Here is an assessment of the changes Butler has undergone, and how the general consensus/main stream media reacted to it.
06-07 – Butler begins the season predicted to finish 6th in the Horizon League. They make the Sweet Sixteen after being in the rankings all year and come very close to beating Florida, who was in the process of winning their second straight title.
After that season, Lickliter leaves for Iowa. People say Butler is done. They end up hiring someone no one has ever heard of to the point to where he was mistaken as a player in street clothes early on.
07-08 – Butler has low expectations, but has another big year under first year coach Brad Stevens. They finish in the rankings, make the NCAAs, and lose in overtime to Tennessee in the round of 32. The general consensus is that the first year coach did it with Lickliter’s players, and now that they’re gone Butler is done.
08-09 – Butler is again picked to finish in the middle of the HL after the loss of Lickliter’s players. Again, they play their way into the rankings, finish first in the conference and make the NCAA Tournament.
09-10 – Butler returns pretty much everyone from the previous year, and people are finally catching on that perhaps they’re not done after all. It took three years for people to realize it, but they began in the top 25, stayed there all year, and ended up as national runner ups.
10-11 – Butler has high expecations but struggles during the year. Throughout the entire year, whenever Butler is playing, references are made how they had one great run but have not been able to sustain that success and were basically a flash in the pan. Most people forget that they weren’t even being picked to make the NCAAs at the beginning of March that season. They win the Horizon League Tournament, make the NCAAs, and are once again the national runner up.
11-12 – Butler is not expected to be good, and does even worse than their expectations. People again think they’re done.
12-13 – Butler begins the season unranked. Everyone is saying they’ll sink in the Atlantic Ten, especially after the poor season they had the previous year. They ended up playing their way into the rankings, making the NCAAs, and losing in the round of 32. Not great, but not bad either.
Summer 2013 – Stevens leaves. The general consensus once again is that Butler is done. The most recent death blow in a long line of death blows that were not death blows.
Okay, when I look at that, I see that the frequent general consensus is that Butler is always done, and every time it’s wrong. They were done when Collier left. They were done when Matta left and won with Collier’s players. They were done when Lickliter left. They were done several times under the Steven’s regime.
Do I think they’ll make the title game in back to back years anytime soon?? No.
Do I think they’re done?? No. I think they’ll remain a top 25 caliber program and be in the rankings more often than not. The same people that are saying Stevens was Butler are the same ones that were saying he would never do well. I was with the consensus before, and like the consensus I was wrong. I’m not with them this time. Maybe the consensus will be right this time, but I doubt it. I don’t think Butler will disappear.