Tag Archive: Brad Stevens


The Final Countdown!


Uconn is going to need Kemba's leadership and last second heroics just one more time tonight in the National Championship game

The day has finally come! The National Championship game tonight between The Butler Bulldogs and Uconn Huskies.  I was unable to watch the Final Four games because I had a fraternity thing I had to be at.  I’m also supposed to be playing in an intramural basketball game tonight…yeah right! I picked these two teams to win to set up this match up last week.  I explained why I thought they were going to be successful and I plan to make my prediction for tonight’s soon to be National Champion.

I like both of these teams.  Both teams are in the championship for a reason.  Butler got off to a slow start at the beginning of the season but have really shown up ready to play and have taken care of business every night come tournament time.  Uconn is on one of the most exciting runs I’ve ever heard of.  They have won 10 straight games all coming during the Big East tournament and now the NCAA tournament.  I think tonight’s match up will be a great one to watch.

I’ll start with Uconn.  Uconn, as mentioned above, is on an incredible 10 game winning streak.  I like Kemba Walker and the way he can win games with last second shots.  The only thing that really worries,and not all that much,  me for Uconn is how many games they’ve played in the last couple of weeks.  Yeah they’ve had some time off and time to recuperate but, from what I’ve been told by respected sources Uconn seemed a little tired against Kentucky in the Final Four.  I wasn’t concerned about that earlier in the tournament and here’s why.  They’re a bunch of 18-22 college students! I’m a college student and I played varsity football for 4 years.  I knew how to prepare my body for competition and these athletes have many more resources than I ever could have dreamed of.  Still this is only a minor concern.  With Jim Calhoun’s coaching ability, Walker’s ability to hit big shots, and Jeremy Lamb stepping up I think Uconn will be difficult to beat tonight.

Howard's hustle and playmaking will be much needed in tonight's National Championship game

Surprisingly I like Butler tonight.  There’s something special going on in that Butler locker room.  This team has NCAA tournament experience and the hunger to keep winning.  Not only that, they have one of the most intelligent young coaches in the game today.  Brad Stevens has a very close relationship with his players, I mean for goodness sakes they only have 8 players on the squad!  He knows how to get his guys ready to play and how to keep them composed. You can see that his players want to win just as much for Coach as they do for themselves.  I’ve played for a coach I respected and loved and it’s totally different than playing for a coach you could give to squats over a toilet about.  You play harder, you’re focused, and you hustle much more.  Like I said, there’s something special going on in that locker room.  Let’s not forget to mention Butler making their second straight appearance in the National Championship game. They lost last years championship game by only a few inches! They have that hunger, that passion, and the fuel needed to win a National Championship. I’ve mentioned Butler’s composure and I think they’re late game execution shows that.  Winning close games is in the Bulldogs’ blood. I also think Shelvin Mack will have another big game to help propel Butler to their first National Championship!

Regardless of who wins tonight it should be a very good game.  Both teams are deserving to be where they are and both deserve to be the National Championship.

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Joey Rodriguez needs to keep playing hot if VCU wants to see themselves in the National Championship game

The 11th seeded VCU Rams and 8th seeded Butler Bulldogs seems to be the game to watch on Saturday.  In a recent post I discussed why I think the Uconn/UK game should be the game to watch.  However, I do not want to discredit or downplay this match up.  I think it’s going to be a very exciting game especially if VCU can keep up the way they have been playing these past few weeks.  I also think Butler is very well coached and very disciplined.  Here are my thoughts on the game.

I’ll come out and say it now. Butler wins.  This is why.  VCU has admitted that they have nothing to lose so they’re going to run around and press the whole time and take quick shots if they want to. That my friends is undisciplined basketball.  Yeah maybe it worked for them to get to this point but lets look at who they have played since the field of 64.  Georgetown, not the most disciplined team.  The press got to them.  Purdue, played like crap and VCU was on fire. Good win for them.  FSU.  Not the most prolific scoring team to begin with. FSU is known for their defense. VCU made 1 more shot than FSU to win that game.  Then came Kansas, whose infamously known for being upset in the tournament.  Another good win for them. And now they face Butler.  Butler will undoubtedly be the most disciplined team they have faced thus far in the tournament.  Butler moves the ball with a goal in mind every time down the floor, to get GREAT shots.  They know in order for them to win they need to play as a team and to play disciplined. They do that on both ends of the floor.

Howard's hustle, leadership, and solid defense will be necessary for Butler to make it back to the Title game

Butler also plays very good solid man-to-man defense.  As of late VCU as been lighting it up from all areas on the floor, except when Kansas locked them up and pressured the ball during the second half of the Elite 8 game.  I feel that if Butler can keep good ball pressure, which they will do because Brad Stevens is a smart coach, VCU will not hit as many shots as they have.

Though Shaka Smart is a great coach I think Brad Stevens is better.  I think this game will come down to two things.  1) being disciplined and 2) coaching.  I think Butler wins both of those categories and will see themselves in their second straight National Championship game.  Setting up a match up with the Uconn Huskies!


Matt Painter continues to leave Boilermaker fans wondering the future of their beloved basketball program

Painter met with Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden today in Orlando, Florida where he was on vacation.  Painter did not leave on the private flight back to Missouri with Alden.  Also, no decisions have been made by Painter and his future.  It is known that Painter left Orlando shortly for West Lafayette.  This could be bad news for Boiler Nation.

Painter not leaving for Missouri could mean a few things.  1) He wants to talk to his players about him leaving.  Most coaches do not just up and leave without talking to their players.  No matter how hard it is to tell them you’re leaving.  2) It’s also known that Matt is meeting with Purdue officials.  However, he is not meeting with Purdue AD Morgan Burke.  To me this means he’s not willing to talk more offers and has most likely already made his decision.  3) Painter has to get his things and move his family.  It seems hard to believe that he would leave but according to sources close to the Kansas City Star the odds favor Painter taking the Missouri job.  4) All this talk means nothing and Painter wants to get back to work in West Lafayette and get more money out of Purdue.

My feelings are that Painter is leaving.  There’s no reason why he should be taking this long to make a decision. Even if he is just trying to get money from Purdue.  He’s coaching at his alma mater and is comfortable with where he is at this point at Purdue.  Once Purdue put more money on the table he should have accepted it if he was going to stay.  The simple delay in his decision makes me wonder about his loyalty to the Purdue program.

I’m not really worried about losing Painter.  There’s a ton of new young coaches that are looking for big time jobs.  I’ve mentioned a few already but I’ll reiterate a few I wouldn’t mind seeing at Purdue if a coaching change is needed.  Shaka Smart (VCU), Brad Stevens (Butler, most likely wouldn’t leave), Steve Lavin (St. John’s), Greg Lansing (Indiana State), and there are a bunch of others that could be a good fit for Purdue. The coaching situation is the least of my worries for Purdue right now.

Robbie Hummel's leadership, athleticism, and intelligence will be sorely missed if he decides to leave Purdue for the 2011-2012 season

What really worries me is what’s going to happen if Painter does leave with Robbie Hummel.  I personally haven’t heard any rumors of Hummel leaving and I don’t think he will.  But, it’s hard to argue that crazier things have happened.  Robbie has a strong relationship with Matt Painter.  He was recruited by Painter and is praised by Painter.  It’s no doubt that Robbie loves Purdue, you could see that when VCU routed Purdue in the round of 32.  Hummel was seen on the sidelines with tears in his eyes while watching Purdue get bent over.  It was hard to watch a kid my age balling his eyes out on the sidelines while his two senior buddies were able to play.  Matt Painter and Purdue not only let down their fan base but also Robbie Hummel.  A kid that has totally committed himself to something greater than he, at this point Robbie Hummel > Purdue basketball program (in my opinion).  The kid works harder than any other player and is probably the most athletically gifted and intelligent.  He’s basketball smart and can make extraordinary plays.  It worries me that Robbie might leave if Painter does.  Where he’ll end up? I have no idea.  Maybe he’ll declare for the NBA draft or leave for Missouri too.  Everyone knows that Hummel can still play and it’s not hidden that his teammates this year really needed him on the court.

As for Purdue’s program.  If Painter leaves and Hummel stays I think they’ll be fine.  If both leave they may be in trouble for a few years.  Coaching changes always hurt recruiting and transfers usually follow as well.  However, with the leadership ability of Lewis Jackson and Robbie Hummel I think Purdue will remain at the top of the Big Ten.

Only time will tell what is going to happen to Purdue but in the long run (next season and years to come) I think Purdue basketball will be just fine.  Hopefully this fall Purdue football can give us something to think and talk about until basketball season starts once more.

 


Coach Matt Painter is 137-63 in his 6 seasons at Purdue, which may be over shortly.

****It’s been reported by espn.com that Painter met with Missouri AD Mike Alden and other Missouri officials who flew to Orlando to meet with Painter who is currently on vacation.

Both parties left in different cars according to a source close to the Kansas City Star.  The source also stated, “The ball is in his court, Purdue has come up with more money. They don’t want to lose him”.  Matt Painter will take at least 1 more day to make a decision.

Once again coaching changes and signings are making headlines and their own March Madness.  Something that really hits close to home is Matt Painter and his future with Purdue.  According to stltoday.com Matt Painter has agreed to meet with the Missouri Tigers. Painter has agreed to meet to discuss the seriousness and commitment level of Missouri’s Athletic Department support towards the mens basketball program.

The Tigers are in search of a new coach after Mike Anderson left early last week to take the vacancy at Arkansas.  Missouri offered Anderson a contract extension of 7 years and about $2 million a year.  Currently Painter makes $1.3 million, which makes Missouri appealing or even leverage for Painter to get Purdue to give him more money.

Reported by stltoday.com a decision will be made by Wednesday (March 30, 2011) and apparently it’s better than a 50% chance that Painter will take the offer.  Personally I’m not too concerned with a 50% chance.  Maybe that’s just my youth and inexperience with how contract offers work.

But, according to a close source with Purdue’s Athletic Department, Purdue’s AD Morgan Burke has met with Indiana State’s head coach Greg Lansing.  This news worries me.  This means that the possibility of Matt Painter leaving has increased.  Why else would Purdue start looking for a new coach?

If Matt Painter does leave I say we wait until the NCAA tournament ends.  That way, we could send a very inviting proposal to Shaka Smart, VCU’s head coach who recently beat Purdue by 18 during the first weekend of the tournament.  That would be my pick to take over for Painter.  Just a thought though.  Heck, I would even try and go after Brad Stevens of Butler. Even though he says he will not leave Butler, you have to take a shot. I also wouldn’t mind Steve Lavin at all.  And I have to ask now that I know how to add polls.  Who would you like or think should take over Purdue’s head coaching job if Painter does leave?


In this post I’m going to talk about some of the reasons why I like Butler to advance not only to the Elite 8 but to the Final Four.

I’m not sure if a team can be considered the Cinderella team two years in a row but I like Butler this year as the “Underdog” once again.  This season (including the NCAA tournament games) Butler is only 3-3 against teams that made it into the tournament.  Their losses were against Louisville (Nov. 16th 2010), Duke (Dec. 4th 2010), and Xavier (Dec. 9th 2010) and their wins against Florida State (Dec. 23rd 2010), Old Dominion (March 17th 2011), and Pittsburgh (March 19th 2011).  Some would say this is a weak resume against teams in the tournament, only two of those teams are left in the tournament not including Butler.  I would have to agree with this claim, that’s not very impressive.  However, the Bulldogs are tough and know how to win tough close games.

“This team is tough because Matt Howard is tough” -Butler Guard Ronald Nored (article from espn.com, Matt Howard leads Butler to Sweet 16) link to article:  http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/tournament/2011/columns/story?columnist=oneil_dana&id=6246779

Howard's workhorse mentality and leadership gives Butler the boost they need to win games

I like Butler making its second trip to the Final Four in two years because of the fact they have Matt Howard.  Howard isn’t the most versatile or flashy player in the game but he gets it done with hard work and hustle.  His energy and work ethic motivates his teammates to work hard and to get better.  They respond to his on and off court leadership. He also leads the team in points per game (16.7) and rebounds per game (7.8).  Howard’s hustle is also second to none.  He has one speed, GO (To quote the great Charlie Sheen) and he doesn’t stop til the game is over. You have to admire that from an athlete that is so gifted.  His hustle and toughness though have gotten him to trouble at times.  Last season he was known to get into foul trouble, this year he’s done better and seems to be playing under more control, which is good news for Bulldogs fans.

I also like Butler’s coach Brad Stevens.  Even though he’s a young coach he knows the game exceptionally well and relates to his players on a very personal level.  You can tell his players respect him and want to play for him.  He brings a sense of family to the program which has not only brought him closer to his players but the whole team and faculty closer together.  Another good thing about Stevens’ youth is that he brings a certain energy to the game that most coaches can only attempt to bring.  I also like his composure. His calm and collected attitude mixed with his passion and energy vibes perfectly with his team.

Shelvin Mack needs to continue his hot shooting to help Butler reach the Elite 8

Shelvin Mack, absolutely lit up the the first round.  In order for Butler to be successful the Bulldogs need more big games out of Mack.  Which I think he’ll have.  He was a part of the amazing run Butler had last year and knows what is needed of him to make the same type of run.  I’m not saying he needs to put up another 30 points but he needs to hit big 3’s with the shot clock winding down or hit open looks (I guess you could say that about any shooter).

I like this team a lot. I think their unselfishness on the offensive end will help them get good looks against the Badgers defense.  The Badgers will put up a great fight but Butler wins in a close game.  I also like Butler in the Elite 8, whether they play BYU or Florida. I like the way they match up against both teams and believe they’ll be successful and will see themselves in Houston!