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Brad Stevens, Butler players are having fun

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's almost as if Butler is trying to be lovable. Their coach, Brad Stevens, beams from the podium with the enthusiasm of a proud kid who just learned how to ride his bike, cracking jokes and snapping off one-liners like a seasoned pro. Their star, Gordon Hayward, jokes slyly with his teammates behind the microphone before answering questions with a sly smirk. Ronald Nored laughs. Shelvin Mack opines. The contrast between the loose, happy Bulldogs and the straight-faced, serious, almost corporate Blue Devils was as evident from the Lucas Oil podium here Sunday as it's been on the floor all tournament long.

There was plenty of interesting material from Butler's media availability, but here's a sampling of the most entertaining quotes from Stevens and his charges:

"I think the best way I can put it is they write books and I get to read 'em." -- Butler coach Brad Stevens on what it feels like to play against coaches like Tom Izzo, Jim Boeheim, and Mike Krzyzewski

"I think we chartered, before the NCAA tournament, three times this year. We feel very fortunate to be able to do that when we can. We don't have an athletic dorm. There's a freshman dorm, a sophomore dorm, an all-female dorm, junior apartments, and seniors can live off campus. And then from a practice facility standpoint, we've done some nice minor tweaks to our auxiliary gym that is in the inside of Hinkle, but there is no real practice facility. We practice on the floor at Hinkle Fieldhouse 99.9 percent of the time." -- Stevens describing the low-budget nature of Horizon League basketball

"I think it's a great example of a school of everyone getting treated equally. We have no special needs that any other student doesn't get. I'm grateful to be a part of something special like that." -- Butler guard Shelvin Mack on the relative lack of big-program amenities at Butler

"Tennis, when you're out there alone, it's kind of like you against the world. That's always a great feeling, to know that you're in control and you hold your own destiny and you're the one making all the plays. But at the same time, there's no one else out there if you ever get stressed or need someone there for you. [...] That's what I love about basketball." -- Butler forward Gordon Hayward on his tennis-playing past and the differences between individual and team sports

"I've gotten yelled at pretty often. I got yelled at in practice last week for getting back-cut. Things like when you're supposed to trail a guy, you go up through the middle, things like that, he'll jump on you pretty quickly. Don't let him fool you. I'm just kidding. He's pretty calm all the time." -- Butler guard Ronald Nored on his coach's cool demeanor

"I remember when I was a kid, my mom sharing with me the poem "If," by Rudyard Kipling. It stuck with me. I certainly believe if you can keep your head about you while all those are losing theirs, it's a good thing." -- Stevens on his demeanor

"But, you know, I think this is what makes college basketball great. You know, we can recruit guys, we can get guys just like any other university. We can come and compete for guys like any other university. I think it's tough for football because of the size and the physicalness and sometimes the skill can be such a difference between a team like Alabama and another team. [...] I really do, I think this is what makes college basketball great. I honestly believe on any night, five guys can beat five guys. It's about going out there and competing, sticking to your system and doing what you do." -- Nored on the differences between college basketball and college football's opportunities for upsets

"I don't have time to go anyplace that cards you." -- Stevens on whether or not his youthful looks cause him difficulty at Indianapolis' finest establishments

"I said this the other day. Now that I am in coaching, they made a great decision not to recruit me. I would not have helped them win." -- A laughing Stevens on Butler's decision not to recruit him; the coach played basketball at DePauw University

"It's great. It's absolutely fine. We embrace that. I think it's a wonderful thing. It makes me feel good. Because David won." -- Stevens on whether he embraces the notion that his team is underdog