Even in a loss to the defending national champions, Butler shows they're ready to return to the big stage
If you're a Big East opponent, get the Bulldogs while they're still growing. Because this team is going to have something to say once they figure it all out.
Get them while you can. Get these Butler Bulldogs while they’re still growing, still developing, still coming together as a team of transfers who are slowly but surely finding themselves as a quality basketball team.
Look, these aren’t the good old days when Butler (10-5, 1-3 in the Big East) had pros playing for them and reached the national final in 2010 and 2011. Gordon Hayward doesn’t have any eligibility yet.
But if you ask UConn coach Danny Hurley for his impressions of the Bulldogs after the Huskies’ gutsy 88-81 victory over Butler Friday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse – and I did just that – he will tell you without hesitation that Butler is closing in on becoming a problem for Big East opponents.
“I have so much respect for the Butler program and playing in this building, the history and tradition, and what Thad (Matta) has been able to put together in a very short amount of time,” Hurley said. “That’s an NCAA-caliber team right now. They’re one of the toughest teams to guard that we’ve played this year…
“It’s amazing what he’s done from year one to year two. They’ve got four guys who can score 15, 18, 20 or more points…They’re an NCAA caliber team, a top 30, top 40 team easy.”