- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
- Hillary: ‘Dead broke’ comment was ‘inartful,’ but insists it was ‘accurate’
No. 8 Gonzaga, No. 13 Butler ready to square off
Question of the Day
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Gonzaga served as the model program for college basketball’s non-power conference schools for more than decade.
Butler took that blueprint, revised it and came up with even better results.
On Saturday, college basketball fans will finally get to see America’s two biggest little schools play each other at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse with all the trimmings: A prime-time tip and a national audience on ESPN.
“You talk about the Final Four, bucket list. You talk about Maui (Invitational), bucket list, Preseason NIT, bucket list,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said. “So when (College) GameDay comes to town, you play when they tell you to play.”
The showcase also happens to pit two of America’s best teams, No. 8 Gonzaga and No. 13 Butler, and both are on a roll.
Two-time national runner-up Butler (15-2, 3-0 Atlantic 10) has won 12 straight since losing to Illinois in Maui two months ago. It has already upset then-No. 1 Indiana and then-No. 9 North Carolina, as well as three traditional A-10 front-runners in St. Joseph’s, Dayton and Richmond. It has beaten teams from the ACC (North Carolina), Big East (Marquette) SEC (Vanderbilt) and two Big Ten schools (Indiana and Northwestern), none of them at Hinkle.
A win this weekend would make this the first Butler team to beat three top 10 teams in one season.
One thing fans won’t see is Butler’s top scorer, Rotnei Clarke, who will miss his second straight game with a severely sprained neck. It didn’t bother them in Wednesday’s 62-47 win over Richmond, and the Bulldogs insist they won’t do anything different Saturday, either.
“It’s just our next game,” said 7-foot center Andrew Smith, the only active college player to start in two national championship games. “They’re a great team, but we’ll play just as hard as we always do.”
The Zags, meanwhile, are making a cross-country journey less than 48 hours after playing at Portland.
Gonzaga (17-1, 4-0 West Coast Conference) has won eight straight, is off to the best start in school history and has its own laundry list of big-time wins. The Zags have beaten Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia of the Big 12, Clemson of the ACC and Washington State of the Pac-12. Like Butler, Gonzaga’s only loss came to Illinois.
Unlike Butler, the Zags have never reached a Final Four and haven’t played in a regional final since 1999.
Maybe that will change in 2013. These Zags are big, strong and deep as Portland found out when 7-foot center Kelly Olynyk, the WCC’s top scorer, spent 14 minutes of the first half on the bench because of foul trouble. Gonzaga still won 71-49.
“They have the No. 1 frontcourt in the country,” Portland coach Eric Reveno said after the game. “We forced them to go to Plan B, and their Plan B is almost as good as Plan A.”
What Butler and Gonzaga have done goes far beyond their campuses.
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- GOP Senate candidate: Obama needs to visit Central America
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Murdered teen texted boyfriend: 'OMG ... I think I'm being kidnapped'
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in defamation case
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world