Butler's Big Dance

Butler's Big Dance

The Team, the Tournament, and Basketball Fever
Susan S Neville, foreword by Bobby Fong, edited by Susan S Neville
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/22/2010
Format: Paperback 32 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22312-8
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The Butler Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA National Championship basketball game against Duke University upon defeating Michigan State on April 3, 2010. With only 4,500 students, Butler was the smallest school to play for a national championship since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Coached by Brad Stevens—just three years into his position as head basketball coach—the undefeated Bulldogs were a hometown team, playing before a hometown crowd on the national stage. Two days later, Butler lost narrowly to Duke, 61–59, but their run for the championship had become a national phenomenon. From her vantage point as a Butler professor, acclaimed writer Susan Neville observed (and participated in) Hoosier Hysteria firsthand. In Butler's Big Dance, she intertwines her recollections of the events with interviews, anecdotes, and photographs to bring readers a taste of the on-campus and courtside excitement of the Bulldogs’ David-and-Goliath bid for the national title.

Author Bio

Susan S. Neville is a native Hoosier and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Butler University. Her books include Iconography: A Writer’s Meditation (IUP, 2003) and Sailing the Inland Sea (IUP, 2007).


“The electrifying story of the undefeated Butler Bulldogs as their run for the NCAA National Championship became a national phenomenon.”

“After reading [Butler's Big Dance], I feel like I experienced the campus excitement all firsthand. I greatly appreciate [Neville's] efforts to put that atmosphere into words.”
 — Brad Stevens, Butler University Men's Basketball Coach

“Neville is well-positioned to tell this tale, given she's a native Hoosier and a Butler prof—and one of Indiana's finest writers. There will be other books about the Dawgs' battle with Duke, filled with stats and jargon; this work is about how it felt to be here. December 8, 2010”

“[A]n original book both gentle and bold . . . containing many passages worth perusing.”
 — Indianapolis Business Journal

“Neville gives us an excellent sense of what it's like, as she notes, to be living inside a national myth. . . . As a personal yet wide-ranging investigation of Hoosier Hysteria, Butler's Big Dance will resonate with almost any longtime Bloomingtonian who remembers the joyous surges of energy that have accompanied IU's spate of prolonged tournament runs in the past several decades.February/March 2011”
 — Bloom

“You probably feel you have read the Butler story told in every hue possible, but you haven't. You have primarily read sports writers . . . In this book, Susan S. Neville, a native Hoosier and a professor of creative writing at Butler, elevates the chronicle to new heights.”
 — Indiana Magazine of History

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Bobby Fong
Preface: On Joy
On Fire
The Summit
The Bookstore
Why Basketball?
Beneath the Hoosier Sky
Toward a Theory of Indiana Basketball
On Being a Fan
How Surreal Was It?
Another Voice: An Alum
On Teaching
On History
Hinkle Fieldhouse
Lightness of Being
The Dance
The Dancers
Other Voices: Almost Religious
Student Athlete I
Basketball Stars
Other Voices: Rituals
Time Delay
Student Athlete II
Student Athlete III
Gordon Hayward's Decision: On Vocation
The Championship Game
Another Voice: Alum II
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
A Blessing
Epilogue: Brad Stevens Basketball Camp
Afterword: What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Surreal?
Another Voice: Butler University President Bobby Fong's Speech to the Team after Their Loss in the Championship Game
The Scores, in Case You've Forgotten!

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