Hello Xavier Nation! Your world-beating Musketeers travel to Indianapolis this Saturday to take on Butler and their strange little mascot. We know that you have been spending a lot of your time watching your Musketeers and have not bothered to watch Butler much, so we sat down with Mr. Callahan over at Butler Hoops about the upcoming matchup. Here we go.
1.) 2014-2015 has already been an interesting season. How has the seasonbeen going for our I-74 neighbors?
Interesting is probably the most appropriate way of putting it. This team has been pretty up and down, as has been the case for pretty much every team in the Big East. They played well above what I was anticipating during the Battle 4 Atlantis, but then they had a really bad loss at Tennessee. Similarly in conference, they had a good win on the road against an admittedly short-handed St. John's team that apparently likes to give everyone a head start during conference play, but then dropped a heart-breaker against a good Providence team on Tuesday after controlling the 1st half. Overall, it's been better than expected, but worse than what I'm sure fans have hoped for at times.
2.) Recently the school named Chris Holtmann as the official head coach.What are your thoughts on this situation?
I'm just glad it's behind us at this point. I think Coach Holtmann is a very good coach and now that the uncertainty of who the head coach will be in the future, there shouldn't be as much of an issue convincing kids to come to Butler. As far as what happened with Brandon Miller, I would be surprised if the truth ever comes out, but like I said, I think most Butler fans are just ready to move on.
3.) Your team is led predominantly by upperclassman this year withexperience. How does this lineup give your team an advantage?
The one advantage it gives the Bulldogs is that these guys have been through the battles, and there's less of a chance they'll be overwhelmed by the situation. Beyond that, I'm not sure how much of an advantage this lineup gives Butler. There are still some major holes on this team, mainly dealing with their interior size and scoring outside of Dunham which Providence was able to exploit in the 2nd half of their game on Tuesday.
4.) What is the one thing that you miss the least about playing in theHorizon League, and what is one thing that you like the most about playingin the Big East?
What I miss the least about the Horizon League: Bad losses and Super Bowls. In the Horizon, any loss the Bulldogs suffered was devastating to their at-large chances for an NCAA berth or their seed line, and every home game against Butler was that team's Super Bowl. In one sense it was good because it prepared them for the pressure of the tourney, but in the other, when Youngstown State stormed the court after beating a Butler team that was then 6-5 in the conference, it stops making any sense (Much like Xavier's Blue Blob mascot). Butler is far from generating that level of excitement in the Big East, which in my opinion, is a good thing.
What I like most about the Big East: The opponents, and Fox Sports 1. Being able to play home games every year against Georgetown, Xavier, Villanova, Marquette, you name the team, is flat out awesome. Not only are the majority of them not going to kill your RPI whether you win or lose, they are names that everyone in college basketball knows. It's also nice not having to disenfect my computer with anti-virus software and check my credit card statements after every game because I had to go through some Nigerian prince's website to watch Butler play. Getting to watch them on TV for pretty much every game of the year is great.
5.) Where do you think the bulldogs will finish in the Big East this season?
I think they are going to struggle again in the league and probably finish up 6-12 or 7-11. They are a team that works their butts off, but they just don't have the necessary skill, size or athleticism to compete in this league on a nightly basis yet. That probably puts them around 8th, which is about where everyone thought they'd finish up to begin the year.
6.) What are your thoughts on the delicacy that is Cincinnati-style chili?
I have honestly never indulged in it before, but I've heard some people love it, and some don't care for it. I imagine it was likely invented by a college kid, who after a late night of partying mistakenly picked up a can of chili with his spaghetti noodles at the grocery store instead of tomato sauce. Like every great pioneer, upon realizing his mistake, said screw it and combined the two anyway, and Cincinnati-style chili was born. Or it might have been restauranteurs from Europe that were trying to combine various styles of cuisine, but I prefer my story.
7.) What is your prediction for how this game will turn out and do youthink that there will be any Hinkle magic?
Ugh, I shudder at the thought. Butler hasn't been great at defending teams with a multitude of shooters, which is exactly what Xavier has, and Xavier was very good at corralling Kellen Dunham with Dee Davis last year, and with Remy Abell also at their disposal, it could be a long afternoon for he and the Bulldogs unless the Musketeers are off from deep. I think they keep it close, but ultimately I think Xavier wins 75-68.
Thank you again to Dirkus Callahan for his time and insightful answers. I may view Butler with about the same regard as Gold Star Chili, but Dirkus is a great guy doing great work over at Butler Hoops. Now can the game start already?