Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No Money, No Problem

If you've been a loyal reader over the past 11 and a half months, you'll know a few things about Daily Onions: We bleed Syracuse Orange, we love college basketball and we've become enamored with the Butler basketball program, more specifically their coach Brad Stevens (still waiting for my chance to do a flying chest bump with him). Did this affection start when the Dawgs ruined Syracuse's National Championship hopes in the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 in 2010? Maybe, but let's not talk about the game anymore.

Stevens and Butler have their eyes set on a 3rd straight Final Four appearance
Last night on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, they profiled Stevens and his accomplishments over the past 4 seasons at Butler. Everyone knows about the back to back National Championship game appearances. But what you might not realize, is that in his first four seasons as a head coach, Stevens has the most wins in NCAA history during that time. Coach K's first four years, Jim Boeheim's first four years, Calipari, Pitino, Knight, Huggins, etc, none of them had more wins in their first four years as a head coach.

Its been well documented that Butler is the small, bare bones, Indiana basketball school right out of the movie Hoosiers. Their home court, Hinkle Field House, was built 83 years ago (83!) right before the Great Depression in 1928.

The most interesting and unbelievable piece of last night's story was when Stevens was asked about Butler's recruiting budget. It was estimated that Butler men's basketball program spent about $73,000 on recruiting in 2010 (a number in which Stevens called a bit inflated). Let's compare that number to the teams that Butler played in the National Championship game the past two years, Duke and UConn.  In 2010, Coach K and the Blue Devils spent over $900,000, while UConn spent close to $525,000 (and Jim Calhoun isn't giving back one dime of that).

Duke spends 13 times as much on recruiting as Butler does, yet the Dawgs have ended up in the final game in the past two seasons (a couple inches away from beating Duke in 2010).

Hinkle Field House in Indianapolis (pic:Butler Athletics)
Stevens says that its all about recruiting the kids that will become the players you want them to be in college, as well as getting kids that will play with 'moxy' (his words). When asked if he thinks Butler can get back to the final game for an unprecedented third time in a row, Stevens says its all about winning the next game, winning the next play.

One of the next times that Butler steps on the court, December 3rd against Valpo to be exact, Daily Onions will be there in person, getting its first look in person experience at Hinkle Field House. If given the opportunity, you can guarantee we'll try to measure the height of the rim (10 feet) and the distance to the foul line (15 feet), since Hinkle has "the exact same measurements as our gym in Hickory."

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