Tag Archives: Butler Basketball

Butler Blue III shut out of PNC Arena during NCAA Tournament

Image courtesy of @ButlerBlue3.
Image courtesy of @ButlerBlue3.

Well over 450 media credentials were handed out along with thousands of fans, players and coaches allowed into PNC Arena for the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, no live mascots were permitted by the NCAA — including the beloved Butler Blue III.

PNC Arena made sure to let fans know they want Butler Blue III in the stadium, but the NCAA put the kibosh on that possibility.

Not only were the Butler faithful deprived of his greatness, but the Raleigh crowd also missed out on the self-described, “Man’s best friend, America’s best hope.”

While it was far from a normal day for Butler Blue, the passionate pup stayed hard at work. He also clearly doesn’t hold a grudge against the fantastic staff at PNC Arena despite the snub.

The bulldog was shut out from the arena, but made his presence felt around the outside portion of PNC. Inside, Butler pulled out a huge win, 71-61, over Texas Tech to advance.

Hopefully the rules will change for the Third Round games and Blue’s slobber will grace the Raleigh court. For now, we’ll have to enjoy him from the doghouse of PNC Arena.

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Tyler Lewis returns to Raleigh in Butler blue

RALEIGH — Tyler Lewis remembers having to make the call on whether he’d finish out his career in Raleigh or move on. Ultimately, the Statesville point guard decided to head to Indianapolis for a chance to thrive in a new environment.

“It was one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Lewis explained. “It was to see if I had a better opportunity to play somewhere. It took a lot of praying and a lot of faith.”

Now a member of Butler, Lewis is playing in his second NCAA Tournament. Ironically enough, his second stint in March Madness comes at PNC Arena, a place he called home for two seasons with the Wolfpack.

Mar 16, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Butler Bulldogs guard Tyler Lewis (1) shoots the ball during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Butler Bulldogs guard Tyler Lewis (1) shoots the ball during a practice day before the first round of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Lewis may have left the Wolfpack, but he can’t seem to avoid his Raleigh ties during the NCAA Tournament. Butler made the tournament last season and ended up in Pittsburgh for Regionals – the same location as NC State.

The Pack didn’t make a postseason tourney this year, but Lewis still finds himself close to his former teammates.

“NC State’s a place I fell in love with when I was a sophomore when I committed,” Lewis said. “It’s very ironic that we were in Pittsburgh last year at the same time and it’s ironic that I get to play here again. It’s like a circle in life. It just keeps coming back. Honestly I love it.”

Despite leaving Raleigh, there’s no animosity toward his former team. When he heard about the Regional location being at PNC Arena, Lewis immediately reached out to both Lennard Freeman and Cat Barber.

Barber and Lewis may have competed for minutes at NC State, but he said both maintain a close relationship. Even before learning Butler’s fate following the Big East Tournament, Lewis said he spoke with Barber during the ACC Tournament in Washington, D.C.

“I remember my sophomore and his freshman year,” Lewis explained. “A lot of people thought we were just competing for that spot. It kind of just made us closer as friends because people wanted to see us compete for the job but we knew it was more about the team.”

During his final year with NC State, Lewis averaged 4.4 points and 3.8 assists, averaging 19.9 minutes per game. The undersized point guard showed a smooth touch with the basketball, helping off the bench in his two years with the Pack.

The most memorable moment spent in Raleigh? That’s an easy one for Lewis.

“A great memory was when we beat Carolina and Duke here my freshman year,” Lewis said. “It’s always great to beat the blue bloods here, especially when you’re wearing the red. Those are the two biggest games … it was fun to be on top.”

A concussion suffered midway through the Big East schedule kept Lewis out of four games. He’s also seen his minutes gradually reduced from 23.6 per game prior to the injury down to 12.8 minutes in the last nine games.

“He’s obviously been an important part of our team this year and has been instrumental in some very important wins,” Butler coach Chris Holtmann said. “ … He’s returned and really given us some really important and valuable minutes.”

Regardless of the playing time he receives, Lewis will be get a chance to shine in front of family and friends – thanks to some extra tickets from his teammates. Back in PNC Arena one last time, he’s simply hoping for two wins and a trip to Chicago in his future.

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