Originally written November 21, 2012 on The Sports Rocker:
Last night, Butler beat North Carolina in basketball. It was a tale of two halves. Butler dominated the first 20 minutes and some of the second half until Carolina made a good run to cut it to a single digit lead. But should we be surprised that Butler beat Carolina?Butler was leading UNC 35-18 at halftime, and built their lead to more than 20 points before Carolina made a valiant comeback. ESPN calls it a "stunning upset." But why? Was it simply because UNC was ranked in the top 10 and Butler isn't ranked at all? It's time to give Butler their due. Butler has made it to two of the last three national championship games, and only lost to Duke by two points. Prior to the 2009-10 championship game, Butler had won 24 straight games, and beat #1 seed Syracuse, #2 seed Kansas State, and #5 seed Michigan State before falling to Duke in the NCAA tournament. In the 2010-11 NCAA tournament, Butler beat #1 seed Pittsburgh, #4 seed Wisconsin, #2 seed Florida, and #11 seed Virginia Commonwealth, that years certified Cinderella team.Granted, last year Butler was relegated to the CBI tournament, but still finished the year at 22-15.Butler has also started sending players to the pro leagues. Matt Howard is playing overseas. Shelvin Mack was drafted by the Wizards in 2011. (Mack was waived this October.) Gordon Heyward was drafted in 2010 by the Utah Jazz after his sophomore year.For Butler head coach Brad Stevens, this is his 6th season at the helm, and he's missed the NCAA tournament only once.With all of that, why should we be shocked that Butler beat UNC? It is because of the heritage and brand name recognition that comes with the Tar Heels? Brad Stevens has built a solid program at Butler, and it's time to stop treating them like the younger brother.Butler is playing their first season in the Atlantic-10 this season, so we'll see how good they are this year. But let's stop acting surprised when they beat someone poll voters shouldn't think they should.
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