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Indiana’s best found at Butler

Dec 24, 2001 9:05 AM

If a sequel to Hoosiers is made, it should be a mystery entitled The Butler Did It.

Butler is 11-0 for the first time in the 110-year history of the school. The latest win was against another Indiana upstart, Ball State, 75-66.

How good is Ball State? Well, good enough to beat Maryland and Kansas to start the season and ranked No.23 in the ESPN/USA TODAY poll.

Yes, Butler has much to be proud of, but the university’s success is a carryover from three years ago.

Todd Lickliter, the current head coach, was an assistant at that time to Thad Matta, now at the head man at Xavier. Matta led the Bulldogs to two straight 20-win seasons, a pair of Midwestern Collegiate Conference regular season championships, back-to-back MCC tournament titles and consecutive trips to the NCAA’s.

Butler is now 58-18 since 1998, including the 11-0 start. The 1930-31 Butler team began the season 10-0.

The Butler-Ball State clash was the most anticipated game in the 80-year history of the rivalry. The Bulldogs ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just over 56 points per game.

Whether the Bulldogs can keep up their stellar play all season remains to be seen, but a third straight NCAA bid seems assured.

For those who may have forgotten, Butler beat Wisconsin last year in Madison when the Badgers had their Final Four team returning from the previous year.

SLO recognition

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is 5-2 ATS. This is not just your computer genius school any more.

Recogition comes slow for the Mustangs since they are not only on the West Coast, but buried in the little exposed Big West Conference, a league that includes the more well-known Long Beach State, Idaho and Utah State.

The Mustangs improved to 6-2 SU through Thursday’s play, extremely impressive for a school not associated with winning basketball or the sport in general.

Cal Poly SLO lost to Vanderbilt by five as an 18-point underdog, and upset Oregon State last week by four as a one-point home dog.

The Mustangs were founded in 1901 and play in Mott Gym, which seats 3,032. It just shows that good things can still come in small packages.

ATS honor roll

The “against the spread” list of honorees will be for both good and bad results, since the bettors can profit from each.

This week’s inaugural winner is Pepperdine, a surprising 1-7 ATS. The Wave beat both USC and UCLA, but have been overpriced and slumping of late.