Butler Faces Ambitious 2009-10 Basketball Schedule
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Butler men’s basketball coach Brad Stevens hasn’t
been shy about challenging his team and this year’s rugged
schedule certainly meets his expectations. Included on the
Bulldogs’ 2009-10 schedule are nine teams that advanced to
post-season tournament play a year ago, and that number could grow
by a couple more when Butler plays in an early season Thanksgiving
Stevens has everyone back from last year’s 26-6 club, which captured the Horizon League regular season championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a third consecutive year. The Bulldogs were ranked in the “Top 25” of the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today national polls for 12 consecutive weeks, including three weeks among the nation’s top 15 teams.
The veteran Butler team will be tested by a schedule that includes 11 games against opponents that won at least 20 games last season and five games against teams that were ranked in the “Top 25” at some point last year.
“Every year we want to compete at a high level,” said Stevens, who stands second on the NCAA Division I list for “Best Career Starts, Two Seasons” with a 56-10 record. “We recognize that every time we take the floor this season, it will be a great challenge.”
“I can’t imagine a more exciting schedule for the Butler community,” added the Butler head coach.
Butler will play 13 regular season home games, plus a pair of early November exhibition contests. The Bulldogs will open the 2009-10 campaign at home against 2009 NIT participant Davidson on Nov. 14, and will have a pair pre-Christmas contests at Hinkle Fieldhouse against NCAA Tournament teams Ohio State (Dec. 12) and Xavier (Dec. 19). Butler’s other non-league home contest will be an ESPNU Bracket Buster game on Feb. 20.
The Bulldogs’ non-league road slate is highlighted by a pair of high-profile national events, the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., and the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. Butler will face NCAA Tournament participant Minnesota in the first round of the 76 Classic on Nov. 26, and the Bulldogs could meet NCAA tourney teams UCLA, Clemson, West Virginia or Texas A & M in subsequent rounds of the eight-team Thanksgiving tournament.
Butler’s opponent at the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 8 in New York will be NIT participant Georgetown. The game will be the first half of a double-header that also features Indiana versus Pittsburgh. The Bulldogs’ remaining non-league road contests will be at NIT participants Northwestern (Nov. 18) and UAB (Dec. 22) and at state foes Evansville (Nov. 21) and Ball State (Dec. 2).
Butler will face every Horizon League foe twice, beginning with a game against Valparaiso on Dec. 5. NCAA Tournament participant Cleveland State will come to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Jan. 14, while College Basketball Invitational participant Green Bay will visit Indianapolis on Dec. 31. The Horizon League Tournament will begin at first round sites on March 2.