Butler’s bulldog mascot, Blue II, sidelined with pneumonia

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He became the wrinkled face of Butler’s two cinderella runs to the NCAA tournament title game, but he has fallen sick of late.

Blue II, the Bulldog mascot and courtside fixture for Butler, “tweeted” Wednesday that he would be heading back to the veterinarian’s office for another round of IV infusions to treat pneumonia.

The eight-year-old English Bulldog has been Butler’s mascot for nearly his entire life and is the mentor to the mascot-in-waiting, Blue III.

His rise to fame has coincided with that of the school he represents, having graced the cover of Indianapolis Monthly near the peak of Butler’s national appeal.

Blue needs to rest up, though, because he’ll have a big season ahead of him.

The Bulldogs are moving to the A-10, having expedited their departure from the Horizon League and joined the conference with Virginia Commonwealth.

Conference match-ups were released yesterday and Butler did not get a friendly draw, having to play Saint Louis twice, along with Dayton, St. Joe’s, and VCU on the road.

Brad Stevens led Butler to a 22-15 record last season, including 11-7 in the Horizon League, and a berth in the CBI tournament.

Guard Ronald Nored will be graduating, but Butler returns most of their other assets. In addition, the Bulldogs will be bringing in Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke and four-star guard Kellen Dunham.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.