We all know that fan.
The “diehard” that struggles to name more players on their favorite team than the amount of fingers on their right hand.
The one who breaks out their favorite team’s colors (in Butler’s case, blue and white) just in time for March Madness to roll around each year, conveniently enough. For the other 11 months in the calendar year, those clothes collect dust.
The one who learned everything they know about basketball from instant classics such as Air Bud, Space Jam or Like Mike along with the bits and pieces of all three games they watch every year.
Alright, enough is enough. Truth be told, every team needs casual fans for revenue purposes and positive public buzz alike. Frankly, while it may be a mystery to some, not living and dying by every single bounce of the basketball is probably a logical and much healthier way of living life than its counterpart.
With that said, Butler prides itself on having a classy and knowledgeable fan base. At the very least, it would benefit casual Bulldog fans to brush up on the most basic of facts regarding their favorite program. Especially for the critical season that is coming up.
The criteria for this list is very simple. The more impact a piece of trivia has on the Butler basketball program in upcoming season, the higher it ranks on the list.
Therefore, this list is focused on the current coaches and roster. It does not necessarily have anything to do with the Final Four teams of 2010 or 2011.
When talking Bulldog hoops with your friends, being able to comfortably discuss the following topics (in order) will give off the vibe that you have at least upped your basketball pedigree from Air Bud or Space Jam, for instance, to a real classic like Hoosiers.
Cheesy basketball flicks aside, here are five pieces of trivia that every Butler basketball fan should know.
A 2012 graduate with a broadcasting background in multiple sports, Minner will team with former Bulldog and current color analyst Nick Gardner to call each game. As an undergraduate, Minner regularly contributed to the broadcasts of Butler women's basketball.
In an offseason of turnover for Butler, Minner will replace former play-by-play man Brandon Gaudin, who accepted a similar role at Georgia Tech.
While it may not have any impact on the court, the makeover of an already successful program is nothing to scoff at. It goes further than the head coaching change and hiring such a young play-by-play man is an interesting choice. As strange as it may seem in this day and age, we rarely see such young broadcasters in this type of role.
Continuing a common theme of sorrow for Butler Basketball this summer, former mascot Blue II is experiencing serious heart failure.
Obviously, it has little to no impact to the team on the court. Still, Blue II is synonymous with everything that is Butler basketball.
Nicknamed “America’s Dog”, Blue II was replaced by Trip in March. While his presence affects the psyche of the fans drastically more than the players, it certainly is a blow to an already reeling (thanks to Brad Stevens) Butler community as a whole.
While it may not inspire the players, fans will certainly be watching with heavy hearts this year, and, although Blue II is still with us, that may no longer be the case soon enough.
But hey, anything to stay motivated, right? Let’s cheer our tails off for this team because that’s how Blue II would have wanted it.
Going into the 2013-14 season, the Bulldogs have just two seniors on the roster, forwards Khyle Marshall and Erik Fromm.
Marshall and Fromm are solid players but—for a program that has had senior leadership in the form of Andrew Smith and Rotnei Clarke last year, Ronald Nored and a cast of others two years ago and Matt Howard three years ago—this is unfamiliar territory for the Bulldogs.
The seniors of prior years were the unquestioned leaders of their respective teams. If you asked five people who the leader of this year’s squad will be, you would probably get five different answers.
That is not necessarily a bad thing. Those types of things tend to work themselves out as the season progresses. But with a rookie head coach at the helm, Butler fans would feel much better if they had true senior leadership present on the roster.
Add this one to the long list of question marks for the Bulldogs this season.
If Marshall or Fromm (especially Marshall) could fill that role, great. If not, Butler could be soul searching for the first few months of the 2013-14 season.
People have been quick to compare the situation Brad Stevens stepped into seven years ago and the one Brandon Miller is stepping into now. And I remind them of one simple thing.
Brad Stevens never coached in the Big East.
Stevens won 30 games in his first season as a head coach. But he went up against the likes of Valparaiso, Youngstown State, Cleveland State and Detroit, to name a few. Call me crazy, but those programs are far from the caliber of Marquette, Georgetown and Villanova. The reality for Miller is the latter.
All things considered, moving to the Big East was a great move for Butler. With increased exposure comes increased revenue, and increased revenue is almost never a bad thing. Unless you’re talking to Butler students about their yearly tuition increases.
Yet Butler fans may underestimate the colossal leap they have just made. While it is entirely possibly that they are up to the task, it is important to keep in mind the differences in Stevens’ original situation from Miller’s.
This may seem like a bit of a contradiction, but it’s really not. The message is simple. Expect a year of growing pains, but remain cautiously optimistic.
You could tell me that Butler will fall flat on its face in 2013-14, and I couldn’t disagree with you. You could tell me that the Bulldogs won’t miss a beat, Brandon Miller will be the second coming of Brad Stevens and Blue II will make a miraculous recovery. That wouldn’t surprise me either.
There are a wide range of possible outcomes for the coming year. One reason for optimism? As I wrote here, Butler’s success from a pure winning perspective is nothing short of remarkable in the last five years.
Butler has 11 more wins in the last five seasons than the next closest school (Creighton) that will enter the new Big East Conference. They are 14 ahead of Marquette in this category, 21 ahead of Xavier and 27 ahead of Villanova and Georgetown.
In a business where winning at all cost is what matters, Butler has excelled. It’s hard to argue with their track record
Mixing that record with numerous other variables, however, puts every piece of trivia out there under an intense microscope.