Butler Gains More Respect For Horizon League Ousting #1 Seed Pitt


The Horizon League usually gets just one team into the NCAA’s Big Tournament every year.  The last two years, Butler has been the one team from the conference to represent.  Last year they went all the way to the finals before losing to Duke in the closing seconds. This year, they knocked #1 seed Pitt out of the tournament with a dramatic 71-70 win on a Matt Howard free throw with less than a second remaining.

The last time Butler lost was at Youngstown State, 62-60, on February 3.  The Bulldogs, at that point, were a question mark to even make it back into the tournament field this postseason.  However, they got hot at the right time, won the Horizon League Tournament, and snared the automatic bid.


Here is where my gripe begins with the selection committee.  There were eleven Big East teams in the tournament.  Eleven.  Why? Yeah, the Big East has some good teams, but the lone Horizon entry knocked out the best (by seeding).  St. John’s had no business being in the field of 68.  Villanova was another questionable choice.  Georgetown stunk.  For Butler to have as many losses in the Horizon League as they did and still win tournament games, why doesn’t Valpo or Cleveland State get an at-large bid? The NIT is in New York, so Villanova and St. John’s wouldn’t have had to travel far to play where they belonged.

I hope Butler rolls through their bracket and wins the whole thing.  It is unlikely, but they are representing a whole conference that is undervalued by everyone from the tournament selection committee and ESPN.  Yep, the giant sports channel does little more than roll a few Horizon League scores on their ticker every half hour or so.

Butler isn’t the only team to do the conference proud.  Homer Drew had some moments with Valpo and Cleveland State has made some noise in recent tournaments.

The “experts” would be hard-pressed to find a conference that has had a better overall winning percentage than the Horizon League in the past ten tournaments.  How about a little respect?

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