Friday, March 26, 2010

Forget Bob Kravitz

Congratulations to the Butler Bulldogs on making their first Elite Eight appearance! I'm not sure if they can necessarily wear the Cinderella crown like George Mason in 2006 at this point, but the clock has not struck midnight for them yet.

As much as we would like to forget about Bob Kravitz, our standards dictate that we cannot. We are the standard bearers for bad writing on bad writing. It is articles like this one that we banded together to shine a light on the travesties of wretched sports media writing.

Forget 'Hoosiers'; these 'Dogs are for real

Or...Forget Bob Kravitz; another Turd-burger special awaits!

Oh, great. Since we are in Indiana, why does everyone feel the need to incorporate the movie Hoosiers into any type of small school vs. big school basketball (or seemingly any sport) match up?

Here comes America, armed with its tape measures and Hickory High story lines and features about how Brad Stevens is the lineal descendant of Norman Dale. Now that the Butler Bulldogs are one West Regional victory from writing one of the great college basketball stories ever told -- Butler in the Final Four in Indianapolis -- it's fair to assume the land's journalists are prepared to show up and go all Jimmy Chitwood on us.

I know that the Butler bandwagon is growing and will swell if they make the Final Four and are the lowest remaining seed. I think that is great for a small school from a mid-major conference. Add in the fact they would be playing in their hometown is noteworthy. It only becomes one of the great college basketball stories if they make it to the final game or even win it all. That is a story to remember. If they make it to the Final Four, it is noteworthy, but not necessarily great by any means. Noteworthy, Bob, not "great", got it.

(OK, Sparky)
Here's the deal:

Butler, a 63-59 victor over No. 1-seeded and fourth-ranked Syracuse on Thursday night, is no fluke, no Little Team That Could, no come-from-nowhere Hickory High, even if I'm pretty sure that was Shooter lingering near the end of the Butler bench.

For the love of God, please stop the Hoosiers references!

Too bad it was not a shooter trying to put your computer in his sights so we would not have to read this.

The Bulldogs went athlete for athlete, face to face with an imposing Syracuse team, and showed they were not only more composed and poised, but more athletic than a team that was supposed to be the best in the nation's best conference. (Number of teams in the Elite Eight: Big East 1, Horizon League 1).

No doubt that the Big East was the most hyped conference coming into the tournament this year. I am not sure if it was due more to the Big East being that up or the rest of the conferences just being more down. The Pac-10 just plain sucked ass and it was a minor miracle that Washington made it into the Dance. (Just goes to show that any team that makes the Dance can dance more than once.) The Big Ten has some really good teams in Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue, but the bottom of the conference was atrocious. The Big East sent eight teams to the tournament and yes, it is surprising that only one remains into the Elite Eight.

Who saw that one coming?

Me. But that is more due to the fact that Mrs. Bembledack is a Butler grad and being a Butler homer than pure outright foresight.

Butler, the coaches and players, they saw that one coming.

No, they did not see it coming, Assbag! I'm pretty sure that Brad Stevens did not have a Nostradamus moment and foresee just how far the team would go this year. The Bulldogs have worked their asses off all year and have played their way here. No one knows just how far they can go until they play.

"We don't need to hit a bunch of 3s to win,'' Butler assistant Matthew Graves said an hour before the game. "We've got to stop them in transition, we've got to make sure we hang in there on the boards, and we've got to attack them in the paint and on the baseline. We haven't even talked about 3s.''

No, but it definitely helps their game when they do hit 3s. When Butler can hit their outside shots, the inside can open up for Matt Howard. Thankfully, Butler is athletic enough and plays team defense to be able to win without requiring 3s.

So what did they do?

I bet you're going to tell us, huh?

They shot a miserable 6-for-24 from 3, although they hit two monster 3s in the final minutes -- and won.

While hitting 25% of your 3s is below their season average of 34.2%, I would not really call it miserable.

Bottom line, Butler won with defense, forcing 18 turnovers and reducing Syracuse's vaunted offense to mush. Willie Veasley, charitably listed at 6-3, kept 6-7 Orange star Wesley Johnson under control. Ronald Nored, who said he ran "a marathon'' chasing sharpshooter Andy Rautins, flustered his opponent into bad shots down the stretch. Once Butler overcame the late four-point deficit and went up by a point, Syracuse panicked.

Wow, something Bob is correct on. Syracuse did seem to panic when Butler went on their 11-0 run to take a 61-54 lead, but they collected their wits some and nearly came back at the end.

Syracuse likes to play fast, play in transition, so we wanted to make it an ugly game for them,'' said Nored, who stole the ball at game's end to seal the deal. "We saw on films, when games were tough and ugly, they weren't as good as when they were out in transition, hitting 3s and getting dunks.

"And we could see them getting frustrated. You could see it in the first half, and then the last few minutes of the game. We got to them.''

Another reason why Butler is still playing and Syracuse is heading home early...again.

Afterward, Syracuse's players looked like they'd just taken the collar from some pitcher throwing 82-mph slop. Yet, the Bulldogs shot atrociously from 3-point range and still knocked off the Orange. And they played a good portion of the first half without foul-plagued Gordon Hayward. And they had to survive for a stretch when Matt Howard got his fourth foul with 8:23 remaining.

OK, Turdfucker! Since when does someone with two personal fouls be considered as foul-plagued? What fucking journalism school did you supposedly graduate from? He may have picked up two first half fouls, but he was not called for any in the second half. I do not consider that foul-plagued by any means. Matt Howard is foul-plagued and has been all season.

Seriously, take away the Butler uniforms, and they could have been one of those Big East behemoths, a Pitt or a Villanova or a West Virginia.

Take away their uniforms and they would be playing in their underwear. I REALLY do not want to see that. Now having the cheerleaders in their underwear, that I would watch!

Now America knows what we've known all along: The Bulldogs can not only play with anybody, they can beat anybody, including Syracuse on a night when they had to rely more on athleticism than long-range shooting. Clearly, this isn't your older brother's Butler team.

The Bulldogs have been able to beat anybody for a while. They lost in OT to Tennessee by 2 points in 2006 when Tennessee was an under-seeded #2-seed. They took the NCAA Champion Florida Gators to the wire in the second round of the 2008 tournament. They've been on the cusp of the limelight for a while. This is just the first time they've been able to put it all together.

Forget about destiny. This is about a wonderful basketball team that defends and cherishes each possession. They've gotten this far. Why not a few steps further?

It is nice to have a team that can actually pass the ball around more than once or twice and can actually play defense. And yes, if they can make it there, they can make it anywhere.

Maybe it's the fact that Butler has never been in the Elite Eight before, but it's like nobody can quite get their arms around the notion. After the game, several of Butler's reserves gathered around a locker room TV as CBS' Seth Davis held court.

"S-s-h-h-h, s-s-h-h-h, I want to hear this,'' someone said.

Davis made the point about how Syracuse desperately missed its injured center Arinze Onuaku -- a point Brad Stevens had made earlier.

The Butler players moaned.

"Man,'' they said, disgusted.

It is easier for the sports media to make excuses for why a higher seeded team lost to a lower seed. We are a society of excuse makers. We cannot seem to comprehend that some teams are going to get beat regardless whether you have all of your players or not. All the sports talking heads were quick to point out that Butler's defeat of Ohio State was due to Evan Turner not playing due to an injury. Yes, I'm sure it would have made a difference if he had played, but Butler handled the Buckeyes pretty well, so you cannot discount what Butler did just because someone good did not play.

Why wasn't Onuaku's absence such a big deal in Syracuse's monster victory over Gonzaga?

Because they won you fucktard! It only becomes an excuse when they lose.

Even as they continue this marvelous march back home, Butler is loath to play up the obvious story line. They know the Final Four is in Indy. They are aware that Butler is located in Indy. Smart kids at Butler. They get it. They see the elephant in the room.

They just don't want any part of it, at least not yet.

The elephant is not in the room, it is sitting on your brain evidently. As Brad Stevens has said all during their current 23-game winning streak, they take one game at a time. They only look to the next game. Yes, they know where their next victory will take them, but they know they have to win to get there.

"I'm going home on Saturday night or Sunday morning, whenever the charter gets here, and we're going to Indy,'' Stevens said. "I just hope we still have season left.''

And we'll be excited for you whether or not you won or lost.

They're not the only ones. America is ready for Butler back in Indianapolis, and if Purdue can follow suit, it's going to be a regular Hoosier-palooza, replete with pork tenderloins and Bobby Plump sightings.

While having both Butler and Purdue in the Final Four would be great for basketball in Indiana, it would be horrible for businesses, but that is a different story.

Great stories don't win basketball games like this one. Great teams do.

And what would you know about great stories. It's not like you've ever written one.

Butler is one of the small fish in the ocean, but they have the teeth to take on any of the teams remaining. The Bembledack clan will be rooting for the Bulldogs all the way and will scream the roof off of my house if Butler wins it all. Do I think Butler could beat the likes of a Kentucky? My answer is yes. If Butler's outside game is on, if Matt Howard can keep out of trouble and they play their current stifling defense, then I think they would at least be in the game to win it at the end.

Sad thing is, if Butler does make it to Indy, I may have to kill someone over the mass of Hoosiers movie reference that will spill forth. FUCK!

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