After Butler pulled off a shocking comeback and overtime win over Florida in the Elite 8 Saturday, Bulldogs coach Brad Stevens embraced Billy Donovan and said the Florida coach outcoached him. His words and praise were quite surprising given the way Butler came back to win the game, and the words were probably a weak consolation for Donovan.
A day later, Stevens appeared on CBS and explained why he said that. “I’ve just got a lot of respect for them,” Stevens said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I thought they did a great job. It’s another one of these games that comes down to the last possessions and our guys’ will to win just kind of carried us through.”
Stevens may be generous and kind towards Florida in victory, but I’ll say what he didn’t: he outcoached Donovan. When Butler was down by nine with seven minutes left, Stevens went to his bench for a lift and got it in the form of a three-pointer from Chrishawn Hopkins. Then, the most egregious offense by Donovan was allowing his team to slow things down offensively and stop going for points to maintain their lead. The lack of aggression from the Gators allowed Butler to charge back and seize momentum.
Lastly, Florida was hurt by Erving Walker in a similar fashion that William Buford hurt Ohio State. Walker was 1-for-10 and only had four assists, hardly creating for his teammates. It was the worst time for the 39% three-point shooter to go cold and it cost his team. Ultimately, Stevens was being generous and unnecessarily gave credit to Donovan because he was not outcoached in the game.