Author Craig Hanford

52 entries

Chattanooga at Butler 11/15/2011

Twice upon a time, a time not long ago, a team from below the red line made great marches throughout the NCAA Tournament. Those occasions were filled with a number of great moments for Butler fans - a tipped pass against Murray State; a favorable carom high off the rim on a three-point shot from the corner against...

In Honor of Toughness

TGHT - "The Game Honors Toughness". This has been one of the core tenets of Brad Stevens' program at Butler University, and was referenced frequently as the Bulldogs progressed through the NCAA tournament field in March of 2010. Throughout the past few years, the post-game comments of opposing coaches often have...

Green Eggs and Frank (by Craig Hanford)

When I committed to the 800 Games Project, I knew that I'd want to document at least one game of my local mid-major, the IPFW Mastodons. Beginning just their eleventh season in Division I, I believe that IPFW is building a quality program, and should be very competitive in the Summit League this season. In scanning...

Legends of the Game

My recent visit to Ball State allowed me the chance to witness four individuals who have left very prominent marks in the Mid-Majority. One has long ago completed his career, another is nearing the end of his career, yet another also may very well be at the end of that road, and the fourth finds himself in a strange...

THE BATTLE OF I-75

ALLCAPSDAY gave me motivation to take a little road trip to Bowling Green, Ohio. I had never before been to Bowling Green, and this visit introduced me to the Bowling Green-Toledo rivalry, with the two teams separated by a 25-mile stretch of Interstate 75 in Northwestern Ohio. I also had a chance to see BG's...

Your Ticket to Hinkle Fieldhouse

By April of 2005, my sixteen year-old daughter had nearly completed her first round of college visits. On a whim, I suggested that she visit Butler University before narrowing her list to a few finalists. Since it was a smaller school than those she'd seen previously, and since it put an emphasis on internships,...

Farewell Party

Senior night can be an evening with a very unusual vibe. For teams like Butler who choose to honor their seniors after the game, there's a strange pressure throughout the night to avoid losing the game and ruining the festivities. Fortunately for the home team, there was little drama of that sort here against...

The Joy of Halftime Adjustments

I entered Hinkle Fieldhouse to find a nearly funeral atmosphere Tuesday night for the first round of the Horizon League tournament, or as it now seems to be known, the Horizon League Tournament Sponsored By Walt Disney Studios' Epic Film "John Carter" ("HLTSBWDSEFJC"). Butler was hosting rival Wright State, but...

March of the Penguins? Not this Year.

The Horizon League tournament entered the quarterfinal round on Friday night, with the first game featuring Detroit against Youngstown State. One of the more controversial aspects of the HL tournament, but one in which I think they do it right, is the double-bye that is awarded to the league's top two teams....

Beauty in the Eyes of Some Beholders

As has been widely discussed, Butler has had some recent success in the month of March. However, as CBS-proclaimed college basketball "expert" Charles Barkley might say, "Gordon Hayward (or does he say 'Haywood'? ), Shelvin Mack, and Matt Howard ain't walkin' through that door this year". Therefore, this young...

Being All That You Can Be?

The first of Saturday's semi-final games featured two teams seemingly moving in opposite directions. The Detroit Titans entered with wins in eight of its last nine games, while the Cleveland State Vikings had lost five of its last seven. However, CSU did win two games last week to secure the 2 seed and a double...

Sitting with the Enemy

The second semi-final of the Horizon League tournament featured the regular season champion Valparaiso Crusaders hosting the Butler Bulldogs. Butler advanced to this round with impressive wins over Wright State and Milwaukee, and we Butler supporters hoped that they'd be able to carry that momentum to an upset...

Dogs in Heat

When it comes to matters of science, I guess that I am a rather simple man. Whenever I had to fulfill a science requirement in school, I always sought (in vain) the easiest potential course. Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics - I tried them all, struggling to maintain focus during lectures, and having only...

CIT Madness from Oakland

After two consecutive twelve-hour days in front of the TV, I decided that I needed to take a road trip on Saturday and take in another game for the 800 Games Project. After scanning the schedules, I found two games within day-trip range, Robert Morris at Toledo and Buffalo at Oakland, both second round CIT games....

It Ends As It Began

The CBI semi-final provided a rare opportunity for Butler to host to Big East opponent, with the Pittsburgh Panthers visiting Hinkle Fieldhouse. My review of the records indicates that this was just the second-ever appearance from a foe who was a Big East member at the time of their visit, with the first such...

Unbeaten and Unknown

In many respects, though it was a full quarter-century before the creation of midmajority.com, the 1978-79 college basketball season would have to be considered the season of the mid-majority. That year's Final Four included three outstanding teams that I believe the Mid-Majority Institute of Basketball Research...

The Renewal of the Dream

For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy - August 12, 1980 Kennedy's words marked the end of his presidential aspirations, but they...

The Very Best That It Can Be

A business meeting in Houston gave me an opportunity to attend a game far from my Indiana home. Checking the Basketball State maps a couple of weeks in advance, I determined that the Louisiana-Lafayette at Texas Southern game would fit nicely into my schedule, and made plans to check it out. Not knowing much about...

Welcome to The Mid-Majority!

Welcome to The Mid-Majority! You've entered a community of creative individuals who have come together to celebrate the greatest game ever invented. Here at this site, we view the sport of college basketball a bit differently than the rest. Some would say that our focus is too narrow, but our concentration...

Holiday Jungle Hats For Sale!

Oh, the weather up North is becoming frightful! And, as Mama used to say, most of your body heat escapes from your head. Fight off the effects of Old Man Winter with a gift from the Capital City of Hoops Nation - an IUPUI Adidas Knit Hat, With Tassels. This colorful and stylish hat has long been commonly...

Growing Up and Growing Older

After returning from a fairly successful trip to the Maui Invitational, Butler hosted Division III foe Hanover College Tuesday night. This matchup was scheduled late in the summer after Butler's rather abrupt shift from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 Conference. By that time, the Dawgs already had set their...

A Sad Ending to Rivalry Day

What constitutes a rivalry? Usually two teams need to be in the same general geographic area to fuel a rivalry, and they need to play each other on a regular basis in order to keep it relevant. Most good rivalries also have a long history of competition, and there is usually a good degree of animosity built...

Frank Feels A Pain

Saturday's schedule gave me a good opportunity to attend a Mid-Majority doubleheader, with the nightcap featuring the Miami Red Hawks and the IPFW Mastodons. I was interested to see Miami and their new coach John Cooper, who came to Oxford after a successful three-season stint at Tennessee State. When the highly...

Diamonds Are Forever

In a recent essay on this site, I wondered how rivalries were determined, and fretted a bit that there didn't seem to be as many obvious rivalries as there once were. We see some stories of clear rivalries described here, such as the Battle of the Boulevard and some of the Big Five matchups in Philadelphia, in...

A Hat Tip to Colt Ryan (and Other Legends)

Saturday was "Hoosier Hysteria Day at Hinkle", honoring the legacy of Indiana High School Basketball, particularly those events held at the old fieldhouse. When Butler Fieldhouse was built in 1928, it was partially funded by the Indiana High School Athletic Association to serve as the home site for the state...

The Antitype

Growing up in Indiana, it was an annual ritual to try to identify, whether by reading magazines or newspapers or by listening to some wise old sage, The Next Great One. The Next Great One referred to the state's next great high school basketball star. While the talents of relative giants and freakish athletes...

The Curious Case of Coach Sless

"If you expect nothing from anybody, you're never disappointed." Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar In the second of its two post-New Year, pre-Atlantic 10 contests, Butler hosted the Privateers of New Orleans. New Orleans was fresh off a 51-point loss at Mississippi State less than 48 hours before this game, so...

In Celebration of Doug McDermott

The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks. In a recent essay, The Hopping Cats captain, Ian McCormick, provided a two paragraph justification for his selection of USC Upstate's Torrey Craig as the second overall pick in the TMM9 fantasy player draft. As a Ballyfest Destiny member who definitely was stunned...

The Day ESPN Came To Town

There was a great deal of excitement this past summer around the Butler community when rumors started to fly that ESPN's College GameDay was considering a visit to Hinkle Fieldhouse for the upcoming basketball season. When it was confirmed that they'd be doing so for the Gonzaga game on January 19, that particular...

The Day Nate Wolters Came To Town

When Nate Wolters is playing within a 150-mile radius of your home, you drop everything and go. - Daniel Spewak After confirming that "The Jungle," IUPUI's on-campus home for basketball and volleyball was 115 miles away from my home, I did indeed drop everything and go. As jungles are concerned, this one...

Rotnei's Return

January's schedule provided Butler with an unusual opportunity to become almost a temporarily adopted member of the famed Philadelphia Big 5. After a win over Penn at Hinkle on the 2nd, a road win over Saint Joseph's on the 9th, and a road loss at LaSalle on the 23rd that broke the Bulldogs' 13-game winning...

The Hurley Bowl

I was fortunate enough to have tickets to this week's big game, featuring the two brothers who are following the coaching legacy started by their father, one a veritable coaching lifer, the other a former star player who came into coaching after a high-profile playing career. Yes, I was able to witness the...

The Streaky Shooter Delivers

After a string of three straight Saturday sellouts at Hinkle Fieldhouse (Gonzaga, Temple, Rhode Island), the Bulldogs hosted St. Bonaventure this past Wednesday night, and attendance at the old barn was at about two-thirds capacity as a result. The resultant relatively low energy level in the building gave...

The Nate Wolters Show

awesome (adj.) - inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear; causing or inducing awe. Early February always has been the most challenging part of the season for me as an occasional chronicler of Our Game. The freshness of a new season and the intrigue of certain non-conference matchups...

The Broadcaster and The Beast

After Thursday night's special performance, I decided to make a return trip to IPFW on Saturday night to see the Mastodons host the North Dakota State Bison. Actually, it wasn't quite a return trip, as the Memorial Coliseum (home to The Nate Wolters Show) was booked Saturday with both a high school wrestling...

Days Like This

When you don't need to worry, there'll be days like this When no one's in a hurry, there'll be days like this When all the parts of the puzzle start to look like they fit Then I must remember there'll be days like this Van Morrison - Days Like This Butler returned home after a shaky weekend trip to George...

Deja Vu at VU

I'm here to make a shameful confession as a Butler fan. I miss the Horizon League. While I do enjoy building potential rivalries with new teams in the Atlantic 10, the current sixteen team league allows for a home-and-home series with only one conference opponent. In some respects, it feels like playing an...

The Eye of the Tiger

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight Risin' up to the challenge of our rival And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger At the second media timeout of Butler's home game against Duquesne, with the Bulldogs leading 13-9, the...

Unacceptable

I had seen this before from the IPFW Mastodons. In a home game against a top-tier Summit League opponent, the Mastodons get off to an early lead, sustain that lead for a considerable period of time, gradually lose the lead, then fall behind and never get back up on top again. I saw that pattern in their loss...

It's Bruin Time

For BracketBuster Saturday, I wasn't too intrigued with any of the matchmaking done to my local teams, so I decided to make a little weekend road trip. The two games that appeared to be most interesting were to be found five to six hours to the south of me; I passed up one last chance to see Nate Wolters,...

Dawgs Chasing Cars

As the end of February approached, we finally reached the first conference home game on the schedule that all Butler fans had circled - the rematch against Saint Louis. The Bulldogs were embarrassed by the Billikens in late January, and this game would allow them the opportunity to avenge that loss and to draw...

The Madness of the Horizon League

The Horizon League was formed on June 4, 2001, as part of a rebranding strategy by the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. In part, the MCC had become somewhat annoyed by being confused with its nearby little brother, the Mid-Continent Conference, and so its leadership group told themselves that it was time to...

Transitions and Growth

growth (n.) - development from a lower or simpler form to a higher or more complex form; evolution If we are to accept the above as a reasonable definition of the word, then how should we feel about growth? Should we celebrate growth in others or should we resent it? When given an opportunity for growth...

On to the Next One

Can you imagine the excitement that can be generated from a Thursday mid-afternoon game at a neutral site? After sitting through one, I'd give it a less than hearty endorsement. Nevertheless, the schedule dictated that Butler and Dayton would square off here in Brooklyn among a largely empty house. Even...

The Final Meltdown

Thursday's initial opening round game between 8 seed Richmond and 9 seed Charlotte seemed to be a fairly routine clash of styles. In the basketball equivalence of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Sprat, Richmond would take no inside shots, and Charlotte would take none from outside. Richmond knocked down four trifectas...

The Butler Bad Boys?

Heading into Butler's quarterfinal matchup against LaSalle, I had a relatively high (for me) comfort level about this game. I didn't attribute this to any particular overconfidence on my part, especially since LaSalle had won the prior meeting between the teams, but there's a certain stigma when you play the...

The One with the 13-0 Run

Saint Louis University has been the class of the Atlantic-10 Conference this season. They have ridiculous balance and good depth, so while no particular individual may scare you significantly coming into a game, they have six or seven guys who are more than capable of being the star on any given night. Combine...

The Billiken Hat Trick

Butler got its third shot at Saint Louis this season in the A-10 semifinal. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Billikens were determined to be their "local rival," so that they were the one team that Butler played twice in conference play. Gee, thanks a lot! Saint Louis blasted Butler at their place, and...

Settling for the Three and Coming Up Short

The final opening round game of the A-10 tournament featured 6 seed Massachusetts and 11 seed George Washington. While fatigue was starting to set in by this point, I was interested to see a matchup of teams that I'd not previously seen in person. Much like the Richmond-Charlotte game to begin the day, this...

The End of an Era for Temple Basketball

In the A-10 tournament's fourth quarterfinal, the Temple Owls opened up against UMass. Coach Fran Dunphy's team had a fairly good conference season, finishing in a three-way tie for third place, and entering the tournament as the 3 seed due to their win over league champion Saint Louis. During their conference...

The Mountain (More Than) High Enough

The UMass Minutemen entered the second A-10 semifinal with a chance to make a strong case for an NCAA tournament bid. Entering this game with a 21-10 overall record, and wins in five of their past six games, a UMass win over VCU might be enough to attract the attention of the selection committee. Junior point...

The Billikens Win The War

Game 11 of the Atlantic 10 tournament was the championship game between the league's two best teams. Last month, in its Chaifetz Arena, Saint Louis had defeated VCU handily, keyed by a 21-1 first half run that left little doubt as to the ultimate result. In this rematch at the Barclays Center, the Rams were...

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One Beautiful Season

1BS weaved the history of mid-major college basketball together with stories from the 2009-10 season, culminating in Butler's epic run to the National Championship game. Now it's available as a free download: PDF in the original 592-page book layout with all photos and graphics, or ePub format for electronic reading devices.