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Gonzaga meets Butler in battle of star teams

By Bud Withers, The Seattle Times Published: January 19, 2013
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Stevens, 36, in his sixth season as head coach, might have taken a bit of Few's counsel during courtships by bigger schools during Butler's amazing 2010-11 run.

“We talk every once in a while,” says Few. “We talked a little bit when he had some decisions (to make). He's a great guy, an even better person than he is a coach.”

Both coaches were courted by Few's alma mater, Oregon, in 2010, but that's not their only tie. Butler's athletic director, Barry Collier, is a former assistant to Don Monson, a Zags season-ticket holder and the father of Dan Monson, who coached Gonzaga's Elite Eight team in 1999.

The cuddly-underdog theme doesn't apply to the teams' front lines. Gonzaga sometimes plays two 7-footers at once, and Few calls Butler “probably the most physical team you can play. It really comes down to your guys not getting frustrated.

”They probably do a better job than anybody of frustrating teams. And they're absolutely terrific at executing what they want to execute, and then you start defending a certain way, and there's a counter.“

Stevens told The Indianapolis Star the GameDay appearance is a ”bucket list“ event. It's the first Butler game at Hinkle Fieldhouse — opened in 1928 and site of the filming of ”Hoosiers“ — featuring top-15 teams.

Butler won't be overawed. Under Stevens, the Bulldogs have beaten five top-10 teams, including then-No. 1 Indiana last month.

Gonzaga chartered to Indianapolis on Friday after a comfortable 71-49 win at Portland on Thursday night in which Few seemed to be mindful of keeping players fresh. Zags starters played 115 minutes, reserves 85.

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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