The Butler Bulldogs are back in the Final Four. With an incredibly thrilling win against the Florida Gators yesterday, Butler has proven that last years thrilling loss to Duke in the National Championship was not a fluke as they have beaten three highly seeded teams in this years tournament, starting with its defeat of #1 seed Pitt, then beating #4 seed Wisconsin and yesterday the #2 seed Gators.
Butler is impressive. They are a mature team with senior leadership and they know how to play in big games. They play aggressively and they are physical with opponents proven by their outrebounding of Floriday yesterday 41-34. Additionally, they know how to win close games. They are one of 10 teams in the history of the tournament to win three games by less than three points and even during a poor shooting game against Florida, Butler managed to claw back from an 11 point deficit and win in overtime.
All through this run, Butler Head Coach Brad Stevens has proven he is a big time coach. He is y0ung, 34 years old,but he speaks with a maturity and wisdom beyond his years. He credits his players and takes no credit for himself as would be reflective of some in his generation. Instead, he is modest and thoughtful in his comments. After yesterday’s game, the first time he had a microphone in front of him he spoke not of himself or the strategy but he spoke how Florida coach Billy Donovan out coached him and how Butler, not him, is fortunate to have the players that it does.
Humility is a wonderful thing. I look forward to watching Brad Stevens for years to come. He may not ever brag on himself, but I will do it for him-that young man can coach.