Butler will be seeking a berth in the Horizon League Tournament
semifinals for the seventh straight year when it faces Milwaukee at
Valparaiso on Friday, March 2. The two league foes will
square off at 8:30 p.m. (ET) in Valparaiso’s
Athletics-Recreation Center in a tournament game that will be
televised in Indiana on HomeTown Sports & News (HTSN).
The Bulldogs (19-13), seeded fifth, advanced to the second round of
the league tournament with a 70-52 victory over Wright State on
Tuesday (Feb. 28) at Hinkle Fieldhouse. It marked the seventh
consecutive year and the ninth time in 10 years that Butler
advanced in the league championship. Milwaukee (20-13), the
No. 4 seed, reached the second round with a 68-55 victory at home
over UIC. The Bulldogs and Panthers, who split their
regular season series, tied with Detroit for third place in the
final league standings. Butler defeated Milwaukee, 59-44, at
U. S. Cellular Arena in the 2011 Horizon League Tournament
championship game. The winner of the Butler-Milwaukee game
will meet top-seeded Valparaiso in the semifinals at 8:30
p.m. (ET) on Saturday, March
Butler is playing at Valparaiso in the Horizon League Tournament for the first time.
LEAGUE TOURNAMENT: All of the top seeds advanced in the first round of the 2012 Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship, setting up second rounds games matching No. 3 Detroit against No. 6 Youngstown State and No. 4 Milwaukee against No. 5 Butler. The Detroit-Youngstown State winner will meet No. 2 Cleveland State and the Butler-Milwaukee winner will play No. 1 Valparaiso 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.
HTSN: Butler’s game against Milwaukee is being broadcast by the Horizon League Network and being carried in Indiana on HomeTown Sports & News. HTSN can be seen over-the-air on channel 6.2 and is available on numerous cable systems in central and southern Indiana, including Comcast and Brighthouse. For Comcast subscribers, HTSN is on channel 247 in some areas and channel 420 or 130 in others. For Brighthouse Network subscribers, HTSN is on channel 164.
FIRST ROUND: Butler opened the second half of its first round Horizon League Tournament game against Wright State with a 13-0 run, and the visiting Raiders never got closer than nine points the rest of the game. Sophomores Khyle Marshall and Chrishawn Hopkins combined for nine of Butler’s 13 points in the decisive second half run. The Bulldogs, who held a slim 30-29 advantage at halftime, hit 12 of 21 (57.1%0 shots from the field and 13 of 16 (81.3%) from the free throw line, while out-scoring Wright State, 40-23, over the final 20 minutes. Butler led by as many as 21 points in the closing minutes, before settling for the 18-point victory. It was Butler’s third win over Wright State this season.
Butler had its second-best shooting night of the season (.537) against WSU.
BIG IMPACT: Junior Andrew Smith, Butler’s lone player averaging in double-figures this season, made sure Butler’s first round tournament game against Wright State wasn’t the Bulldogs’ last outing. The 6-11 center led all players on the floor with a career-high 25 points in 27 minutes. Smith fueled Butler’s big second half with 17 points in just 12 minutes! The third-year Butler player hit six of seven shots in the game and added a career-best 12 of 14 from the free throw line. He also pulled down seven rebounds in the win. Smith’s 25 points were the most by a Butler player since last year’s NCAA Tournament, when current NBA player Shelvin Mack scored 27 against Florida in the Southeast Regional championship game.
Andrew Smith did not miss a shot in the second half against Wright State (3-3 FGs, 10-10 FTs).
HELPING OTHERS: Senior Ronald Nored, who had a career-high 10 assists in Butler’s BracketBuster victory over Indiana State, ran his string of games with six or more assists to five in a row with a game-high six assists against Wright State. He boosted his career total for assists to 474 and moved into second place on Butler’s all-time assist chart, ahead of Tim Bowen (1989-93). Nored also moved into the No. 2 spot on Butler’s single season assist chart with 170 assists this year, two shy of the Bulldogs’ single season assist record set by Mike Green in 2007-08. 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.
FEELING DEFENSIVE: Butler head coach Brad Stevens commented after the Wright State game that freshman forward Kameron Woods was “unbelievable defensively.” The figures back him up. Woods played 23 minutes in the victory and finished with a game-high nine rebounds and career-highs of four blocked shots and two steals. He had five rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the first half.
Kameron Woods ranks seventh in the Horizon League in blocked shots (1.2).
SCORING LIFT: Junior Andrew Smith (11.1 ppg) is the lone Butler player averaging in double-figures for the year. But over the past 10 games, Butler has four players averaging in double-figures - Smith (12.2), Roosevelt Jones (11.2), Khyle Marshall (10.6) and Chrishawn Hopkins (10.6).
DOUBLES RECORD: Freshman Roosevelt Jones, who posted double-figures totals for both points and rebounds in two of the Bulldogs’ final four games, set a Butler record this season for most double-doubles by a freshman. Jones has four double-doubles on the year, breaking the mark he shared with current NBA player Gordon Hayward (2008-09) and teammate Kameron Woods.
BALANCE SHEET: Butler has had three players score in double-figures in each of its last 10 games and four players notch twin-digits in three of those ten contests. Four different players have led the Bulldogs in scoring in the past five 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.
SENIOR MOMENT: Butler seniors Ronald Nored and Garrett Butcher rank third on the Bulldogs’ all-time list for senior class wins with a 106-33 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 Tournament, 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 136-38 record, is one win 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 18th place on Butler’s all-time list for single season victories with 19. A 20th win would move this year’s team into a tie for 16th place on the all-time list.
•Ronald Nored is tied for third with Shawn Vanzant (2007-11) on Butler’s all-time list for games played with 138, one behind Zach Hahn (2007-11) in second 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 (1.8). He had seven steals in two games against Milwaukee this year.
•Ronald Nored ranks second in the Horizon League in assists (5.3) and third in assist/turnover ratio (1.9). Nored had 41 assists and 16 turnovers in Butler’s last five games.
•Junior Andrew Smith has shot .597 from the field, .480 from beyond the three-point arc and averaged 12.9 points in Butler’s 19 wins this season.
•Andrew Smith ranks seventh in the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.529).
•Andrew Smith has scored in double-figures in six straight games and in eight of Butler’s last nine contests.
•Andrew Smith was the only Butler player to score in double-figures in both games against Milwaukee this season. Smith had 11 points in each of the two contests.
•Andrew Smith had career-highs for assists (4) and steals (4) in Butler’s last meeting with Milwaukee.
•Sophomore Khyle Marshall continues to lead the Bulldogs in field goal shooting (.567). He’s third in the Horizon League.
•Khyle Marshall is shooting 62.2% (28-45) from the field over the past seven contests.
•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins has averaged 11.2 points and shot 50% (9-18) from three three-point arc in Butler’s last six wins.
•Chrishawn Hopkins, who had 10 points against Wright State, has scored in double-figures in seven of Butler’s last 10 games.
•Freshman Roosevelt Jones had a career-high five assists in Butler’s victory over Wright State.
•Roosevelt Jones leads the Bulldogs and ranks seventh in the Horizon League in rebounding (6.2).
•Roosevelt Jones ranks second in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (2.6).
•Butler is 8-1 under head coach Brad Stevens in Horizon League Tournament action. The Bulldogs have won their last five Horizon League Tournament games under Stevens.