One of my Grandfathers has a scholarship in his name at Butler...the other played golf there. My brother and sister-in-law are Butler grads. A guy I went to high school with is a coach on Brad Steven's coaching staff...and Butler's players and head coach seem to be about as likable as a college team can be. Plus, I have a white-hot hatred for Duke...So, I really want Butler to beat Duke tonight.
But dammit, I hate it.
I hate the fact that all season I talked to friends of mine about how similar Purdue and Butler are...from the scary similarities between Hummel and Heyward...to the fact that Butler's a defensive-minded squad...to lack of any depth in both frontcourts...BUT, they'll be playing on the big stage tomorrow, but my favorite squad won't.
Purdue's been to one Final Four in my lifetime...though I don't remember it. But, unlike Butler, they've sent a ton of very good teams to the dance in the last 30 years...and quite a few 1 seeds. So to see a team like Butler succeed as they have, can you do anything but be envious? From Barry Collier (The Great-Grandfather of the modern Butler coaching tree) down to Stevens, it seems these guys just do things the right way...with maybe one exception. But, the Bulldogs are hard not to like.
Good for real Butler fans...Good for Brad Stevens...Good for those two guys on their team that should have been Boilers. I hope they get a ring tonight.
But, I also understand the ramifications of rooting for Butler.
I can't stand Gonzaga...and it's really not their fault. They've got the same problem that Duke has- Dick Vitale. So, win or lose, do you think Butler deserves anything less than an absolute slobbering by Dukie V and the network for years to come? They absolutely do. And then, Butler will go from a team that I used to root for to a team I absolutely can't stand.
Atop that, Posers and bandwagoners are coming out of the woodwork here in Indy...And it'll only get worse. Those IU fans that have been looking for something to grasp onto since RMK was ran out of town will now have a new favorite team (they probably already do). Grandmas who have no clue who Shelvin Mack is will have Butler window flags on their cars. And alums who haven't gone to a game in Hinkle since they graduated, just bought their first Butler sweatshirts (I'm told Butler's bookstore sales are up 1000% this week).
And if you're reading this, poser Butler grad living near Indy, you're a chump. This year isn't the only year your alma mater's been good...but your sorry arse couldn't manage to make it to 5-10 games/season? Sad.
Hinkle holds just under 11,000...and Butler averaged just under 7,000 casual observers for this season. Nice work.
But make no mistake, I'm not dogging the real Butler fans. You guys deserve a National Championship as much as the long-suffering Purdue fans...OK, maybe not that much...but you deserve it.
So, if you're torn as a Purdue fan by whom you should root for, let me clear it up for you: Not Duke.
In one short year, I believe (or at minimum, hope) my favorite team will be able to get back to Houston and expunge 30 years of painful season-ending memories (from dribbling off the leg, to a season-low scoring output from the player of the year, to losing for a fourth time to the same team, to a blown ACL) from our collective mind.
But as for tonight, Go Dawgs.