It’s no secret, I immediately hate teams that beat Butler (particularly in the post-season) and pretty much hate them until Butler ends up beating them. i sometimes even end up hating entire states just because Butler lost a few games there (NY after '02 and '03, there is a HATE on that heart).
Ever since an overtime loss to Syracuse in 2002, I have been eyeing scenarios for the rematch. I don’t think anybody else cares or even faintly remembers that game. I heard no mention of it on the broadcast last night. I suppose it was just an NIT second round game, but it was an overtime loss where Syracuse won by just one point with Butler unable to make a final layup as time expired. Last year in the South region, I was looking forward to meeting Syracuse in the Elite Eight, but neither of us made it. Back in 2003 if Butler could have won just one more game and advanced to the Elite Eight in Albany, we would have had a chance for our revenge. Finally, we met again. Syracuse loss avenged.
The whole game I was hoping it wouldn’t be another memory of how Butler played the eventual tournament champion tough, but just couldn’t pull it out. We pulled it out. Some Syracuse fans are saying how they gave us the game and while they admittedly did have some awful, careless turnovers, Butler’s defense was tough. It’s not like Butler was on fire as they were in the second half vs. UTEP, we struggled shooting. Yet we still managed to beat the best team in the Big East. Their asterisk next to this game will read that Syracuse beat themselves and didn’t have center Arinze Onuaku. Ironically, before the game nobody seemed to think that would matter much as they were predicted to win anyway. As a side note, I prefer playing a press. They don’t challenge dribbling or passes around the perimeter which usually makes me nervous. It seems to give good looks from 3 and around the free throw line. Butler played another subpar game, yet somehow managed to beat a top Big East team and #1 seed? I don’t know if I’ll ever figure out how they pull out these wins. Even against Horizon League teams all year, I wondered how they came out on top many times.
After every win against one of the big schools, they attribute the loss to how they beat themselves or if they had played their best game it wouldn’t have been close. There always seems to be an excuse when Butler beats a good team. Will Butler ever get credit for winning? Maybe after its 26th straight victory?
We beat Ohio State this year, but the asterisk reads “Almighty Evan Turner was hurt” (reasonable asterisk because he totally changes that team but we get to play them again anyway). We beat Xavier this year, asterisk reads “The clock malfunction caused them to lose” (despite a real time countdown showing our last second shot would’ve counted either way). After three more wins, Butler would be crowned National Champions of college basketball with an asterisk that reads “They have their excuses, we have a national championship.”