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Butler finally lost in March, but don’t get used to it


Brad Stevens hadn’t lost a game in March in 1,080 days. That’s beyond remarkable. It’s actually a little unbelievable. Not losing in almost a three-year span? That’s Wooden-esque.

Makes Saturday’s 65-46 loss to Valparaiso a milestone of sorts. It was the day Butler finally ran out of March magic.

For now.

The Bulldogs may have ended the season 20-14, but this season showed that despite all the hiccups – missed 3s! – and bad luck – five losses by less than six points – they could still put together a run that made them the talk of the town for a bit.

“Could Butler get back to the Big Dance?” “Watch out!” “They’ve won eight of nine!”

In the end, it was one of the teams that was Butler before there was a Butler that ended it (you’ve seen this highlight a bazillion times). We can all spend time appreciating what the Bulldogs did the last two seasons as we spend a March without them for the first time since 2006. Back-to-back Final Fours is a remarkable feat for any school, let alone a Horizon League program with a basketball budget the size of Kentucky’s recruiting costs.

But while we’re all doing that, remember this: Butler will be back. And back in a big way.

The Bulldogs add two players they desperately needed this season in transfer Rotnei Clarke and incoming freshman Kellen Dunham, two players who can stretch defenses thanks to their shooting. (Yeah, it was a rare season in which Butler couldn’t hit from outside. Maybe it was a season-long hangover from the UConn game.)

Add those two to a roster that remains essentially unchanged – only senior Ronald Nored will be gone – and it’s a team that not only should win the Horizon League, but also do something most of America usually sees.

Make a run in March.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.