So, the polls came out and Butler is ranked 10th. Yes, they return everyone. Yes, the trio of Howard, Mack and Hayward is quite good. No, I am not buying that Hayward is a lottery pick, but he should win POY Honors in Conference. Stevens appears to have been a great hire and one of the better young coaches in the game.
But 10th really? For what? Because now they are Butler.
To preface, Butler far exceeded expectations last season with one of the youngest teams you will ever see. They should continue their strong play this season and will be in the Top 25 all year.
Compare Butler a team last season that had their most impressive win come over Xavier and the only other high major quality program they faced was Ohio State. They lost three times in conference and did not win their conference tournament, falling to Cleveland State.
This year for marquee games they get; Minnesota and then from December 8th through the 19th they get consecutively; Georgetown, Ohio State and Xavier. And then they are gone to the Horizon league. Where only Wright State will pose as any sort of threat.
You tell me what this Butler team and coach have done to be thought of higher than a Dayton team who won a tournament game last season (something Butler failed to do) and returns a core headlined by a future pro in Chris Wright. Or Siena who returns the core senior group of a team that won a tournament game for two consecutive years and have run through their league. Is the Horizon that much better than the MAAC?
How about BYU? Northern Iowa? Utah State? San Diego State? They are for the most part equals to this Butler team.
Butler is solid on paper, but nothing to blow you away, 61st in offense and 50th in defense last year per Kenpom. When you are a Top 10 that signifies an elite status, which I simply do not see in Butler compared to other Mid Majors.
Overrated or underrated, one thing is for sure, Butler has arrived in the national spotlight.