We traded some questions with Dirkus Callahan of ButlerHoops.com. You can find our answers to his questions by clicking right here. Once you've checked that out, sit back, pour your beverage of choice, and read away. Our questions are in bold, Dirkus' answers are in..... not bold.
1) Let's start with an easy one: Is this year's Roosevelt Jones the same as the one that you guys saw in 2012-13? Better? Worse?
Just looking purely at his season-long efficiency numbers, he’s not that much different than the version we saw in 2012-13, but he really started figuring things out just when Butler really needed him to once Big East play began. Really the biggest difference between this year’s version and that version of him is that he’s much less turnover prone this season. Ignoring the stats and the fact that despite a 100.2 offensive efficiency rating that he’s currently on the all Big East team for kenpom.com, he’s much better because he’s far more important to the team’s success now than he was 2 years ago. This year’s team has really taken on his personality in that they’re really unusual, but somehow effective. 2 years ago this was Rotnei Clarke’s (AKA, He-who-shall-not-be-named for Marquette fans) and ’s squad.
2) Y'all have been in the Big East for a year and a half now. Are you guys enjoying it so far? Do you feel like you've established any rivalries already?
Even before the success of this year I had really enjoyed the Big East, but I know alumni who still long for the days of the Horizon League because that’s what they had known when they went to Butler. It’s just a different mentality to be in this league where there are no nights off, and a lackluster performance will assuredly end up as a loss. Plus, I really enjoy getting to watch all the league games on TV rather than huddling up around my computer and just hoping the stream for the Youngstown State game didn’t start buffering at a critical moment. In terms of rivalries, for Butler, the biggest rival so far is one that has been carried over from the A-10 and MCC days in Xavier. I think we’re still a couple of years away from really feeling any animosity towards any other Big East teams. Plus, no other teams have punched a Butler player in the face in the handshake line or ripped a water fountain off the wall at Hinkle, so maybe something to shoot for in the future for Marquette and the rest of the Big East.
3) What, if any that you can tell, is the biggest difference between howran the team last year and how Chris Holtmann is calling the shots this year?
The biggest difference is just in how he handles the team through adversity, which he’s pretty much had to do from the beginning of the season. You’ll frequently hear on TV how Holtmann has a "Little bit of Brad Stevens in him." While Marquette fans will famously remember Stevens flipping out in the 2012-13 tournament, he was well known for staying calm on the sidelines and Holtmann is very similar in that regard. Miller was someone who really got into the guys during practice whenever they made a mistake, and I think that carried over to whenever Butler got into a close game last season, because they always seemed to tighten up. This season there’s a much stronger sense of belief in those close games, and I think the difference in the demeanor of the coaches has a lot to do with it.
4) Speaking of Brandon Miller, how do you and/or Butler fans in general feel about how Butler handled hiring Miller to replace Brad Stevens and then elevating Holtmann as first interim then full time head coach, thus pushing Miller out?
There are really two schools of thought. One side really wants to know what happened that caused Miller to essentially abandon his post during one of the most critical periods of recruiting for a program that badly needed some guys after all the turnover they experienced last season, and to grill the AD a bit for hiring a guy that’s had a history of abruptly leaving his post and had zero head coaching experience prior to last year. The other is just more interested in moving on without him and letting him quietly disappear into the night, which I think more and more people are falling into with the job that Holtmann’s done. No one truly knows what happened with Miller, but I think Butler handled it as well as they could given the circumstances that Miller left them in.
5) Marquette's campus is wonderful, but it's not really close to anything resembling a hip or happening part of Milwaukee. What's the set up at Butler? Other than I know the mailing address is in Indianapolis, I don't know anything about campus or Indy in general.
Immediately adjacent to Butler, there really isn’t a ton that most people would call "hip or happening", but it is just a short trip South to downtown Indianapolis, and isn’t very far away from Broad Ripple, which is a big bar scene for all the college kids which features all the normal college bars like Brothers, and also has some more unique places to go as well. More importantly, its Qdoba stays open 24 hours a day and becomes pretty much the Holy Land of 20 somethings around 3 am. I’d imagine that the campus set-up is pretty similar to Marquette in that both schools are close enough to fun things to do, but to get to them you’ll probably have to hop in a car to get there.
6) Are you going to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday? Do you have a rooting interest? In general, do you prefer the game or the commercials? Care to make a prediction about the game?
I’m not a Packers fan that will constantly be reminded of how truly terrible my team had to play in the last 5 minutes of the NFC Championship game to not be there playing New England (twists the knife), so like every true beef eating, beer drinking, red-blooded American male, I will be watching, but I don’t really have a rooting interest. Frankly I don’t like either team, so I’ll be watching this year more for the commercials, but hopefully it’s a close game, otherwise my interest will probably wane shortly after half time. I’ll say the Seattle Juicing Machine beats the New England Deflatriots 28-20 and Gisele blames Brady’s loss on an ineffective batch of Robitussin.
7) What's the reaction to the remodeling job at Hinkle Fieldhouse?
The bones of the old barn are still there, and while it’s far from having all the amenities and latest technology of some brand new arenas, it’s been a huge upgrade from where things were at, and for the athletes and coaching staff, it’s even better with the updated therapy equipment, locker rooms and academic center. Overall, it was money well spent, the only thing that was really missing was an updated or brand new practice facility, but everyone I’ve talked to has been happy with the changes that were made.
8) Prediction time! Who wins, Marquette or Butler, and what's the score? Who plays the hero for the winning squad?
I really didn’t like Marquette losing this week at home to Seton Hall. Makes me think that Wojo’s going to have his guys focused, and while Marquette’s a tough out just about anywhere they play, at home they’ve been really tough in league play. I’d say Marquette wins this one 65-60, with Juan Anderson providing the heroics for the Golden Eagles.