Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Getting Prepared

The Butler Bulldogs faced the media and hit the practice floor this afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum. Safe to say, this team is keeping things very loose...but are also very confident in what they're capable of doing tomorrow against LSU.

Practice was light, with just some competitive shooting drills. Pretty standard for a practice open to the public, and constrained to 40 minutes in length.

The Bulldogs arrived at the coliseum around 11:00am, with Coach Stevens, Matt Howard, and Willie Veasley representing Butler at their scheduled news conference, which took place at about 11:20am. While that was going on, however, the rest of the squad was in the locker soundbytes to many of Indy's local media-types. Heck, even Coach Stevens made it back in time to answer a few more of our burning questions. What a lucky guy.

It didn't take long, though, for the mood to change completely inside Butler's locker room. When we first entered, most of their eyes were glued to a television hanging from the wall. From nowhere, a game of "Catch Phrase" broke out...and it became pretty clear that this group isn't feeling any sort of pressure to live up to anyone's standards but their own. You'll notice in the video that Veasley and Howard had returned to the locker room by this time...and were greeted with more questions to answer. At least all they had to talk about was how this team knows how to stay loose, and have fun.

Eventually the Dawgs made their way to the practice court. Not a lot to see here, unless you like seeing made shot, after made shot. They kept it simple...nothing monster dunks for the crowd, although I did see Chase Stigall get rejected by the rim on one occasion. To his credit, I also saw him throw one down with authority...but the rejection brought on some serious "razzing" from a few teammates, and one coach. The session was over in the blink of an eye.

To my surprise, I didn't see a single Butler fan in the stands watching today's public practice (although I was told later there were about five who watched). Not surprising at all that about 98% of the people watching this afternoon's public practice were wearing Tar Heel blue. They're everywhere down here.

Something I hadn't thought about until after today's session was over (and not understanding why I hadn't seen any Butler fans yet) is what the impact of Butler's 1st-round game being on Thursday will be. Last year in Birmingham it seemed like Butler fans were everywhere, but that game was on a Friday and most of the fans rolled into Alabama on Thursday night. This time around, it will be interesting to see how many fans are able to show up on a Wednesday night.

One thing is for sure, I'll be out looking for Butler fans tonight. Also, part of the fun for the fans (and us media folks) at the NCAA Tournament is chatting up people that have a different team they're pulling for. Last year while traveling with Butler, it was nearly impossible to go 50-feet without a Louisville fan coming up and saying something along the lines of, "Ya'll killed us in '03." I think I'm going to have to find a "social setting" and see what this set of fans thinks about the Bulldogs.

No comments:

Post a Comment