â†µThere's still a great deal of value in those BracketBusters games, but I will completely give Butler a pass for jumping out of the event this season to face Duke. That is exactly the kind of tradeoff you'd like to make if you're a mid-major. However, it's one that few of them can secure. They get Duke on a somewhat neutral floor. (They're playing in New Jersey, where Duke has played a few games over the years and they'll certainly have a larger crowd than the Bulldogs, but at least they don't have to go to Cameron Indoor.) The Indianapolis Star has the details: â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥ Butler tentatively had been scheduled to play at Illinois-Chicago in a Horizon League game Dec. 4. Now, Butler and UIC will meet on the Saturday in February reserved for BracketBuster weekend, in which teams outside major conferences are paired. â†µâ‡¥â†µAside from the fact that Butler is doing the right thing by jumping at the right matchup, its athletic department is making a big statement by making the move. â†µ
â†µâ‡¥The development leaves Butler with two more games to schedule in 2010-11. The university is seeking both to be home on Saturdays: Nov. 13 and Dec. 11. Butler already has non-league home games with Stanford, Ball State and Evansville, plus nine in the league. â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µâ‡¥ Graves said Butler would be willing to pay a financial guarantee on at least one of the dates. Butler would resume BracketBuster participation with a home game in 2012. â†µâ†µ
â†µIt's not unheard of for a mid-major to give a financial guarantee, but it's hardly common. The fact that Butler is willing to pony up a few bucks out of its budget for a guaranteed home game should be an encouraging sign for Bulldogs fans. That, along with the extension for coach Brad Stevens that stretches out somewhere beyond my lifetime and yours, indicate that the Butler administration is interested in sinking the necessary money into the program to sustain its current level of success. Oh, and if I'm the coach of another rising mid-major, I'm already on the phone calling Stevens and Butler to find out how I can get that game with a guarantee. â†µâ†µ
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