For me, I’m loving Butler’s tournament run because of my memories of Richmond High School’s semi-state games in Hinkle Fieldhouse and because my dad played football for Coach Hinkle. For many, I’m sure their appeal is that they’re the only Indiana team left standing, and for many more across the nation, there is the perennial love of the underdog. (I suspect there will be long time Bulldogs fans annoyed at the bandwagon effect — like earlier followers of a band who begrudge the band its popularity following a string of hits.)
Brad Stevens, their coach, seems like a stand-up guy, speaking softly but carrying a big stick. In sport, he’s like the antithesis of blow hards like Rex Ryan (or his political equivalent, Chris Christie) whose big mouth gets him attention in excess of his accomplishments. And the Bulldogs players don’t look like anything terribly special, except they’re tough and they are winning.
After beating Florida in overtime yesterday afternoon, Butler is going to the Final Four for the second year in a row; a feat not accomplished too often by the mega-programs, let alone by a small school like Butler. So, they’re still a feel good story, but by repeating, they’re no longer a flash in the pan. Bob Kravitz observed that, whereas last year, they were cute and cuddly, this year they’re “as cuddly as a dyspeptic grizzly.”