INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - On April 5, 2010, the Bulldogs bused six miles to Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis to make their NCAA Division I National Championship debut, facing Duke.
Brownsburg native Gordon Hayward tossed a promising, last-second long-shot that would have been considered one of the greatest moments in sports history had it gone in. Butler fell 61-59 to the Blue Devils.
"Fortunately, I gave him a pretty good look at it. Obviously, it didn't go down, unfortunately," said Matt Howard, a Connersville native who played for Butler from 2007 to 2011. "The fact that it was so close sort of took your breath away. It completely sucked the air out of you."
Hayward's shot bouncing off the rim is a moment players from that 2010 squad have admitted they don't care to revisit. Those feelings haven't fizzled away for Emerson Kampen, who's coached Butler since his playing days concluded in 2013.
"Even as a coach, I have not watched it back," Kampen said. "You think about if you missed a free throw or if we made this, made that. There's no real reason to watch it back."
Zach Hahn, a New Castle native who played for Butler from 2007 to 2011, was eager for a fairy-tale ending too.
"We had a lot of things go our way to get to that point in the tournament," Hahn said. "For that shot to go down with all the close games that we had would have been pretty unreal and probably one of the greatest NCAA stories to ever happen."