Feature: Last-Second Drama

The 411 on Butler, a Championship Cinderella

Author: Kat Hasenauer
Published: April 04, 2010 at 11:53 am
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Now that Butler University will face Duke University Monday evening for the National Championship, Google searches for "Where is Butler," "Butler University," "Butler Bulldogs" and "Butler Basketball" will likely be through the roof. Impress your friends on Monday with these facts about this year's Cinderella team.

Butler Loves Basketball
Butler's men's basketball teamLocated just five miles outside of Indianapolis, Indiana, Butler University has a long lasting basketball tradition.

The school's basketball program has existed since 1896, and from 1928 to 1971, Hinkle Fieldhouse played host to the Indiana high school basketball tournament.

The 1954 state championship, where small school Milan beat giant Muncie Central, was played at Hinkle and was the impetus for the epic basketball movie Hoosiers. The movie even filmed the state final scenes in the fieldhouse.

The Bulldogs themselves are not without a national basketball championship in their history - they won the 1924 and 1929 national championships, well before March Madness, Dick Vitale and brackets.

The Major Mid-Major

For a purported mid-major, Butler has been a force in Division I basketball for years. Playing in the Horizon League, the Bulldogs have won 20 games in a season eight times in the past decade. They have also reached postseason play 12 times since 1996. The only years they did not make a postseason tournament of some kind were 2003 and 2004.

Since 2007, Butler has made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament every year. They have won the Horizon League championship 10 times, and the regular season championship 9 times. They routinely beat major conference teams every regular season, making their "mid-major" classification a beat misleading.

More Than Basketball

For a relatively small school - Butler's total student body is a mere 4,512 students - the Bulldogs athletic program is substantial. They have 19 varsity sports, as well as a number of strong club sports programs. The football program plays in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League and has a long lasting rivalry with Valparaiso University. Both teams play for possession of the "Hoosier Helmet Trophy" and those all-important bragging rights.

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Article Author: Kat Hasenauer

Kat Hasenauer is a freelance sportswriter specializing in hockey, lacrosse, football and Olympic sports. She also has an interest in the study of sports fan behavior and sportswear. Kat writes about lacrosse for Examiner.com, and is a contributing writer for Beantown Athletic Supporters. …

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