There has been much speculation surrounding the Indiana Hoosiers atop the College Basketball polls. Can Cody Zeller provide scoring late in close games? Does Victor Oladipo have enough refined talent to go with all of his raw talent? Is Jordan Hulls ready to be the senior leader that this team is going to need? These are the questions that the nation is having a hard time answering. If Zeller can dominate, so could they. The evolution of Oladipo will have a major bearing on their success and Hulls’ leadership abilities will be called into question when Big 10 play begins. But this isn’t the weekend to talk about Indiana’s elite status, because right now, they aren’t even the best team in their state.
Meet the 2012 Butler Bulldogs, who are led by one of the best coaches in College Basketball and by now, are just sick of seeing Cody Zeller’s face.
On Saturday, the Hoosiers and Bulldogs took to the CBS stage at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. The crowd was just about split in two, those in red confident, and those in blue hopeful that their team could hijack the state war and upset the Nation’s top team.
40 minutes couldn’t separate the two teams but after the overtime period an Alex Barlow floater solidified a Butler win. Roosevelt Jones, Andrew Smith, and Eric Fromm, the three players respectively big enough to guard Zeller had all fouled out before the end of regulation, Rotnei Clarke was in need of a respirator in the face of relentless Indiana pressure in the back court, and Brad Stevens could only pray for his team to grab a defensive rebound. There was nothing about Butler’s frantic OT play that was pointing to an eventual 88-86 win. They had to take the first open shot they could get on every offensive possession, and on the other end, expended all of their energy to defend the multi-faceted Hoosier attack.
Everyone regards Butler as a mid-major team, so I’ll pose the question, what does “mid-major” even mean anymore? Not only did the Bulldogs knock the Hoosiers out of the no. 1 spot in the polls, but they gave us another reason to throw those words away.