April 25, 2011

Butler Continues Basketball Success Run

BACK-TO-BACK:  For a second consecutive year, Butler ended a remarkable basketball season in the title game of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. And for the second straight year, the Bulldogs etched their name in the Butler, Horizon League and NCAA record books.  Butler, unranked for much of the season, put on a strong season-ending run that culminated with a second straight national runner-up finish.  The Bulldogs, who took a 14-game winning streak into the national title game, finished the season with a 28-10 record, including a 13-5 mark in Horizon League play.  Butler won a league-record seventh Horizon League Tournament title and a league-record tenth regular season championship.  The Indianapolis squad advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a league-record tenth time and then became the first team in NCAA history to reach the Final Four in consecutive years as a No. 3 seed or lower.  The No. 8-seeded Bulldogs knocked off No. 1 seed Pittsburgh, No. 2 seed Florida, No. 4 seed Wisconsin and No. 9 seed Old Dominion on the way to the Southeast Regional championship.  Butler finished the season ranked second in the final ESPN/USA Today national poll, matching the 2009-10 Bulldogs for the highest ranking ever achieved by a team from the Horizon League.      

Butler is the first school from Indiana to earn consecutive trips to the Final Four.

BONUS PLAY:  The Bulldogs 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 16-13 (12-10 NCAA, 4-3 NIT).

Butler has the most NCAA Tournament wins (10) of any team in the nation over the past two years.

TOP 20:  Butler recorded its sixth consecutive 20-win season and its 13th 20-win ledger in the past 15 campaigns during 2010-11.  The six straight 20-win seasons is one shy of the Horizon League record, set by the Bulldogs from 1996 to 2003.  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 recorded the fourth-highest win total (28) in school/league history.

HALF DECADE:  The Bulldogs have averaged 29.2 wins over the past five seasons, including two 30-win campaigns, and posted a winning percentage of .820.  Only three teams in the nation, Kansas (165), North Carolina (150) and Duke (147) have more wins than Butler (146) over the past five seasons.  

POLL POSITION:  Butler was ranked in the “Top 20” of both the A.P. and ESPN/USA Today polls at the start of the 2010-11 season, but the Bulldogs fell out of both polls following a loss to Evansville on Nov. 27.  The Bulldogs didn’t return to the “Top 25” until finishing as national runner-up!

WIN STREAK:  Butler’s 14-game winning streak in February and March ranks as the third-longest winning streak in Butler men’s basketball history.  The Bulldogs compiled a 25-game winning streak a year ago, and Butler had a 15-game winning streak under head coach Barry Collier in 1999-2000.  Head coach Brad Stevens has guided the Bulldogs to three of the top seven winning streaks in Butler history.

The Bulldogs have been unbeaten in March for two straight years.

LEAGUE LEADER:  Butler leads all Horizon League members in NCAA Tournament wins with 16 since the league was formed in 1979-80.  All other current members have combined for 10 NCAA Tournament wins during their time in the league.  Former league member Xavier has the second-most wins with five during its 16 years in the conference, while Detroit and Milwaukee share second among current members with three tournament wins apiece.

SEEDING TIME:  Butler became the first team in NCAA Tournament history to defeat both a No. 1 and a No. 2 seed before the Final Four in consecutive years.  The Bulldogs beat top-seeded Pittsburgh in the third round of this year’s tournament and then defeated No. 2 seed Florida in the Southeast Regional championship game.  A year ago, Butler beat top-seeded Syracuse in the West Regional semifinals and then upended No. 2 seed Kansas State in the regional championship.

RANKED FOES:  Butler’s victory over #15-ranked Florida in the Southeast Regional championship game was the Bulldogs’ third against a nationally-ranked squad in eight days.  The Bulldogs, who beat #4 Pittsburgh and #16 Wisconsin prior to the Florida win, have eight victories in their last 11 games against nationally-ranked opponents, with all three losses coming to national champions (Duke, twice in 2010, and Connecticut in 2011).  Butler has beaten nine nationally-ranked foes since Brad Stevens took over as head coach in 2007-08, including eight in NCAA Tournament play.  A year ago, the Bulldogs posted consecutive victories over #4 Syracuse, #7 Kansas State and #13 Michigan State on the way to the NCAA Division I national championship game.

Butler has defeated four “Top 10” teams since 2000 - #4 Pittsburgh (2011), #4 Syracuse (2010), #7 Kansas State (2010) and #10 Wisconsin (2000).

ELITE GROUP:  For the second consecutive year, Butler’s Matt Howard received the NCAA’s Elite 88 Award at the Final Four.  The award is presented at each of the NCAA’s 88 championships to the participating student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average.  Howard, a finance/MIS major with a 3.769 GPA, received a congratulatory handshake from former President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, upon receiving the award at the Final Four Salute Presentation.

SMART CHOICE:  Matt Howard was named the 2010-11 NCAA Division I Academic All-American of the Year, and he was chosen to the Capital One Academic All-America Team for a school-record third consecutive year.  Howard, a two-time first team Academic All-American, was one of two repeat selections on this year’s Academic All-America squad, joining Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis.

ALL-TOURNAMENT:  Junior Shelvin Mack and senior Matt Howard each earned All-Tournament recognition at both the Final Four and the Southeast Regional.  Mack led the Bulldogs in scoring at the Final Four with 37 points, while Howard added 24 points and 14 rebounds.  The two joined Kemba Walker (MVP) and Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut and Jamie Skeen of VCU on the Final Four All-Tournament Squad.   One week earlier, Mack was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Southeast Regional, after scoring 40 points in Butler’s wins over Wisconsin and Florida.   Howard, who tallied 34 points in the two wins in New Orleans, joined Mack on the Southeast Regional All-Tournament squad.  The other three All-Tournament slots went to Florida’s trio of Alex Tyus, Vernon Macklin and Kenny Boynton.  Mack made both All-Tournament squads for the second consecutive year.

TOURNAMENT LEADERS:  Junior Shelvin Mack became the first player in Butler basketball history to score 100 points in NCAA Tournament action with his first field goal in the 2010 national title game.  Former teammate Gordon Hayward became the second later in the same game, while Matt Howard became the third in Butler’s victory over Pittsburgh this year.  Mack is Butler’s all-time tournament scoring leader with 232 career NCAA points, while Howard stands second with 172.  Hayward is third with 107.

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 was in the league championship game for the 12th time in the past 15 years.

Butler has captured five league tournament titles since 2000.

MVP:  For the second straight year, senior Matt Howard led the Bulldogs in the Horizon League Tournament championship game, and for the second consecutive year, Howard was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.  The 6-8 Butler forward finished with a game-high 18 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot against Milwaukee, and he averaged 16.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in the Bulldogs’ two tournament wins.  He hit 12 of 18 (.667) shots in the two tournament games at U. S. Cellular Arena, including seven of nine in the championship game.  Howard became just the third player in Horizon League history to claim the league’s tournament MVP award in consecutive years.

Matt Howard is the first player in Horizon League history to earn league All-Tournament honors four times.

ALL-TOURNAMENT:  Senior Matt Howard was one of three Butler players named to the All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the 2011 Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship.  Junior Shelvin Mack was picked to the All-Tournament squad for the third consecutive year, while senior Shawn Vanzant made the honor squad for the first time.  It was the fifth time (all since 2000) that Butler placed three players on the league All-Tournament Team.  The Bulldogs set a league record with four players named to the 2010 All-Tournament Team.

ALL-LEAGUE:  Senior Matt Howard and junior Shelvin Mack both were selected to the 2010-11 Horizon League Men’s Basketball All-League Team.  Howard was named to the All-League squad for the fourth consecutive year and was tabbed first team All-League for the third successive season.  He’s the 12th player in league history and the second Butler player (Chad Tucker, 1985-88) to earn first team All-League honors three times.  Mack was named second team All-League, after being a first team All-League pick in 2009-10.

ALL-DEFENSIVE:  Senior Matt Howard and junior Ronald Nored were named to the five-player Horizon League All-Defensive Team in 2010-11.  It was the second straight year on the team for Nored, who was league Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2009-10, while Howard earned a spot on the league’s defensive squad for the second time in three years.

SENIOR SUCCESS:  Butler’s senior class of Matt Howard, Shawn Vanzant, Zach Hahn, Grant Leiendecker and Alex Anglin finished with a four-year record of 117-25.  The 117 wins are second all-time at Butler, trailing only the 118 victories compiled by Butler’s 2009-10 seniors.

RECORD APPEARANCE:  Seniors Matt Howard, Shawn Vanzant and Zach Hahn tied the Butler record for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (4), set by former teammate Willie Veasley in 2010.  The three seniors also set a school mark for most NCAA games played (15).

SCORING STREAK:  Shelvin Mack posted his 22nd consecutive double-figures scoring performance with 13 points against Connecticut in the national championship game.  The Butler junior ran his streak of double-figures scoring performances in NCAA Tournament play to 13 straight contests, every tournament game of his Butler career.  Mack scored 10 or more points in all but four games in 2010-11, and he boosted his career total for double-figures scoring performances to 83.

NATIONAL HONOR:  Butler senior Matt Howard was named recipient of the 2011 Lou Henson Award, presented annually to the top mid-major player in Division I.  The award is named in honor of Lou Henson, who boasted 779 wins in a 41-year collegiate coaching career that included stints at Illinois and New Mexico.  Howard, who received his award in Houston at the Final Four, also was named to the 2011 Lou Henson All-America Team, along with teammate Shelvin Mack.

TOP DEFENDERS:  Butler junior guard Ronald Nored was selected to the 2011 Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America Team.  Nored, a two-time Horizon League All-Defensive Team selection, and JuJuan Johnson of Purdue were the lone players from Indiana named to the honor squad.  The Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America Team featured 21 Division I players, including Defensive Player of the Year Kent Bazemore of Old Dominion.

ALL-DISTRICT:  Butler’s duo of senior Matt Howard and junior Shelvin Mack were among 10 players named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) 2011 All-District 12 Team.  Howard was named to the All-District Team for the third consecutive year and was chosen first team for the second time in three years.  Mack, a first team All-District pick a year ago, was named to the second team this year.

CLAIR BEE AWARD:  Butler head coach Brad Stevens was named the 2010-11 recipient of the Coach Clair Bee Award  by Chip Hilton Sports during this year’s Final Four.  The award is presented to a coach who is determined to have made the most significant positive contribution to college basketball during the preceding year.  The winner reflects the character and professional qualities of Clair Bee, a Hall of Fame coach considered by many to be the best technical coach in history and a man who cared deeply about his players’ well-being.  Former winners of the award include Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, Lute Olson of Arizona, and Tom Izzo of Michigan State.      

QUICK START:  Butler coach Brad Stevens owns the top spot on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Starts By Wins, 4 seasons.  The Bulldogs’ coach, who boasts a four-year record of 117-25, climbed past previous four-year leader Everett Case of North Carolina State, who compiled a 107-22 record from 1947-50.  Stevens also holds the NCAA three-year record with 89 victories, and he’s second on the two-year list with 56 wins.

FIRST 100:  Butler’s Brad Stevens recorded his 100th career win in his 120th career game.  Only five coaches in NCAA men’s basketball history reached 100 wins faster, and none did it in the past three decades.  Stevens is tied for sixth on the NCAA Division I coaching list for “Fastest To 100 Wins.”  He’s tied for fifth on the list for “Fastest To 50 Wins.”

TOURNAMENT TIME:  Brad Stevens is the first Butler head coach to reach the NCAA Tournament in each of his first four seasons at the helm of the Bulldogs.  He also participated in the NCAA Tournament as Butler’s director of basketball operations in 2000, and as a Butler assistant coach in 2003 and 2007.  He’s been with the Bulldogs for 16 of Butler’s 18 all-time NCAA Tournament wins.

Brad Stevens (34) is the youngest coach to reach consecutive Final Fours.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Matt Howard broke the record of former teammate A. J. Graves (2004-08) for most career starts at Butler with 133.  Howard also owns the Butler career record for games played (141), breaking the previous mark (134) of former teammate Willie Veasley (2006-10).

•Matt Howard finished his career in third place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,939 career points.  He also finished third on Butler’s all-time rebounding list with 884 career rebounds.  

•Matt Howard is Butler’s all-time leader in free throws made (669).  He’s the only player in Butler history with more than 500 free throws made.

•Matt Howard is the first player in Butler basketball history to score 1,500 career points and grab 800 career rebounds.

•Matt Howard, who hit just five three-point field goals in his first three seasons at Butler, finished second on the team with 53 three-pointers in 2010-11.

•Matt Howard posted his 100th career double-figures scoring performance in Butler’s NCAA Tournament win over Old Dominion.

•Matt Howard tied Butler’s NCAA Tournament record with 42 rebounds in six games.  He matched former teammate Gordon Hayward, who had 42 rebounds in the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

•Matt Howard is Butler’s all-time leading rebounder in NCAA Tournament play with 83 in 15 career NCAA games.

•Matt Howard set Butler’s all-time record for free throws made in NCAA Tournament play with 54 in 15 games.

•Matt Howard was honored in Houston at the Final Four as one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, presented for notable achievement in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

•Matt Howard wound up fourth in the Horizon League in scoring (16.4) in 2010-11.  Teammate Shelvin Mack finished fifth in the league in scoring (16.0).

•Junior Shelvin Mack moved into 11th place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,527 career points, four points behind Wayne Burris (1973-77) in the No. 10 spot.

•Shelvin Mack became the fourth player in Butler basketball history to reach 200 three-point field goals during the Southeast Regional in Washington, D.C.  He currently stands fourth on Butler’s all-time list with 216 career three-pointers.

•Shelvin Mack posted the eighth-highest single season total for three-point field goals (87) in Butler history.  Mack ranked fourth in the Horizon League in three-point field goals (2.3) in 2010-11.

•Shelvin Mack ranks fifth on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 357 career assists.  Mack ranked fifth in the Horizon League in assists (3.4) in 2010-11.  

•Shelvin Mack set a Butler NCAA Tournament record with 122 points in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.  He boosted his all-time Butler NCAA Tournament scoring record to 232 points.

•Shelvin Mack became the eighth player in Horizon League history to earn league All-Tournament recognition three times.

•Shelvin Mack is one of just three Butler players to score 25 or more points in an NCAA Tournament game, and he’s done it three times.  Pete Campbell (2008) and Darnell Archey (2003) are the other two.

•Shelvin Mack set an NCAA Final Four single game record by hitting five of six (.833) three-point field goal attempts against VCU.  The previous single game mark was .714, held by four players.

•Shawn Vanzant finished in third place on Butler’s all-time list for games played with 138.

•Shawn Vanzant led the Bulldogs and finished seventh in the Horizon League in assist/turnover ratio (1.6).  Vanzant had 13 assists and just six turnovers in the NCAA Tournament.

•Zach Hahn finished second all-time at Butler in games played (139).

•Zach Hahn finished in 12th place on Butler’s all-time list for 3-point field goals with 154.

•Zach Hahn hit 80% of his career field goals (154 of 193) from beyond the three-point arc.

•Ronald Nored had five steals in this year’s NCAA Tournament, boosting his Butler NCAA Tournament record to 21 steals in 13 career games.

•Ronald Nored stands 11th on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 304 career assists.  He finished second on the team with 84 assists in 2010-11.

•Andrew Smith finished second in the  Horizon League in field goal shooting in 2010-11.  His .593 field goal percentage was the ninth-highest in Butler history.  

•Andrew Smith led or shared the team lead in rebounding in nine of Butler’s final 13 games.  Smith grabbed at least eight rebounds in eight of his final 12 contests.

•Chase Stigall was in the starting lineup in 13 of Butler’s final 15 games in 2010-11.  The Bulldogs were 12-1 in those 13 games.

•Khyle Marshall came off the bench to grab a share of Butler’s rebounding lead in two of the team’s final five games.  He shared the team lead with six rebounds against Pittsburgh, and then he topped the Bulldogs with nine rebounds against VCU.  Marshall was third on the team in rebounding (5.7) during the NCAA Tournament.

•Khyle Marshall tied the seventh-highest single game rebound total in Butler’s NCAA Tournament history with nine against Virginia Commonwealth.

•Butler was ranked No. 1 in the final CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.  It’s the second straight season that the Bulldogs finished at the top of the poll.  VCU was second in this year’s poll.

•The Bulldogs set Butler single season records for most points (2,707) and most rebounds (1,337) and tied the school mark for most field goals (919) in 2010-11.

•Butler posted the third-highest single season total for three-point field goals in school history with 289 in 2010-11.   

•Butler hit at least nine three-point field goals in 13 games in 2010-11.  The Bulldogs are 50-4 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.

•The Bulldogs were 9-2 on neutral courts this season, with the two setbacks coming to #1-ranked Duke and national champion Connecticut.  Butler is 20-8 on neutral courts under head coach Brad Stevens.

•Butler was 3-2 against teams ranked in the “Top 25” in 2010-11.

•Head coach Brad Stevens has guided the Bulldogs to two of the top three winning streaks in Butler basketball history (25 games in 2009-10; 14 games in 2010-11).

•Brad Stevens became the first coach to lead Butler to four NCAA Tournament appearances, and he did it in his first four seasons.

•Butler is one of 11 schools to reach the Final Four in consecutive years since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.  The others are Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, Maryland, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, UCLA, Michigan and UNLV.

•Butler was the first team to reach the Final Four in consecutive years and not be seeded No. 1 or No. 2 in either year.

•Butler became the 10th team in NCAA Tournament history to win at least three games by three or fewer points in a single tournament.

•Butler has posted back-to-back seasons of at least 28 wins for the second time in school history.  Previously, the Bulldogs finished 29-7 in 2006-07 and 30-4 in 2007-08.

•The Bulldogs set a school mark for best two-year win total with 61 victories over the last two seasons.

Maybe You Missed This:

•Brad Stevens was named the 2010-11 Samaritan’s Feet “Barefoot Coach of the Year” in recognition of his efforts on behalf of the national charity.  The award was presented at the Legends of the Hardwood breakfast in Houston, Texas, during the Final Four.

•Brad Stevens was chosen to serve as an assistant coach for the 2011 USA Men’s World University Games Team.  Matt Painter of Purdue was named head coach of the team and Cuonzo Martin of Missouri State was selected as an assistant coach.  The World University Games will be held August 12-23 in Shenzhen, China.

•The top seven single season win totals in Butler basketball history have been recorded since Brad Stevens joined the Bulldogs’ coaching staff.  He’s guided the Bulldogs to the No. 1 (33, 2009-10), No. 2 (30, 2007-08), No. 4 (28, 2010-11) and No. 6-T (26, 2008-09) winningest seasons as Butler’s head coach, and he served as an assistant coach on teams that posted the No. 3 (29, 2006-07), No. 5 (27, 2002-03) and No. 6-T (26, 2001-02) totals.

•Butler had three players named to the Horizon League Academic All-League Team for the fifth time in six years.  Seniors Matt Howard and Zach Hahn made the honor squad for the third time, while junior Ronald Nored was a first-time pick.

•The Bulldogs’ championship at the 2010 Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii was the sixth in-season tournament title captured by a Butler team and the second under head coach Brad Stevens.

•Senior Matt Howard was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2010 Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, after leading Butler to the team title.  Howard averaged 18.7 points and 8.7 rebounds, while helping Butler to victories over Utah, Florida State and Washington State.  He finished third in the tournament in rebounding (26) and fourth in scoring (56).  The 6-8 Butler forward was joined on the All-Tournament Team by teammate Shelvin Mack, who led the Bulldogs with 20 points in the tournament championship game against Washington State.  Mack wound up tied for sixth in the tournament in scoring with 50 points.

•The Bulldogs’ trip to the 2010 Final Four wrapped up the most successful 10-season period in Butler basketball history.  Over the ten seasons (2000-10), Butler compiled a 244-84 (.748) record, including eight seasons of 20 or more wins.  The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA Tournament six times, made three “Sweet 16” appearances, earned one “Elite Eight” berth and became the first team in Horizon League history to reach the Final Four during the ten-year period.  Butler captured seven Horizon League regular season championships and three league tournament titles during the decade, and the Bulldogs advanced to post-season tournament play in eight of the ten seasons.

•Butler’s 118 wins over the four seasons from 2006-2010 set a school and Horizon League record for most wins in four consecutive years.  The Bulldogs also own the Horizon League’s two-year (61, 2009-11) and three-year (89, 2007-10) records for victories.

Butler has won at least 20 games in six consecutive seasons and in 13 of the past 15 campaigns.

•Butler is one of just three NCAA Division I schools to win at least 25 games in each of the last five seasons (2006-11).  The other two are Kansas and BYU.

•Butler head coach Brad Stevens landed four recruits on the first day of the NCAA’s fall signing period.  Joining the Bulldogs’ 2011-12 freshman class were 6-4 Roosevelt Jones of O’Fallon, Ill., 6-1 Jackson Aldridge of Sydney, Australia, 6-7 Andy Smeathers of Bargersville (Center Grove H.S.) and 6-9 Kameron Woods of Louisville, Ky. (Eastern H.S.).  Jones averaged 17.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists for O’Fallon in 2010-11, while Aldridge was a gold medal-winning point-guard on Australia’s U18 team.  Smeathers, averaged 14.7 points for Center Grove, while Woods averaged 8.2 points and 8.7 rebounds at Eastern.