Butler is one of the best men's basketball programs of the last two decades. Our NCAA tournament record since 2001 is 22-12, which is remarkable for a school that has never received a regional seeding higher than #4. We're in the company of only a few small-conference schools to ascend rapidly and reach the big-time; this contextualizes teams like Xavier, which actually has been on a national stage via the A-10 for a while, and Wichita St., which is perhaps Butler's only comp since our back-to-back Final Four years. But there are aspects of the Butler program that distinguish it further. Wichita St. has inflated its season-by-season records by beating up on the MVC. Since 2010, Butler has jumped from the Horizon (a weaker league than the MVC) to the A-10 (Xavier's playground) to the Big East, which has legitimized itself as equal to a "Power Five" conference. Brad was not Butler's coach for any of these Big East years. The wunderkind who was responsible for our taking off took off himself -- to coach the Boston freaking Celtics, putting into perspective just how rarely lucky we were. Leading the program during the Big East years has been: Miller, who began a tumultuous and potentially perilous transition; Holt, who we mistook for manna and was a disc of putty to plug a dam; and LaVall, who is trying to keep the program afloat now that the pressure of adjusting to power-conference basketball naturally has caught up to us. This expectation that oh, we ought to go 22-8 like it's nothing because the Big East is "down" this year is silly. Let's complement our pre-season KenPom forecasts for a moment with reality. The motto that got Butler here was The Game Honors Toughness. The motto that keeps Butler here is The Game Honors Recruiting Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges and Omari Spellman and Jalen Brunson. It takes time to set up a consistent recruiting pipeline at the elite levels, and it's an opportunity Butler has never been afforded because of coaching turnover amid program growth. I don't know as much about the finances of our athletic department as other posters do, but it seems reasonable that growing the basketball budget too is not an instantaneous process. It's natural for sports fans to be impatient about their team's success. But good lord -- we're losing our minds here. Consider that: Ohio State is in freefall. IU has Romeo Langford and it seems not to matter. Xavier lost Chris Mack and is adjusting uncomfortably, accordingly. There are multiple pedigree schools in our conference that are still trying to match our modern success: the likes of St. John's and Georgetown. Shaka has never found his footing at Texas. You go on and on like this for a while and begin to understand that expecting crazy, sustained success to appear from the ether is delusional and once-in-a-generational, like what Tony Bennett is doing with UVA. And that is the implied expectation of this board -- granting that it may reflect the Butler fan base's opinion of the program the way Twitter represents the public's opinion of politics and culture. It's not that we're "losing perspective" here, which happens from time to time, in the throes of tough stretches of basketball. It's that the team lost control of the last six weeks, while we seem to have lost our gourds permanently. It's just as legitimate to argue that LaVall was a bad hire as it is to argue that the jury is very much still out on him. It's ridiculous to conclude that he was a bad hire. He needs to grow in the job. Perhaps he needs a better coaching staff. To fulfill our short-term expectations, he certainly would have needed better recruits. Butler's upperclassmen this century usually have been key contributors and leaders, but the ones this year play complementary and non-leadership roles. It's difficult to generate good offense against major-conference competition with a backcourt pair that cannot shoot. Jordan Tucker may be very good, very often, in short order -- but he's been seeing playing time since just the IU game. This team doesn't have a go-to scorer late in close games who can withstand or go through contact like Kelan, a key distinction from Kamar. This team doesn't have a unique match-up problem like Rosey, which is difficult for any coach to game-plan against. This team does have some good shooters -- but a pair like McDermott and Jorgs doesn't measure up against a pair like Rotnei and Kellen. The roster has some interesting pieces, even touted ones who have shown flashes like Joey and Tucker and (what's left of) David. It also isn't necessarily a top-half-of-the-Big-East, lead-pipe-lock for a tourney team. I say that, because it's beginning to wear how hard -- not critical, but just hard -- too many posters are on some of these players. Science hasn't changed: You're still not getting water from stone. It's a big disappointment that this team is 12-10 and seems destined for NIT ball, if even that. But this team also has a young coach not only trying to live up to expectations, but push them even further: a challenge for a program-builder, the type of person we thought we were spoiled to have twice in the last decade. And from what we can see publicly, that coach is putting his team's struggles all on himself and not selling out his players, unlike his counterpart 50 miles south. Of the two, I'd rather have the one who exercises accountability in public. I hope he gets to the point this year that he can design offense that fits the limitations of his roster, make more in-game adjustments, engender more consistent enthusiasm and engagement from his players. We don't have much choice but to give him the chance, and I don't know why anyone would voluntarily go on that journey acting like a brat instead of a hopeful passenger.