schools' football programs.
In basketball, the controversy includes UConn; the program is under scrutiny because of the recruitment of a player who never suited up for the Huskies.
Perhaps Butler can help us forget, even if only briefly, the scandalous stuff.
Led by fourth-year center Matt Howard and junior guard Shelvin Mack, the Bulldogs are in the NCAA final for the second consecutive year.
They come from a school with  an enrollment of less than 5,000, represent a hoops-crazy state and play home games in an iconic venue, Hinkle Fieldhouse, a prop in feel-good, inspirational movie "Hoosiers."
Butler's young coach, Brad Stevens, looks more suited to teaching math and coaching at Roseville High School than guiding a Division I college team.
But here is Butler, the first team from the state of Indiana to reach back-to-back championship games, ready to take on another of America's giants.
We want to think Butler got where it is because of good decisions and hard work, not by shortcuts and cheating.
We want to believe that what we see is real.
We want to believe in Butler, don't we?


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