Butler Hosts Wright State In League Tournament
WEEK: Butler will host a first round Horizon League
Tournament game for the first time since 2004 when it faces Wright
State on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The two league foes will square
off at 7 p.m. (ET) at Hinkle Fieldhouse in a tournament game
that will be televised on WNDY-TV. Butler (18-13, 11-7 HL)
tied for third with Detroit and Milwaukee in the final Horizon
League regular season standings, but received the No. 5 seed.
Detroit went 3-1 against the other two third place teams and
received the No. 3 seed, while Milwaukee earned the No. 4 seed on
the strength of a 2-2 record against Butler and the Titans.
The Bulldogs’ seed is their lowest since 2005. Wright State
(13-18, 7-11 HL) finished eighth in the final league standings and
earned the No. 8 seed, the Raiders’ lowest since 2003.
Butler and Wright State met in the league tournament championship
game as the top two seeds just two years ago. The Bulldogs
swept both regular season meetings with Wright State, winning in
Dayton, Ohio, 63-62, and then capturing a 64-53 decision at Hinkle
Fieldhouse. Butler defeated Youngstown State, 88-57, at
Hinkle Fieldhouse in the first round of the 2004 Horizon League
Butler has won its first league tournament game in each of the past six years.
LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: The 2012 Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship will begin with four games on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at four campus sites. No. 3 Detroit will host No. 10 Loyola, No. 4 Milwaukee will host No. 9 UIC, No. 5 Butler hosts No. 8 Wright State and No. 6 Youngstown State hosts No. 7 Green Bay in the first round. No. 1 Valparaiso and No. 2 Cleveland State have byes to the tournament semifinals. The second round, matching first round winners, and the semifinals will be played at Valparaiso’s Athletics and Recreation Center. The second round on Friday, March 2, will match the Detroit-Loyola winner against the Youngstown State-Green Bay winner in Game 1 and the Butler-Wright State winner against the Milwaukee-UIC winner in Game 2. Cleveland State will face the second round Game 1 winner, and host Valparaiso will meet the second round Game 2 winner on Saturday, March 3. The league championship game will be played on Tuesday, March 6, at the site of the highest remaining seed following the semifinals. The league tournament champion receives an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
HOUSE WORK: The Bulldogs stretched their streak of consecutive years with at least 10 homecourt victories to 17 in a row with their win over Indiana State in Sears Bracket X. Butler, which added a victory over UIC in its final regular season home game, is 11-5 at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season, with wins in seven of its last nine home games. Since Brad Stevens took over as head coach, Butler is 67-10 at Hinkle Fieldhouse, including a 45-6 mark against Horizon League foes.
Butler is 163-24 at Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1999-2000 season.
LAST TIME OUT: Butler opened and closed the 2011-12 Horizon League regular season against Valparaiso, and the Bulldogs came up short against the league regular season champion both times. Valparaiso, which beat the Bulldogs in overtime in the league-opener back in December, handed Butler a 71-59 loss in the final regular season game for both teams. That setback snapped Butler’s season-best, five-game winning streak and left the Bulldogs with a 6-2 mark for February. Butler didn’t score a field goal in the first nine minutes of the season-finale at Valparaiso, and the Crusaders pulled away to a lead that proved decisive. The Bulldogs missed their first 12 shots in the game and trailed 16-2 before cashing their first field goal. Butler did make a run late in the game, cutting Valparaiso’s margin to 60-54 with two minutes remaining, but the Crusaders held on at the free throw line. Valparaiso hit 20 of 25 free throws in the second half and 26 of 33 for the game.
BENCH BOOST: Sophomore Khyle Marshall (right) came off the bench at Valparaiso and led the Bulldogs with 17 points on six of nine shooting from the field and five of eight from the free throw line. It was his highest point total since early December, when he totaled 21 points in a reserve role at Ball State. Marshall, who is Butler’s second-leading scorer on the season, has had double-digit scoring totals in four of five games since returning from a concussion that sidelined him for two contests earlier this month.
BALANCE SHEET: Butler has had three players score in double-figures in each of its last nine games and four players notch twin-digits in each of its last three home games. Four different players have led the Bulldogs in scoring in the past four games, and nine different players have led the Bulldogs in scoring in a game this season.
Butler has had 10 different players record a double-figures scoring performance this season.
PASSING ZONE: Senior Ronald Nored, who had a career-high 10 assists in Butler’s BracketBuster victory over Indiana State, ran his string of games with eight or more assists to four in a row with eight assists at Valparaiso. He boosted his career total for assists to 468 and moved to within three assists of Tim Bowen (1989-93) in second place on Butler’s all-time assist chart. Nored also moved into the No. 3 spot on Butler’s single season assist chart with 164 assists this year, four shy of Bowen (1990-91) in the No. 2 position. Earlier this season, Nored became just the second player in Butler basketball history (Thomas Jackson, 1998-2002, is the other) to record 400 career points, 400 career rebounds and 400 career assists.
Ronald Nored has had career-highs for points (18), rebounds (11) and assists (10) since mid-December.
DOUBLES RECORD: Freshman Roosevelt Jones has posted double-doubles in three of Butler’s last four home games, including 13 points and 10 rebounds against UIC in his last appearance in Hinkle Fieldhouse. The 6-4 Jones has four double-doubles on the season, the most ever by a Butler freshman.
BOARD CERTIFIED: Roosevelt Jones has led Butler in rebounding in three straight games and in a team-high 13 contests this season. The first-year player had five rebounds at Valparaiso and shared the team lead with junior Andrew Smith and sophomore Khyle Marshall. Jones had 11 rebounds in Butler’s last game with Wright State.
Roosevelt Jones has averaged 8.6 rebounds over Butler’s last eight games.
SENIOR MOMENT: Butler seniors Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher rank third on the Bulldogs’ all-time list for senior class wins with a 105-33 record during their four seasons. The two have helped Butler to three Horizon League regular season championships, two league tournament titles and three consecutive trips to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, including back-to-back appearances in the national title game.
SMART CHOICE: Senior Ronald Nored, who’s combined success on the basketball court with excellence in the classroom, was named second team on the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Team. The honor student majoring in Early Childhood/Middle Childhood Education is the sixth Butler player to earn Academic All-America recognition and the fifth since 2007. Butler has had one or more players named to the Academic All-America Team in each of the past six seasons, including three-time Academic All-American and 2011 Academic All-American of the Year Matt Howard.
ALL-LEAGUE: Senior Ronald Nored and freshman Roosevelt Jones were recognized on the 2011-12 Horizon League Men’s Basketball All-League Team. Nored was named second team All-League, while Jones was chosen the league’s All-Newcomer Team. Butler has had a player named first or second team All-League for 14 consecutive years.
FIRST DEFENSE: Butler’s Ronald Nored was named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career. Nored, who was named league Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2009-10, was selected to the league’s All-Defensive Team for the third consecutive year.
QUICK START: Butler head coach Brad Stevens has moved into the No. 2 spot on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Coaching Starts By Wins, 5 Seasons. The Bulldogs’ coach, who boasts a 135-38 record, is two wins shy of the five-year leader, Everett Case of North Carolina State (1947-51). Stevens holds the NCAA three-year (89) and four-year (117) records, and he’s second on the two-year (56) list.
TOP DRAW: The Bulldogs continued to be a popular foe at venues around the Horizon League this season. The Butler game drew the largest single crowd at six of the nine remaining Horizon League schools, and the Bulldogs ranked in the top two single game attendance totals at all nine league opponents. The Butler game out-drew the average home attendance of all nine league foes. Butler led the league in home attendance with an average of 7,202, including two sellout crowds of 10,000.
•The Bulldogs are tied for 23rd place on Butler’s all-time list for single season victories with 18. A 19th win would move this year’s team into a tie for 18th place on the all-time list.
•Ronald Nored is fourth on Butler’s all-time list for games played with 137, one behind Shawn Vanzant (2007-11) in third place.
•Ronald Nored stands second on Butler’s all-time list for steals (199), eight behind career-leader Thomas Jackson (207 from 1998-2002).
•Ronald Nored ranks third in the Horizon League in steals (1.9).
•Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in assists (5.3) and in assist/turnover ratio (1.9). Nored had 35 assists and 14 turnovers in Butler’s last four games.
•Junior Andrew Smith has shot .585 from the field, .458 from beyond the three-point arc and averaged 12.2 points in Butler’s 18 wins this season.
•Andrew Smith has scored in double-figures in five straight games and in seven of Butler’s last eight contests.
•Andrew Smith has averaged 15.0 points in his last four meetings with Wright State. He shot 75% from the field in two meetings with the Raiders this season.
•Andrew Smith has averaged a team-best 11.7 points in Butler’s 16 home games this season.
•Sophomore Khyle Marshall continues to lead the Bulldogs in field goal shooting (.564). He’s fourth in the Horizon League.
•Khyle Marshall is leading the Bulldogs in scoring over the past six contests (12.0).
•Sophomore Eric Fromm came off the bench with 10 points against Wright State earlier this month. He moved into Butler’s starting lineup the next game.
•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins averaged 11.4 points and shot 47% (7-15) from three three-point arc during Butler’s recent five-game winning streak.
•Freshman Roosevelt Jones has scored in double-figures in six of Butler’s last nine games. He’s averaged 11.2 points over that stretch.
•Roosevelt Jones leads the Bulldogs and ranks sixth in the Horizon League in rebounding (6.4).
•Roosevelt Jones ranks second in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (2.7).
•Freshman Kameron Woods stands seventh in the Horizon League in blocked shots (1.1).
•Butler is 7-1 under head coach Brad Stevens in Horizon League Tournament action. The Bulldogs have won their last four Horizon League Tournament games under Stevens. Butler is 5-1 in Horizon League Tournament games at Hinkle Fieldhouse under Stevens.