March 14, 2011

Butler To Face Old Dominion In NCAA Tournament

TOURNAMENT START:  Butler, seeded No. 8 in the Southeast Regional, will face No. 9 seed Old Dominion in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship on Thursday, March 17.  The game is slated for a 12:40 p.m. (ET) tip at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.  The Bulldogs (23-9) will be facing Old Dominion (27-6) for just the third time.  The two teams met in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, and Butler came away with a 57-46 victory.  Butler also defeated the Monarchs, 75-62, in the second round of the 1999 NIT at Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Old Dominion earned an automatic bid to this year's tournament by winning the Colonial Athletic Association championship.

RETURN ENGAGEMENT:  Butler is making its fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and its 10th visit to the NCAA Tournament in the past 15 years.  The Bulldogs, runner-up in last year’s national championship, secured the return trip to this year’s tournament by capturing the Horizon League’s automatic bid with a 59-44 victory over host and top-seeded Milwaukee in the title game of the 2011 Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship.  Butler also secured the Horizon League’s automatic berth in 2008 and 2010, while earning at-large bids in 2007 and 2009.  The five straight trips to the national tournament are the most by a team from the Horizon League since former member Xavier made six consecutive trips to the national championship, 1986-91.  Overall, Butler is making its 11th NCAA Tournament appearance, a record for current Horizon League members.  The Bulldogs reached the “Sweet 16” in 2003 and 2007, before advancing to the Final Four and eventually the national title game last year.  

Butler has 11 wins in its last six trips to the NCAA Tournament.

BONUS PLAY:  The Bulldogs have advanced to post-season tournament play for the 13th time in 15 years.  Butler earned bids to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and this season, and to the National Invitational Tournament in 1999, 2002 and 2006. Butler’s post-season record since 1997 is 15-12 (11-9 NCAA, 4-3 NIT).

TOP 20:  Butler recorded its sixth consecutive 20-win season and its 13th 20-win ledger in the past 15 campaigns with a victory at UIC on Feb. 19.  The Horizon League record for most consecutive 20-win seasons is seven, set by the Bulldogs from 1996 to 2003.  Butler, coming off a school and league record 33-win campaign a year ago, has averaged 26.8 wins over the past six seasons and posted a winning percentage of .785.  The Bulldogs are the only team in Horizon League history to record five or more consecutive 20-win seasons and they’ve done it twice (1996-2003 and 2006-2011)!

The Bulldogs have tied the ninth-highest win total (23) in school history.
 
STREAKING BULLDOGS:  Butler has won its last nine games, including two in the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship.  The nine-game winning streak is Butler’s longest of the season and it ties the third-longest streak under head coach Brad Stevens.

The Bulldogs have tied the 11th-longest winning streak in Butler history.

MARCH GLADNESS:  The Bulldogs are 13-3 in the month of March in four seasons under head coach Brad Stevens.  Butler has won eight straight March contests, since dropping a game to LSU in the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

TOURNAMENT CHAMPS:  Butler used a rock-solid defensive effort to knock off top-seeded Milwaukee, 59-44, and successfully defend its title in the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship.  The Bulldogs limited Milwaukee, playing on its home floor in front of its largest crowd of the season, to just one field goal in the first 11 minutes of the game, while jumping out to a 23-6 lead.  The Panthers managed just four field goals, while shooting 21.1%, in the entire first half!  Milwaukee did make a charge in the second half, trimming the Butler lead to 42-39 with 9:45 remaining, but the Bulldogs responded with a 16-1 run to put the decision out of reach.  The Panthers’ 44 points were the fewest allowed by Butler this season, as were Milwaukee’s 12 total field goals.

Butler has picked up three championship trophies this season.