Strong Finish Caps Butler’s 2011-12 Season

FINISHING TOUCH:  For the seventh straight year and for the 14th time in 16 seasons, Butler ended its men’s basketball season in postseason tournament play.    And for the third straight year and the eighth time in school history, the Bulldogs finished with a winning postseason record.  Butler’s streak of postseason tournament bids appeared to be in jeopardy when the Bulldogs were 13-12 and tied for fifth place in the Horizon League in early February.  But the team rallied to win five of its final six regular season games and then advanced to the semifinals of the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship.  That strong finish helped earn Butler its first bid to the College Basketball Invitational, a 16-team tournament that was begun in 2008.  The Bulldogs began the tournament with a 75-58 victory over Delaware at Hinkle Fieldhouse, before posting a 63-53 victory over Penn at the Palestra.  Butler fell at home in the CBI semifinals to eventual tournament champion Pittsburgh, 68-62 in overtime.  The Bulldogs won nine of their final 12 games and finished the season with a 22-15 overall record.  The 22 wins matched the 12th-highest single season total in Butler men’s basketball history and tied the top victory total in the Horizon League in 2011-12.  Nine of Butler’s 22 wins came against teams that advanced to postseason tournament play                                              

Butler has 12 postseason tournament wins in the past three seasons.                    

EXTENDED PLAY:  The Bulldogs advanced to postseason tournament play for the 21st time in school history and for the 14th time since 1997.  In the past 16 seasons, Butler earned bids to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011), the National Invitational Tournament (1999, 2002 and 2006) and the College Basketball Invitational (2012).  Butler’s record in postseason tournament play since 1997 is 22-14 (16-10 in the NCAA ; 4-3 in the NIT; 2-1 in the CBI).  Overall, the Bulldogs are 29-20 all-time in postseason action.

Butler leads all Horizon League teams in postseason tournament wins (22) since the league was founded in 1979.

TWENTY PLUS:  Butler’s victory over Milwaukee in the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship quarterfinals gave the Bulldogs 20 wins for the seventh consecutive season and for the 14th time in the past 16 campaigns.  The seven straight 20-win campaigns matches the Horizon League record for most consecutive 20-win seasons, originally set by Butler 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 2006-2012).

Butler has averaged 24 victories over the past 16 seasons.
    
BULLDOG SPRING:  The month of March seems to bring out the best in Butler basketball.  Over the past three seasons, the Bulldogs are 15-2 in March, the month of postseason basketball tournaments.  Butler’s 12 postseason tournament wins over the past three campaigns ranks second nationally among all NCAA Division I teams.  Only reigning national champion Kentucky (13) has more postseason tournament wins since 2010.  Butler is one of just four teams with 10 or more postseason tournament wins in the last three years.

HOME WORK:  The Bulldogs stretched their streak of consecutive years with at least 10 homecourt wins to 17 in a row with their victory over Indiana State in Sears BracketBuster X.  Butler added three home wins and finished the season with a 13-6 record in Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Since Brad Stevens took over as head coach, the Bulldogs are 69-11 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Butler is 165-25 at Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1999-2000 season.

TEAM DEFENSE:  Butler turned up its defensive intensity during the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship and the College Basketball Invitational.  In six tournament games (3 HL, 3 CBI), the Bulldogs held their opponents to an average of 57.5 points and kept all six under 70 points.  Butler wound up leading the Horizon League in field goal percentage defense (.411) in 2011-12, while finishing second in the league in three-point field goal percentage defense (.307).  The Bulldogs, who held 10 of their final 14 opponents under 60 points, finished second in the league in scoring defense (60.7).

Butler finished 29th in the NCAA Division I in team scoring defense in 2011-12.

BOARD REVIEW:  Butler only had one player ranked among the “Top 10” rebounders in the Horizon League, but the Bulldogs were No. 1 in the league in rebounding as a team.  Freshman Roosevelt Jones led the Bulldogs and ranked eighth in the Horizon League in rebounding with an average of 6.0 rebounds per game.  The 6-4 forward finished third in the league in offensive rebounds (2.6).  The Bulldogs topped the league in rebounding margin (+4.0) and in offensive rebounds (12.6).  Butler out-rebounded 22 opponents on the season, including 10 of the final 14.

SENIOR MOMENTS:  Butler seniors Ronald Nored (right) and Garrett Butcher closed out their collegiate careers in third place on the Bulldogs’ all-time list for senior class wins with a 109-35 record during their four seasons.  The two helped Butler to three Horizon League regular season championships, two league tournament titles and four consecutive trips to postseason tournament play, including back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship national title game.  They helped Butler to an 12-4 postseason tournament record during their four seasons.

LOWE’S ALL-AMERICAN:  Butler’s Ronald Nored was named a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American, along with Draymond Green of Michigan State, Robbie Hummel of Purdue, Zack Rosen of Penn and Tyler Zeller of North Carolina, at the 2012 NCAA Final Four.  Nored was 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.  The 6-0 Butler guard, who was a four-year starter at Butler, excelled in the classroom, on the court and in the community during his career with the Bulldogs.  He earned Horizon League All-League and Academic All-League honors during his four seasons.  Nored was the second Butler player in two years to be named a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.  Matt Howard was honored at the 2011 Final Four as one of 10 finalists for last season’s award.

STELLAR SERVICE:  Senior Ronald Nored, averaged 6.2 assists over the Bulldogs’ final 14 games and became the first player in Butler basketball history to top 190 assists in a season. He finished his final campaign at Butler with a school-record 193 assists, well ahead of the previous mark of 172, set by Mike Green in 2007-08.  Nored also boosted his career total for assists to 497.  He closed out his career in second place on Butler’s all-time assist chart, trailing only Thomas Jackson who had 540 assists from 1998-2002.  During the 2011-12 season, Nored became just the second player in Butler basketball history (Thomas Jackson is the other) to record 400 career points, 400 career rebounds and 400 career assists.

Ronald Nored led the Horizon League in assist/turnover ratio (1.9).

TOURNAMENT LEADER:  Sophomore  Chrishawn Hopkins (right), who played a key role in Butler’s strong finish, wound up leading the Bulldogs in scoring in both the Horizon League Tournament and the College Basketball Invitational.  Hopkins averaged a team-best 11.7 points in Butler’s three league tournament games and then topped the Bulldogs with a 14.3 average in the team’s three CBI contests.  He was Butler’s leading scorer in three of the team’s final four games in 2011-12.

ALL-LEAGUE:  Senior Ronald Nored and freshman Roosevelt Jones were recognized on the 2011-12 Horizon League Men’s Basketball All-League Team, announced prior to the league tournament.  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.

BEST 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.

SMART CHOICE:  Butler’s Ronald Nored was named second team on the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Team.  The honor student majoring in Early Childhood/Middle Childhood Education became 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.

LEAD POSITION:  Head coach Brad Stevens recorded his fifth straight 20-win season with the Bulldogs, matching former coach (and current Athletic Director) Barry Collier for the most 20-win campaigns by a Butler coach.  Todd Lickliter, Stevens’ former boss, led Butler to four 20-win seasons, Harlan O. “Pat” Page had two, and Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle and Thad Matta each led Butler to one 20-win season.

QUICK START:  Butler head coach Brad Stevens finished 2011-12 in first place on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Coaching Starts By Wins, 5 Seasons.  The Bulldogs’ coach, who boasts a 139 career wins, moved ahead of Everett Case of North Carolina State (1947-51) to take over the No. 1 spot.  Stevens also holds the NCAA three-year (89) and four-year (117) records, and he’s second on the two-year (56) list.

BULLDOG BITS:

•The Bulldogs advanced to postseason tournament play for the school-record seventh consecutive year.  Butler also appeared in postseason tournaments for seven straight years from 1997 to 2003.
 
•Ronald Nored completed his Butler career with a school record for games played (143).  Nored also set a school for postseason games played with 16.

•Ronald Nored scored 28 points in Butler’s three CBI games, boosting his career postseason scoring total to 84 points.  He’s tied with Rylan Hainje (1998-2002) for sixth place on Butler’s all-time postseason scoring list.  

•Ronald Nored finished his career in a tie with Thomas Jackson (1998-2002) for first place on Butler’s all-time list for steals.  Both players recorded 207 career steals.

•Ronald Nored ranked second in the Horizon League in assists (5.2) in 2011-12.

•Ronald Nored had career-best totals for points (290), rebounds (154) and assists (193) in his final season.

•Junior Andrew Smith will enter 2012-13 in sixth place on Butler’s all-time list for field goal shooting.  Smith has shot .546 from the field in his first three seasons with the Bulldogs.

•Andrew Smith ranked seventh in the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.525) in 2011-12.

•Andrew Smith had Butler’s top single game output this season with 25 points against Wright State in the league tournament.

•Andrew Smith shot .593 from the field, .464 from beyond the three-point arc and averaged 12.5 points in Butler’s 22 wins this season.

•Sophomore Khyle Marshall led the Bulldogs and ranked third in the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.553).  He’ll enter next season in a tie for 11th place on Butler’s all-time list for FG% (.536).

•Khyle Marshall averaged 11.5 points in 11 games after returning from a concussion that sidelined him for two games in early February.

•Sophomore Chrishawn Hopkins was the only player to lead the Bulldogs in scoring in three consecutive games in 2011-12.  He topped Butler against Valparaiso in the Horizon League Tournament and then in the first two games of the CBI.

•Chrishawn Hopkins was named to the All-Tournament Team at the 2011 Hoosier Invitational.  Hopkins averaged 13.3 points in the four tournament games.

•Freshman Roosevelt Jones set a Butler freshman record with four double-doubles in 2011-12, one better than teammate Kameron Woods, Matt Howard (2007-08) and current NBA player Gordon Hayward (2008-09).  Jones had three double-doubles in Butler’s final 13 games.