Butler Campus, Downtown Abuzz Before Big Game

Butler Bookstore Doing Brisk Business

The Butler campus and downtown Indianapolis were a flurry of excitement Monday as the hours ticked down to the NCAA National Championship.

Classes were still in session at Butler Monday afternoon, although many students and faculty members said they were anxious for the day to end, 6News' Julie Pursley reported.

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"I just want to skip and go downtown now so we can start waiting for the game to start tonight," said Butler senior Joel Burnette. "But we're not. We're still going to classes."

But students will have reprieve on Tuesday. During a downtown pep rally, President Bobby Fong announced classes would be canceled the day after the big game.

"We're strict, but we're not stupid," Fong told the cheering crowd. "People wonder how such a small school can compete for a national championship. But we know that it isn't the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

Some students took buses downtown to the rally.

"It's amazing. I can't even believe that we're here," one student said. "We're little . We're not supposed to go that far. But being there is so amazing."

Back on campus, business was booming at the bookstore, where fans were snatching up T-shirts and another NCAA gear for themselves and other Butler faithful across the country.

"I had to buy some for my family in Minnesota," said Butler alumna Hilliary Wolfe, who bought four T-shirts.

"The first thing we had to wait for the bookstore to open, and then it was buy shirts for the family that gave me orders at Easter dinner yesterday," said Butler staff member Phil Hughes.

Others waited in line outside Lucas Oil Stadium, with some sleeping there overnight, in hopes of nabbing the best tickets for Monday's game.

"We're tough and we're dedicated and we're ready for the game tonight," said Butler student Jake Lemon.

"Everybody talks about coming back home so we feel like this is our house," another student said. "We're going to try and bring home a national championship tonight."

There was also no rest for the school's mascot, Butler Blue II, who made the rounds on "Good Morning Indiana" and national morning shows.

"It used to be we could just bring him to campus, we could just slip in and out of places. People would say 'Hey Blue' and give him a quick pat," said Blue's owner, Mike Kaltenmark, a Butler staff member and alum. "Those days are long gone. We usually get mobbed and a lot of photo request."

Butler Blue II skipped the pep rally for a nap, but was expected to join the team on the floor ahead of the championship game.

For those students, alumni and fans who won't be at Lucas Oil Stadium, the school will host another viewing party at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. More than 3,500 people showed up to watch the Butler-Michigan State match-up on Saturday.

Doors open at the fieldhouse at 8 p.m., and the game tips off at 9:21 p.m.