Brad Stevens Butler Bulldogs Shooting Performance Matt Howard Uconn Champions

NCAA 2011 Basketball Championship Game: Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs Come Up Short Once Again
April 5, 2011 – 10:30 am by Michael Bean
This wasn’t supposed to be how it ended for the Butler Bulldogs. Heading into last year’s title game against Duke, I don’t think too many people thought the Bulldogs would clip Duke and cut the nets down as national champions. This year felt different though.  Butler had been playing outstanding basketball all tournament long, and though Connecticut was a formidable opponent that was on a roll, it still seemed like Brad Stevens’ squad might actually finish off the Cinderella story and be crowned champions. It wasn’t meant to be. Butler set a new record for futility, shooting just 18.5 percent on 12-of-64 shooting. They made just three two-point buckets all night, with their first points in the paint not coming until there were roughly six minutes left in the second half. So for the second year in a row, there will be no hardware coming back to Indianapolis, but for Matt Howard and the other four seniors on the Butler squad who helped lead the small school to the biggest of stages in men’s college basketball, there will be lifelong memories that they’ll be able to think back on fondly for years to come.
Butler head coach Brad Stevens joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about how much sleep he got last night, what it was like inside the Butler locker room after the disappointing performance, how he felt like his team took plenty of good shots that simply just didn’t go down like they normally do, how UCONN’s impressive team and individual defense played a big part in Butler’s woeful shooting, if this year’s title game loss stings more than last year’s, if he would change anything about he prepared his team were he given a coaching mulligan, what he said to star senior Matt Howard following the game, and how he plans on being back at Butler provided he’s not run out of town for his team’s poor showing on Monday night.
On how much sleep he got last night:
“I slept reasonably. We got up for an early flight but we got delayed a little bit so we might be sitting here awhile. But we’re just spending time together as a group, and some of these guys are going to be moving on after that so you’re going to cherish every minute with them.”
What the Butler locker room was like after last night’s loss:
“Really difficult, but you never prepare for that last locker room. But, we were one of two teams that knew we were going to have our senior sendoff. And we were really fortunate that that was the case. But it was really hard, our guys wanted to shoot the ball better, there’s no question about that. And anytime you go 12-for-64 you’re not going to win. But it’s kind of remarkable that if we had shot 25 percent, we would have been one possession down with a chance to win the game.”
How he would have felt as a coach if he had just been shown where his team would shoot from, not whether they were successful attempts or not:
“I would have felt pretty good. I think we hit only three 2s the whole night. We really struggled in the paint, and their length and aggressiveness had a lot to do with that. I think Connecticut, and certainly I think there’s a lot of good teams that we’ve played, but I think defending in that 40 minutes, that was the best team that we played in the last two years. They challenge shots, you know, you think you’re open for a split second, and Jeremy Lamb is in the lane and you’re at the three point line and he challenges your shot as well as most guys would from five feet away; Oriakhi is a terrific defender. Oriakhi might be as good as an interior defender as we’ve played since Zoubek with Duke. So my hats off to them. We went 12-of-64.  Do I think we missed some that we normally do? Yes. Do I think they had a lot to do with a lot of those other misses? Yes.”
Whether this year or last year’s loss in the title game stings more:
“This year right now because we’re only 12 hours removed from it. But I always talk about this after we win, and I want to look at it the same after we lose — this is about the way you prepare, the way you act, and the way you compete. And again, I would have liked to have won, this is two years in a row that our season has ended on the first Monday in April. But I’m not regretful with how our guys go about their way and the way that they played in any way.”
If he had a coaching mulligan, is there anything he would have done differently to prepare his team for UCONN:
You know, that’s a great question. I thought defensively we played as well as we had all tournament. Until we started gambling a little bit and trapping late, they were really struggling to score too. We were really good on Walker, we were really good on all their ball screens. I thought our guys were absolutely terrific defensively. You know, I think the thing you’d probably say is I think we probably needed to work the ball for another reversal or two to try to see if we could get a better shot. But sometimes in the heat of a game or if things are not quite going your way, you try to force it to make it go your way. That’s human nature. But again, I think our guys did what they could and sometimes it comes down to did you knock down a few to keep yourself in a game and give yourself a chance. Every single time the last two years we’ve done that, and last night we didn’t.”
On what he said to his start senior Matt Howard after the loss:
“Well all five seniors. But with Matt, I talked to the whole team about him and all five seniors. And with Matt specifically, I just said we don’t have enough time and there aren’t enough words to express what you mean not to our team but to Butler University. He’s an amazing person, he’s an amazing competitor. He’s hurting because he didn’t play as well as he would have liked to. But you know what’s beautiful about Matt Howard is he was hurting after league games when he didn’t play as well as he would have liked to. For four years he never took a day off in the classroom and on the court. To me, he’s a poster boy for what this should be all about.”
If he’s received any inquiries from schools about leaving Butler to be their coach:
“I haven’t heard from one place. Nobody’s called and nobody’s talked, and now I have to say Dan, I’ve turned my cell phone off most of the time. Anything else is speculation and talk because I know this: nobody’s talking to me and nobody’s talking to my wife.”
Is he planning on being at Butler next year:
“Well if they’ll keep me. They may not want me. But again, this is a place where if they want me to be their coach, right now this is where my job is.”
Listen here to Stevens on The Dan Patrick Show
Tags: Brad Stevens, Butler Bulldogs, Butler shooting stats, Dan Patrick Show, Matt Howard, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, UCONN wins national title

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