Expectations weren't through the roof for Butler at the beginning of this season as they have been in the recent past, but no one expected the Bulldogs to be 0-5 in the Big East in mid-January.
Butler figured to be a middle-of-the-pack team in its new league even after losing Roosevelt Jones in the preseason to a wrist injury.
Five of Butler's six losses this season going into Tuesday's game at Creighton had been decided by five points or less and four came after at least one overtime.
While the Bulldogs were certainly uncomfortable at the bottom of the Big East standings with a four-game losing streak, there was no reason for panic considering the competitiveness of their setbacks.
But they were completely outmanned and outplayed against Creighton, a team that seems destined for one of those deep runs into March Madness by a mid-major that Butler made famous.
Creighton handed the Bulldogs easily the most lopsided loss of the season 88-60 and its fifth consecutive setback to start Big East play. It's the first time they've started conference play 0-5 since 1989-90.
Butler scored 24 points in the first half. So did Creighton All-American Doug McDermott.
Later in the second half, a cell of Creighton students chanted a thought that might be going through the minds of some Butler supporters.
The Creighton students currently pouring salt in the wound, chanting "Where's Coach Stevens?"
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) January 15, 2014
Of course Brad Stevens left Butler last year to take the head coaching position with the Boston Celtics, who are currently well out of the playoffs in the NBA's Eastern Conference and have lost nine straight. Stevens can certainly relate to what his old team is going through right now.
The reality is, Butler is close to being 4-1 or 3-2 in the Big East and the Creighton game was the aberration. The Bluejays are loaded with a ton of talent surrounding McDermott. Tuesday's outcome really isn't a huge surprise. OK, maybe the 28-point margin of defeat was, but this is a game Creighton should have won.
Butler didn't start the season with a roster nearly as stocked with experience and battle-tested players, especially without Jones. Yet, going into conference play, the Bulldogs were a bit of a surprise in the opposite way with only two close losses on their resume.
Coach Brandon Miller and his team led by sophomore Kellen Dunham and senior Khyle Marshall can still have a good season if they continue to coach and play as they have been, outside of the Creighton fiasco. And maybe they can get back to being Butler again next season.
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