Blue II

Former Butler mascot Blue II dealing with heart failure

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Life as a retiree hasn’t been as smooth as anticipated for former Butler mascot Blue II, who handed the leash over to Blue III (also known as “Trip”) during Senior Day festivities on March 9.

Blue II’s official duties as school mascot were completed in May, but since then health issues have made life difficult for the bulldog much of American fell in love with during Butler’s run to the 2010 national title game.

On Thursday Blue II “chronicled” his health issues since the spring, revealing to readers that he’s been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. DCM affects both sides of Blue II’s heart, and is the latest blow for a dog who was already diagnosed with Cushing’s disease.

Cushing’s disease “occurs when a tumor forms on the pituitary gland in the brain, which sends mixed messages to the adrenal glands, which in turn causes the immune system and body to get out of whack.”

Below is a small excerpt of Blue II’s message to the Butler community:

As our coaches often say to the Butler student-athletes, “Leave it all on the field!” I certainly left it all on the field and frankly, I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, I’m not certain there’s ever been a dog to live a life as charmed as mine.

No doubt, my diagnosis and subsequent prognosis is grim, but thanks to the great care I’ve received, I’ve recovered enough to be able to head home to be with those I love.

So the bad news is I have irreversible heart disease, and it’s likely I won’t be back to Butler any time soon. The good news is, I feel much better, I’m eating well, and I have some more time to spend with my family. I’m a lucky Dawg!

In Blue II’s nine seasons as mascot Butler posted a record of 117-19 at Hinkle Fieldhouse, with the Bulldogs making appearances in the national title game in 2010 and 2011.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.