Don’t count Butler out just yet.
With their NCAA hopes hanging by the thread of a Horizon League Tournament championship, Brad Stevens has the Bulldogs marching forward.
Khyle Marshall and Roosevelt Jones each had 17 points and Butler dominated Milwaukee in the second half to get a 71-49 victory and advance to the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament on Friday night in Valparaiso, Ind.
Butler moves on to play league leader Valparaiso.
Putting aside their 20-13 record and 11-7 mark in conference play, Butler has something that no other mid-major in the country can boast, carrying on in their conference tournament: the experience of two straight trips to the Final Four.
Sure, there’s no Gordon Hayward, Matt Howard, or Shelvin Mack, but Ronald Nored, Andrew Smith, and Marshall carry lessons from experience in a championship environment that makes one pause before dismissing these Bulldogs.
Butler is 0-2 this season against their next opponent, Valparaiso, including a 71-59 defeat on Feb. 24th.
But there must be some who hold out hope.
Isn’t there that magic, that one voice that’s whispering, “Give this team one more chance”?
It will be an uphill battle. Even if they can pull the upset over Valparaiso, they would move on to play the winner of Detroit and Cleveland State, teams that they tallied a 1-3 record against in the regular season.
Brad Stevens will have his guys ready because their postseason hopes ride on it. We’ll see if they have found the end of the road or if this Hoosier magic keeps up.