November 11, 2010

Bulldogs Open 2010-11 Season Against Marian

STARTING BLOCK:  Butler will tip-off the 2010-11 season and start a string of five games in 14 days when it hosts Marian on Saturday, Nov. 13.  The season-opener at Hinkle Fieldhouse will start at 2 p.m. (ET) and will be preceded by Butler’s unveiling of its 2010 Final Four banner.  The Bulldogs, who return three starters from last year’s record-setting club which advanced to the NCAA Division I National Championship game, will be opening the season at home for the second straight year.  Butler defeated Davidson, 73-62, in last year’s season-opener in front of a crowd of 6,713.  The Bulldogs will be playing Marian for the first time in 30 years and for just the second time ever.  The Knights won the first meeting, 58-56, in 1980.  Butler’s busy early schedule will continue with a game at Louisville on Tuesday (Nov. 16) and a home game against Ball State on Saturday (Nov. 20).  The Bulldogs will travel to Siena for a game on Tuesday, Nov. 23, and then return home to close the five-game stretch against Evansville on Saturday, Nov. 27.                                   

Butler is 3-0 in season-openers under head coach Brad Stevens.

FAMILIAR FACES:  Butler will have three players who lined up at the opening tip of last spring’s NCAA National Championship game against Duke in the line-up for this year’s season-opener against Marian.  Senior Matt Howard and juniors Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored each started against Duke and will be three key players on this year’s Butler squad.  Howard was Butler’s second-leading rebounder (5.2)  and third leading scorer (11.6) last year, while Mack finished as the team’s second-leading scorer (14.1).  Nored led the Bulldogs in assists (3.6) and steals (1.8) in 2009-10.  Seniors Shawn Vanzant and Zach Hahn and sophomore Andrew Smith also saw action against Duke last spring.

Butler returns 11 letterwinners from last year’s 33-5 team.

HOME WORK:  The Bulldogs were 15-0 in Hinkle Fieldhouse last year, Butler’s first unbeaten home record since 2002-03.  Butler is 30-2 at home over the past two seasons, and the Bulldogs are 44-3 in Hinkle Fieldhouse in three seasons under head coach Brad Stevens.

EARLY RECOGNITION:  Butler, ranked No. 2 in the final ESPN/USA Today national poll a year ago, will open the 2010-11 season as the No. 17 ranked team in the Associated Press (A.P.) preseason poll and with a No. 18 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today preseason poll.  The Bulldogs have been ranked in the “Top 25” nationally in each of the past four seasons.

Butler will begin the season as a “Top 25” team for the second consecutive year and for the second time in school history.

TOP DOGS:  Butler was ranked first in the initial CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll.  The Bulldogs received 16 first place votes and edged Gonzaga for the top spot.  Butler was ranked No. 1 in the final CollegeInsider.com poll last season.

PRESEASON HONORS:  Butler junior Shelvin Mack has already been recognized on several preseason All-America teams.  Mack was chosen first team All-America, along with Kyle Singler of Duke, Harrison Barnes of North Carolina, Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Jacob Pullen of Kansas State, by Fox Sports.com, and he was named honorable mention All-America by the Associated Press.  The 6-3 Butler guard also was ranked fourth among top 2010-11 point guards and combo guards by Gary Parrish of CBS Sports.com, and he was named to the John Wooden Award 2010-11 Preseason Top 50 list.

FINAL TUNE-UP:  Butler closed out its preseason exhibition slate with a victory over Hanover, 80-41, on Thursday, Nov. 4.  The Bulldogs scored the first five points of the game and pulled away to a 24-6 lead in the first seven minutes.  Butler led at halftime, 45-21, and the visiting Panthers never got closer than 22 points in the final 20 minutes.  Butler head coach Brad Stevens used his entire roster in the game, and twelve different Bulldogs played at least 10 minutes.  Junior Shelvin Mack led the Bulldogs with a game-high 13 points, while senior Matt Howard added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.  The win came five days after Butler defeated Florida Southern, 90-70, in its first preseason contest.

Butler was 20-0 in 2009-10 when holding its opponent below 60 points.

BENCH MARK:  The Bulldogs picked up a pair of notable reserve performances from freshmen Khyle Marshall and Erik Fromm against Hanover.  Marshall came off the bench and posted 11 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in 18 minutes against the Panthers, while Fromm had eight points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.  Marshall had gone scoreless in Butler’s first exhibition game, while Fromm had two points in the opener.

SHARP SHOOTING:  Senior Zach Hahn came off the bench and hit all four three-point field goals that he attempted in Butler’s two exhibition games.  Hahn, who led the Bulldogs in three-point field goal shooting a year ago, hit three of three long-range shots against Florida Southern and his lone attempt against Hanover.

EXHIBITION LEADER:  Senior Matt Howard averaged 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in Butler’s two exhibition wins.  His 19 points against Florida Southern were the most by a Butler player in the two exhibition tests, as were his 10 rebounds against Hanover.  The 6-8 forward shot .632 (12-19) from the field and .778 (7-9) from the free throw line in the two games.  Howard, who averaged just 22 minutes per game in the two contests, was the lone Bulldog to score in double-figures in each of the two exhibition games.  

SCORING WATCH:  Senior Matt Howard enters his final season in 17th place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,331 career points.  He’s just three points behind Tom Bowman (1960-63) and Thomas Jackson (1998-2002) in a tie for 15th place on the all-time list.  Howard needs 154 points to reach the “Top 10” in all-time scoring at Butler.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler head coach Brad Stevens used two different starting lineups during the preseason exhibition season. Seniors Matt Howard and Shawn Vanzant and juniors Ronald Nored and Shelvin Mack started both exhibition games for the Bulldogs, while sophomore Andrew Smith started against Florida Southern and junior Garrett Butcher was given the starting nod against Hanover.

•Senior Matt Howard and junior Shelvin Mack have been in the starting lineup in each of Butler’s past two season-openers.  Junior Ronald Nored was a starter in Butler’s season-opening game at Drake two years ago, but came off the bench in last year’s opener against Davidson.

•The Bulldogs boast six players with at least 60 career games played, led by senior Matt Howard with 104 games in three seasons.  Senior Zach Hahn has played in 102 games, senior Shawn Vanzant has 100, juniors Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored each have played in 70 and junior Garrett Butcher has played in 64.  Howard has 96 career starts.

•Butler’s Matt Howard is one of 30 candidates nominated for the 2010-11 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.  The award is presented to one senior who has shown notable achievement in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition.

•Junior Ronald Nored scored 14 points against Florida Southern in Butler’s first exhibition game.  The Butler point-guard only had two games with more than 14 points all of last season.  Nored, who shot .196 from the three-point arc last year, hit both of his three-point field goal attempts against the Moccasins.

•Senior Shawn Vanzant, who started Butler’s first four games last season, had 11 points, four rebounds and three assists as a starter against Florida Southern.  He added five points, four rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes against Hanover.

•The Bulldogs had 11 players average at least 10 minutes in Butler’s two exhibition games.  Junior Shelvin Mack led the Bulldogs in minutes played (24.0) in the two games, while Ronald Nored averaged 23.0 minutes in the two contests.

•Shelvin Mack enters the 2010-11 season with 129 career three-point field goals.  He’s 29 three-pointers behind Darrin Fitzgerald (1986-87) in 10th place on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals.

•The Bulldogs are 28-4 when Shelvin Mack scores at least 14 points and 17-2 when he leads the team in scoring.

•Butler has won its last 23 games when hitting at least nine three-point field goals.  The Bulldogs are 40-1 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.

•Butler is one of just three NCAA Division I schools to win at least 25 games in each of the last four seasons.  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, 6-6 Andy Smeathers of Bargersville (Center Grove H.S.) and 6-9 Kameron Woods of Louisville, Ky. (Eastern H.S.).  Jones averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds for 30-4 O’Fallon last year, while Aldridge was a gold medal-winning point-guard on Australia’s U18 team.  Smeathers, averaged 14 points for 17-4 Center Grove, while Woods averaged 7.0 points and 7.0 rebounds at Eastern, one of the top prep teams in Kentucky.