1. They’re from Indiana. This is not a team recruited from across the nation – this is a team of home-grown talent. That’s right, ten of the players on the roster played their high school ball in the Hoosier state. And why does that matter? Because for 33 years I lived in Indiana, and I’m still a Hoosier at heart.
2. They’re the underdogs. I know that some people are favoring them against Michigan State, but let’s be for real. MSU is the 8th largest university in the US with a student population of over 45,000 while Butler boasts a student body of 4,500. That extra zero makes a big difference. We’re talking David vs. Goliath here.
3. They’re a team. And basketball is still a team game. Basketball’s not just about talent – it’s about fundamentals, it’s about playing smart, it’s about making the extra pass, it’s about working for the good shot, it’s about blocking out, it’s about making the people around you better – and yes, it’s about playing good defense. (When you play pick-up games in Indiana, there is no such thing as “make it; take it.” When you score, you have to earn the ball back.)
4. There’s no reason to cheer against them. Duke – you get all the calls. Michigan State – you’ve been to more than your fair share of Final Fours. West Virginia – your coach has some major question marks floating above his head (I would give your team props, though, for taking out Kentucky – remember, I’m from Indiana). Butler – there’s nothing bad to say.
So it’s the Bulldogs life for me.
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