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But Butler's run will be one for the ages.
College athletics have become almost sterile, as much big business as game. Most teams that get this far in the tournament are from major universities, with facilities that would make NBA teams drool and budgets that dwarf the GNPs of some third-world countries.
Butler, however, puts the "old" in old school. With 4,200 students, it was the smallest school to play for the title since the field was expanded to 64 in 1985 and fourth-smallest overall. Forget state-of-the-art facilities. The Bulldogs play in an 82-year-old gym, the barn-like Hinkle Fieldhouse. Practice there, too -- at 6:30 a.m., no less. There are no athletic dorms and, yes, those were some of the Butler players spotted in the classroom Monday morning.
The Bulldogs call their style "The Butler Way," and it has nothing to do with Xs and Os, backdoor cuts or zone defense. It's the next guy stepping up, everybody having each other's back.
"Butler will no longer be what it has been, which has been pretty darn good," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "And everything that's good about Butler, which are so many things, will now have a chance to be seen in many areas, not just basketball."
Indeed, as the Bulldogs walked out of the arena to make the short drive back to campus, just 5.6 miles from Lucas Oil Stadium, the security guards in the hallways applauded them.
"Great job," some called out.
"Way to go," others yelled.
"I said yesterday that when you coach these guys, you can be at peace with whatever result you achieve from a won-loss standpoint because of what they gave -- they gave everything we had," Stevens said. "There's certainly nothing to hang your head about.
"I told them in there, what they've done, what they did together, will last longer than one night," Stevens said, "regardless of the outcome."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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