Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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January 21, 2014

Cash greener, but grass not so far for Butler

Butler is still a long way from saving its 2013-14 men’s basketball season, but if the Bulldogs turn it around fully and reach the NCAA Tournament, it will have started this past Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Butler ended its five-game skid in its first Big East slate with a 69-57 overtime victory over Marquette. It wasn’t just any triumph for the players.

“To say this was just a regular win would probably be a stretch,” Butler junior Kameron Woods said.

Butler (11-7, 1-5 as of press time) will have to go 9-3 the rest of the way to hit 20 wins before the Big East tournament, where they’d likely have to reach the semifinal round to make the Big Dance. That’s a tall order for the Bulldogs, who are playing in their third conference in three seasons.

In its previous two, this year’s Bulldogs would be a Horizon League champion and somewhere around the fourth-best team in the Atlantic 10. Right now they’re ninth out of 10 in the reshaped Big East.

Woods has played in each league, and said Saturday that the difference is quite noticeable this year.

“The Horizon was physical, the A-10 was physical, but the Big East is a step up,” Woods said. “I think we’ve learned, in a conference like this, if you don’t show up every night for 40 minutes or however many a game lasts, you can go on runs where it can get ugly.”

One of the best and most life-applicable lines in any sports movie is from Brad Pitt’s Bill Beane in “Moneyball,” when he says, “I made one decision in my life based on money, and I swore I would never do it again.”

Beane said that after turning down a $12.5 million general manager offer from the Boston Red Sox to stay in Oakland. It was rooted in his decision nearly two decades earlier to go pro instead of attending Stanford. Beane was a quick flameout in the majors, and always regretted not going to college.

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