The Butler mascot "Butler Blue III" sits outside the PNC Arena during a fan pregame tailgate event ahead of a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament between Butler and Texas Tech, Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Raleigh, N.C. NCAA rules prohibit live animals into a venue until the Final Four. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Butler celebrated its Sweet 16 berth with some familiar faces.
Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack of the Utah Jazz were on Butler’s campus Sunday and posed for a picture with team mascot Butler Blue III at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The picture went on social media through Butler Blue III’s Twitter account.
Hayward and Mack were both part of Butler’s 2010 team that reached the NCAA Tournament championship game, where the Bulldogs lost to Duke. Mack also was on the 2011 Butler team that made a second straight trip to the NCAA final before losing to Connecticut.
This marks Butler’s first regional semifinal appearance since those consecutive trips to the championship game.
— Butler Blue III (@ButlerBlue3) March 19, 2017
Hayward and Mack were in Indianapolis because the Indiana Pacers host the Jazz on Monday.
Although live animal mascots are prohibited from being inside NCAA Tournament venues until the Final Four, Butler Blue III still has found a way to make his presence felt in March, whether he was appearing at fan events last year or dining on some pregame custard this year.