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Butler back in a familiar role
“We went out to Applebee’s after the game and he was on the phone the whole time. We started calling him big shot,” shooting guard Rotnei Clarke said, laughing. “It was fun messing with him because he gets a little sensitive about it.”
The Bulldogs (8-2) should be getting used to this after the two tourney runs in 2010 and 2011 and now they’re back at it, winning the Butler Way.
At last month’s Maui Invitational, Clarke hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to knock off Marquette. The next night, Butler steamrolled North Carolina. On Dec. 8, they won at Northwestern, and then the Bulldogs pulled the biggest upset of the early season by taking down their fourth BCS-conference school of the season, Indiana, for the first win over a No. 1 team in school history.
“I was praying it would go in because looked like it was coming out to the right,” said Clarke, who played in some big games at Arkansas but never beat a top-ranked team until transferring to Butler.
The voters have taken notice, too.
Just hours after the Bulldogs wrapped up their morning practice, Butler debuted at No. 19 in this week’s Top 25. The only losses this season have to No. 10 Illinois in Maui and at Xavier.
Stevens is not as impressed as some of the outsiders, especially with what he saw against Indiana.
“My biggest thing is that we didn’t play perfect,” he said. “So we put together a what-if video, a video of about 15 plays that if they had gone the other way, we wouldn’t be as happy today.”
Or as busy dealing with all those outside influences that have become more commonplace when the Bulldogs beat the big boys.
Not that Barlow or his teammates mind, since they know it’s time to get back to reality.
“It’s been crazy, I’ve gotten a lot of texts and phone messages and social media stuff, but I don’t get too caught up in that stuff,” Barlow said. “The coaches do tell us all the time that we can beat anyone on any given day, but they also tell us we can get beaten on any given night. I’m not going to say we expected to win (against Indiana), but it was not a surprise to us.”
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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