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Let’s keep VCU’s blow-out win over No. 20 Butler in perspective

Mar 2, 2013, 2:10 PM EDT

Briante Weber, Roosevelt Jones

VCU thoroughly embarrassed No. 20 Butler on Saturday afternoon, taking them to the woodshed for 40 minutes as the Bulldogs couldn’t find an answer for the Rams’ ‘Havoc’.

The final score was 84-52, with an added emphasis coming from that number just to the left of Butler’s name that doesn’t happen to show up next to VCU’s name. In other words, when an unranked team blows out a ranked team, people take notice. And when that ranked team happens to be Butler, who owns wins over the current No. 1 team in the country (Indiana) and the team that everyone expects to take over the No. 1 spot on Monday (Gonzaga), it becomes a major story.

But before anyone goes and crowns VCU and relegates Butler back to the CBI, let’s keep everything in perspective.

For starters, rankings don’t actually mean anything. You want to look at standings that matter, look at Kenpom. He has VCU 21st in the country; Butler’s 52nd. Butler’s entire resume is built on three buzzer-beating wins: Rotnei Clarke’s 25-foot runner vs. Marquette in the Maui Invitational, Alex Barlow’s floater in the lane in overtime against Indiana, and Roosevelt Jones’ steal and running one-hander against Gonzaga. Three shots are the difference between a No. 20 ranking for Butler and the bubble.

VCU also just so happens to be the worst possible matchup for the Bulldogs. To beat the Rams, you need strong ball-handlers to beat their press and a point guard that is able to get into and execute your sets. Butler has Rotnei Clarke (not a natural point guard), Alex Barlow (a former walk-on) and Kellen Dunham (a freshman jump-shooter), and their game-plan coming in was to use Roosevelt Jones (a forward) to beat the press.

The result?

A lot of live-ball turnovers that lead directly to layups. The halftime score was 45-21. VCU had 24 points off of turnovers. You do the math.

So while I agree that Butler is overrated and will likely be overseeded, let’s not overreact here. Their three biggest wins of the season are as quintessentially Butler as it gets. This is a team that’s known for their ability to find ways to win even when they get outplayed.

Getting smacked around by a really good team — that just so happens to be an awful matchup — on the road in a raucous environment is not a reason to get off the Butler bandwagon.

But hey, maybe we should start talking a little bit more about Shaka Smart’s club.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. cranespy - Mar 3, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Enjoy it VCU fans…….Shaka will cash in soon!

  2. shakau2 - Mar 3, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    cranespy – I assume you are an embarrassed Butler fan – or perhaps maybe a fan of one of the many other big-name programs that VCU has humiliated – and it makes you feel better suggesting they will be humbled when somebody “big” offers him money, fame & fortune. Or, maybe you just want revenge on VCU – either way, they have been winning big and beating the “big boys” for something like 10 years now, and under 3 different coaches. So, maybe it would be easier on you to just accept that the Rams are better than your team and pray you don’t have to play VCU in the NCAA Tournament. That is, IF your team gets in! Also, for the record, Shaka has altready “cashed in”, plus he has turned down numerous “big name” programs – so it looks like he’s being honest when he says (repeatedly) that he really likes being at VCU, and that his wife & daughter like it there, too. Just like Butler’s Stevens & the Zag’s Mark Few, Coach Smart’s program is one of the very best – anywhere. Sorry!

  3. westof1club - Mar 3, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Shaka’s not going anywhere. After Capel’s debacle in OK and Anthony Grant’s holding pattern at AL, Smart knows VCU fans will revere his name for staying in Richmond.

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