On A Mission

In a world that salivates over cupcake boutiques and highlights how a Mercedes can actually save your life, I’d like to introduce you to a small place where values outrank status.

It’s a small school in a big city that reflects large goals such as demanding commitment, denying selfishness, accepting reality yet seeking improvement every day while putting the team above self.

No unrealistic honor code lives here. Just reality. And tons of wins.

The Butler Bulldogs, a team that lost with a failed last-gasp, “oh my goodness, that was so so close” heave at the buzzer to Duke in the Championship Game last year, check into the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament fresh off a defensive struggle against Wisconsin.

They’re still here.

Butler faces Florida on Saturday night in New Orleans as the Elite Eight dissolves into the Final Four. Head coach Brad Stevens knows this road very well. You remember Brad, don’t you? The 34-year-old head coach who comes across more like the starting point guard and less like the most impressive young coach in America. (Although he looks a little different this year. He’s wearing glasses.)

“Obviously, we’re thrilled to still be playing,”  Stevens said. “I don’t think that this group goes into games not believing, and I don’t think that this group came here not believing. And so we’re going to see if we can’t try to get one on Saturday and move on.”

Statistically, it’s his worst season in four years as a head coach. Stevens suffered nine total losses and five conference defeats in the Horizon League, a mid-major that occasionally shows up on a network telecast.

This isn’t a “Hoosiers” story, even though Stevens coaches in the building where they filmed a few scenes from that movie.

Stevens isn’t Norman Dale.

The scoreboard matters to Stevens.

Get an instant “Dash of Dachille” on Twitter. Follow him at WBALDash.

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