Stevens speaks about his Butler Bulldogs selling out arenas all across the United States:
They really are. Plus, you add to that that Fordham’s best player, who is a double-double average for his career, hadn’t played in seven or eight games and he comes back to play against us and almost single-handedly had us on the ropes. So it was a great environment, a great challenge for us. … I was really worried about the fact that I thought we were going to be tired. … But one of the things we talked about was how exciting it is to play in New York City … and I think that adrenaline was a good thing for our team.
Barlow comments on making a game winning shot against Indiana:
We were just trying to run a set that we were running for a decent part of the game. It was like a baseline screen to try to get Rotnei (Clarke) or Kellen (Dunham) the ball. (Victor) Oladipo was playing really on top of Rotnei and Rotneijust kind of cleared out to the top and I just saw the game clock get down to seven and I just thought I needed to go make a move, try to make a play, try to get the ball on the rim with enough time for us to get an offensive rebound. If I missed then they wouldn’t have much time to get up a shot.
Williams discusses what he learned during North Carolina’s loss to Butler:
I don’t know that it’s the best thing, but it did open our eyes a little bit, because we really haven’t played … a very difficult schedule. My nine years that I’ve been here, our schedule’s been ranked in the top 25 most difficult schedules every year, I think, except one, and like five times in the top 10. … Butler, all of the sudden, is a good team, and they hit us right in the mouth, and they backed us up. And we never came back for about 28 minutes, and then all of a sudden, we did have a sense of urgency. … I liked our toughness at that point, but, man, we let them hit us right in the mouth to start with. … It showed us a lot of holes in our game.
Stevens gives his thoughts about Butler’s potential for the upcoming season:
I think you mentioned a couple of those guys and certainly we’re all thankful for what Matt Howard did, not only for Butler, but for college basketball in general. The way he acted on and off the court is what you’re looking for out of a student-athlete. And Shelvin and Gordon did the same thing while they were in school. If you would have told me that those two guys were going to leave school early to go to the NBA, and this is the team we have, I just really feel fortunate that we have been able to continue to bring in the right guys to not only represent Butler well but to field a team that I think can grow into a pretty darn good basketball team.
Stevens talks about the aftermath of Butler losing to Connecticut in the NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship game:
Really difficult, but you never prepare for that last locker room. But, we were one of two teams that knew we were going to have our senior sendoff. And we were really fortunate that that was the case. But it was really hard, our guys wanted to shoot the ball better, there’s no question about that. And anytime you go 12-for-64 you’re not going to win. But it’s kind of remarkable that if we had shot 25 percent, we would have been one possession down with a chance to win the game.
Collier talks about Butler making it to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game:
You have to have a lot of things come together. Mostly, you have to have a team made of players, and don’t miss that they’re the ones that are making the shots, blocking out, playing together, playing hard on defense. And you’ve got to have a coach that can bring all those players to the school and get the most out of them. … We’ve got some good things going at Butler. As far as what affects recruiting, we’ve got a great school … we’re in a great city … and we’ve got a beautiful campus.
Stevens talks about an upcoming game against Virginia Commonwealth:
So, all you have to do is stop them from shooting threes? Easier said than done. I think one of the things you are talking about is you better guard them with a huge sense of urgency because they are rolling like maybe no other team I can remember in the NCAA Tournament, probably rolling as much as North Carolina was two years ago when they won it.
Stevens gives his thoughts on Butler’s 11-game winning streak:
One of the great problems with the way the scrutiny during the season goes is sometimes you can play relatively well in certain areas and lose because you get beat on a given night. … We never mentioned the Youngstown loss again. We mentioned what we did well and tried to build on it.
Howard comments on his game winning basket against Old Dominion in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament:
A lot of chaos. We actually set up a play we’ve run a few times in that game and we wanted to get the ball into our big man Andrew Smith and give him a chance to work. Our guard didn’t see that he was open or didn’t think that he was open. Sean [Vanzant] dribbled in. I think he told me he stepped up on the guys foot or his leg gave out or something. He made a good play to just get the ball in the air. I think my guys went and jumped with Andrew [Smith]. Andrew Smith kept it off the backboard. I was there alone underneath the basket with the ball. It was a pretty easy play from there.
Stevens talks about Butler winning the conference championship:
We had been beaten twice. … You’re playing for a conference championship and a chance to go to the NCAA tournament. We kind of sold the whole week as, hey, there was a three-way tie for first and we get to play them both. I think that was something that we wanted to win our own outright championship in our minds.
Stevens discusses staying at Butler to coach:
At the end of the day, I am really fortunate to be in a place where we have every person in the building is on the same page and wants to all move in the same direction. Butler is a great place. The history of Butler and the tradition of Butler and everything like that are certainly easy things to sell, but it’s the people that separate it. I’ve got great people that I work for. We have great players in our locker room that, to be quite honest, I just like being around. I’ve sat quite a bit in many of those meetings with recruits and said, Hey, you make a decision based on fluff now, but at the end of your life, it’s about people you are around. So I tried to heed my own advice.
Stevens comments on making the NCAA Final Four:
You’re having fun then you start thinking about Michigan State and you say no, not really having any fun anymore. No, yeah, we’re enjoying it. The buzz around campus is unbelievable. I tried to sneak in the back today after watching some tape at home and I walk in the back door and the line is five deep all the way around the fieldhouse. As you know, I apologized by email to a couple of people that walked by because as you know, all I’m thinking about is down screens and block outs. I got nothing else on my mind, I got done with my tickets yesterday. I don’t have anything but Michigan State on my mind and I’m just happy to still be preparing against somebody.
Stevens talks about Butler’s upcoming game against UTEP:
I think they’re a combination of a few teams. They beat UAB twice so they obviously figured out something that we couldn’t figure out when we played them earlier this year. They also play a little bit like Minnesota on the defensive end of the floor. They’ll mix in some traps, they’ll mix in some presses, some run and jumps and those kinds of things. They do a good job trying to keep you off balance in that regard and they have the athletes to do that.