Everybody Wants To Be Like Butler

Bobby Curran
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Friday - April 14, 2010
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The NCAA men’s basketball championship game was about as dramatic as you could have hoped for, with the outcome not decided until a fraction of a second after the horn sounded.

It will undoubtedly inspire fans at mid-majors to believe their schools can become the next Butler.

There’s a couple of problems with that. Butler is a mid-major in name only. That is a talented and cohesive group, as their pre-season top 10 ranking indicated.

And then there is the law of unintended consequences. Despite winning two-thirds of the games he’s coached, Dino Gaudio was fired by Wake Forest. They even went to “the dance” the last two years. But with fellow ACC members North Carolina and Duke winning it all in back-to-back years, the Demon Deacons wanted more.

Oliver Purnell left Clemson for Big East doormat DePaul, despite having taken the Tigers to the NCAAs the last three years. Yes, the money will be better, but the biggest difference will be the lessened pressure in Chicago where the expectations are considerably lower.

Boston College parted ways with Al Skinner despite his success, partly because he has the personality of a stone, but also because BC also wants more. A lot of coaches look at Butler and groan. Sure, good for them, but they’ll raise expectations beyond the current level, and maybe beyond reason. If Butler can do it, why can’t you?

If you’re waiting for Duke’s Coach K to take the huge money to bail for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, don’t hold your breath. He didn’t take the Benjamins to go to the Lakers, he’s already wealthy, and has a position of influence at Duke. He’s not going anywhere.

And speaking of the Nets, have you noticed that new Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov is a dead ringer for Florida football coach Urban Meyer, give or take half a foot?

Rarely do coaches, media and fans agree on anything, but just about everybody who has watched spring football practice up at UH is saying the Warriors look really good. Some are citing the competition for a large number of starting jobs, others the work of strength and conditioning coach Tommy Hefferman. Also, the staff role changes seem to have everybody enthused and energized.

Dare we hope that the first Thursday in September will include a Hawaii-style shocker? I’m told that red-shirt freshman QB David Graves has been impressive thus far in the spring. I believe offensive co-coordinator Nick Rolovich when he says the job will go to the man who plays the best. This could get interesting.

The UH men’s volleyball team heads to the Mainland this week with a real chance of securing a home date in the MPSF playoffs. Hawaii closes out the regular season with two matches against UC-Santa Barbara.

Two wins guarantee a top four finish and a host role in the first round. One win might do it as UH owns tiebreakers with BYU, Pepperdine and Cal State-Northridge. Only Stanford has the tie breaker on the Warriors.

Just making the playoffs represented a huge accomplishment for Charlie Wade and his team, but the host role would not only be special, it would allow Hawaii fans to dream big dreams.

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