Beating your rival Hutch at home by double digits can raise eyebrows. Many may consider it a benchmark victory. However, for Butler’s men’s basketball head coach Kyle Fisher, it’s really one pixel inside of a bigger picture.
While beating your rival is a great win for us,” Fisher said. “It’s just one win.”
Fisher has the guys in the right direction. They were receiving votes in one poll, which hasn’t happened since the final poll of the 2014-15 season. Despite their winning streak, Butler fell out of the votes and haven’t returned yet.
“We’re trying to change the perception of Butler basketball,” Fisher said. “We’re starting to get the right mindset into that where we expect to win every game.”
Butler hasn’t been sustained success since 2014-15 when Butler started the season 21-0, making it to the national tournament at Hutch. They would finish the season 29-4. It was the last time Butler won at least 20 games.
The coaching changes from Mike Bargen leaving for Bradley and Brian Barone getting a DUI in November 2015 didn’t help the situation. After a leave of absence, Bryan Miller took over and things never came to be what Miller expected. His 9-1 start taking over for Barone flourished into 19 wins and a season left on what ifs.
Miller never could find the right pieces for success. While only one losing season in four seasons for Miller, the type of players he recruited and outcomes never really made sense. One was Kenneth Perkins. He was dismissed from the team after numerous incidents and then later arrested for burning counterfeit money inside the Butler dorms. At one semester break, six players did not return; the team finished with only eight players for the second semester.
Enter coach Fisher.
He’s revamped the roster, bringing back only a handful of players from last season and you’re seeing results already. They’ve won six of their last seven. With an exception to a loss to Colby, the Grizzlies have been taking care of opponents by double digits. Butler has won their last three games by an average of 20.3 points per game.
“We have to be hungry every day,” Connor Jackson said. “It starts in the locker room and in the culture.”
The new culture fits Butler like a glove. It’s a family atmosphere where players spend time with one another outside of the basketball gym and they understand the picture Fisher has painted for them.
“We’re happy to be here,” Jackson said. “We’re excited to put on the Butler uniform.”
The Grizzlies beat Hutch.
They’ve already moved onto Barton.
“We know we can compete with anyone in the nation,” Jackson said.”
BARTON (11-2, 3-1 KJCCC) at BUTLER (11-3, 4-1)
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Power Plant, El Dorado, Kansas
Radio: KFH, 97.5 FM
Series: Since 2002, Butler is 15-19 against Barton. The Grizzlies Lost four straight to Barton.
PROJECTED STARTERS BASED OFF LAST GAME
Coach: Craig Fletchall (15th Year) Record 337-128
Coach: Kyle Fisher (1st year) Record: 11-3