Blog Entry

Dear Gary (on Butler's ranking)

Posted on: December 30, 2009 12:21 pm

Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Explain to me how Butler can possibly be ranked in anyone's Top 25? I just don't get it.

-- Magee

I didn't rank Butler for the first time all season, but I don't have a huge problem with those who did. The Bulldogs' 8-4 record doesn't look too hot, I admit. But none of the losses are bad losses, and they've got two good wins.

Take a look:

----- BUTLER -----

Record: 8-4
Notable wins: No. 15 Ohio State (home), No. 25 Northwestern (away).
Losses: No. 13 Georgetown (neutral), No. 21 Clemson (neutral), No. 24 UAB (away), Minnesota (neutral)

If you want to look at this positively, you'd point out that Butler has what appears to be a nice road win at Northwestern, and no losses to teams that aren't on pace to make the NCAA tournament. That's good. On the other hand, the win over Ohio State came while Ohio State was missing its best player, the UAB loss was lopsided, and a real Top 25 team probably ought to be able to get either Georgetown, Clemson or Minnesota on a neutral court.


I can see both sides.

So if you want to rank Butler, I'm OK with it.

If not, that's fine, too.

In reality, the Bulldogs are probably in that 20 to 35 range.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Mar 21, 2008
Posted on: December 30, 2009 4:25 pm

Dear Gary (on Butler's ranking)


I'm sure that Coach Larranaga of George Mason told his team the same thing the year they made the Final Four...

"Guys, we're just not athletic enough. We shouldn't make the tournament, and no way we make the Final Four!" Tongue out

Butler has talent. Not as much as Kansas or Kentucky, but they have three very solid players and a supporting cast, that COULD make a run. But I kinda agree that it would have to be pretty near to a perfect storm...Like not having any teams who were really big or athletic in their regional.

Since: Jun 18, 2009
Posted on: December 30, 2009 12:49 pm

Dear Gary (on Butler's ranking)

They probably belong more in the 35 to 45 range.

I still think they're deserving of an at-large spot, but not with any real safety net.  The Horizon League probably won't expose them much with many losses, but from they way they've played against likely mid-pack Big-Six teams in Minnesota, Clemson, and possibly Georgetown, this team probably wouldn't be much better than .500 in any of those conferences.

Part of the problem is the inherent limitations of Matt Howard.  He's a relatively thin and unathletic 6-7 center that Stevens has come to rely on in the team's offense.  When his game isn't there, this team doesn't have the shooters to carry the offense.  It works out okay in the post-player-deficient Horizon League and against mediocre big men like Kosta Koufos, but he's not developed the turnaround jumper that would help his game significantly as an undersized post player.

That's when you see having a non-scoring point guard really hurt the team.  Nored's man can sag off to help down low and take away driving lanes, since Ron isn't any real threat to score with the jumper.  Mike Green could drive and dish or pull up and score to keep the defense honest, giving Matt more room to work and get good position in the post.

They'll probably go 15-3 or 16-2 in conference and find their way into the tournament again, but this team as it's put together right now is no real threat to make a run deep into March.  The personnel just isn't there.

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