LEXINGTON, Ky. – Before Butler can move forward, it has a date with its past.
Card-carrying members of the college basketball elite after joining the Big East on Wednesday, the sixth-seeded Bulldogs (26-8) are long removed from their days as the cute and cuddly upset specialists in the NCAA tournament. That role now belongs to the likes of Bucknell, which faces Butler in the NCAA tournament's East Region on Thursday.
Bucknell coach Dave Paulsen says Butler "really kind of set the gold standard," and that he's modeled the Bison after the Bulldogs.
Smart move. While Gonzaga may have been the first "small school" to make a dent in the stranglehold the power conferences had on the tournament, it was Butler that turned it into a free for all.