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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Memphis Possibly to Play Butler Next Season
April 9, 2010
Are there limits? Apparently not

Brad Stevens' news conference Friday was a necessary media "availability" but essentially a non-event. Even Stevens joked that he never thought he'd need to be at a news conference reiterating that he had kept his job.

There was a bit of news. He acknowledged he had "talked to people here and there" about job openings. Stevens was probably being polite to those schools, which he is wont to do. He spoke on the phone three times to former Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny about the Ducks' job opening, but if there was no face-to-face meeting, that doesn't sound serious.

The other news was possible scheduling opportunities for the Bulldogs. Those include Duke, Purdue, and though Stevens didn't say so, Memphis. Stevens said the reality -- that Butler has an elite program -- is finally being caught by the perception.

"I hope this translates into us being able to get neutral-court opportunities and home-and-homes like Gonzaga has," Stevens said.

The unspoken but very real perception about Butler in college basketball was that (1) there is only so far you can go as a mid-major program, and (2) there is only so much a coach can do there. Those can no longer be applied to the Bulldogs. Not after coming within three points of a national championship.

Sophomore point guard Ronald Nored, articulate as always, elaborated on those subjects.

"I don't think there's any cap on being a coach here," Nored said after a team meeting at Hinkle Fieldhouse. "There's definitely not a cap to being a player here."

Nored said there is "obviously" a difference between Butler and a Big Ten program.

"But if you're in it to win, to advance, and it's not all about being a millionaire and that kind of thing, I think Butler is a perfect place," he said. "Because you're going to get great players, you're going to get guys to buy into the system, and, obviously, you can do things like advance to a national championship.

"And the goal, obviously, next year is going to be to win it."

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