FINAL PREP: Butler will close out its
preseason schedule and renew an old rivalry when its hosts
Indianapolis in an exhibition game on Saturday, Nov. 3. The
Bulldogs' final preseason test will tip-off at 7 p.m. (ET) at
Hinkle Fieldhouse. Indianapolis, coming off a 20-9 campaign
and ranked No. 20 in in Division II Bulletin's preseason national
poll, will be making its first appearance in Hinkle Fieldhouse
since 1987-88. The Greyhounds return second-leading scorer
Reece Cheatham (13.6 ppg) and four other letterwinners from last
year's squad, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA
Division II Tournament. Indianapolis head coach Stan Gouard
also will be looking to a host of newcomers, including Division I
transfers James Hollowell (Eastern Illinois) and Tyrae Robinson
(Ball State). Butler, coming off a 62-40 victory in its
exhibition opener against Marian, will be meeting the Greyhounds
for the 39th time. The Bulldogs will begin their regular
season at home on Nov. 10 against Elon. That contest, which
will start at 2 p.m. (ET), will be one of seven Opening Games for
the 29th Annual EA Sports Maui Invitational. The Bulldogs
will play in the Championship Round of the Maui Invitational, Nov.
19-21, in Hawaii.
Butler is 69-11 at home under head coach Brad Stevens.
SUCCESSFUL START: Butler pulled away in the second half, after a very competitive opening period in its exhibition game against Marian. The visiting Knights, coached by former Butler head coach Todd Lickliter, never trailed by more than seven points in the first 20 minutes and were within five points, 25-20, at halftime. But the Bulldogs, behind some long range sharp-shooting, turned that around early in the final period. Butler opened the second half with a 16-2 scoring run to take command of the contest. Senior Chase Stigall led the early second half assault with back-to-back three-point field goals, while junior Khyle Marshall and sophomore Andrew Smeathers each added three points to the run. Butler led by as many as 26 points late in the game.
DIFFERENT LOOK: Butler didn't make enough three-point field goals to qualify for the NCAA national rankings a year ago, but the Bulldogs' team three-point field goal percentage (.281) would have ranked near the bottom of the national standings. That should change dramatically, if Butler's first exhibition game is any indication. The Bulldog gave a strong showing of improved marksmanship in the second half against Marian by connecting on eight of 12 shots (.667) from beyond the three-point arc. Freshman Kellen Dunham led the way by hitting four of five attempts from the three-point line, while senior Chase Stigall connected on both of his second half three-point attempts. The Bulldogs wound up shooting .476 (10-21) from the three-point arc for the game. The 10 three-pointers matched Butler's second-highest single game total of a year ago.
LESSONS LEARNED: The Bulldogs' exhibition game against Marian marked the return to Hinkle Fieldhouse of former Butler head coach Todd Lickliter, now head coach of the Knights. Butler coach Brad Stevens served as an assistant coach under Lickliter for six seasons. It was the fourth time that Stevens has lined up against a former boss, and the current Butler coach is 3-1 in those games, including a 2-1 mark against former boss Thad Matta and Ohio State.
NEW LEAGUE: Butler ended a 33-year affiliation with the Horizon League and joined the Atlantic 10 Conference during the summer of 2012. The A-10 is the new home for all Butler sports except football (Pioneer Football League) and women's golf (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference). The Bulldogs will play a 16-game men's basketball schedule in the A-10 in 2012-13. Butler's first game in the new league will be at preseason favorite Saint Joseph's on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The Bulldogs will play their first A-10 home game against Richmond on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
FAMILIAR LOOK: Butler head coach Brad Stevens has 11 of the 14 players from last year's 22-15 squad back this season, and that group includes three returning starters. Leading the returnees is 6-11 senior center Andrew Smith, who topped the Bulldogs in scoring and finished second in rebounding a year ago. Smith, who started 36 of the Bulldogs' 37 games in 2011-12, is the last active Butler player who saw action in the Final Four in both 2010 and 2011. Stevens also can look to returning regulars Khyle Marshall and Roosevelt Jones. Marshall was Butler's second-leading scorer a year ago, while Jones led the squad in rebounding. Four other players, senior Chase Stigall, junior Erik Fromm and sophomores Kameron Woods and Jackson Aldridge each played in 35 or more games last season. Stigall, who started 18 games, led the Bulldogs with 50 three-point field goals, while Woods topped the team in blocked shots (39). Butler earned a bid to the postseason College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and advanced to the semifinals of the tournament. before losing in overtime to eventual tournament champ Pittsburgh.
NEW ADDITIONS: Four players will be suiting up for Butler for the first time in 2012-13, though one has already spent a season with the Bulldogs. Senior Rotnei Clarke, who transferred to Butler from Arkansas and sat out last season, brings both experience and talent to the Bulldogs' lineup. The 6-0 guard is the all-time leading scorer in Oklahoma high school history, and he led the Razorbacks in scoring (15.2) while earning second team All-SEC honors in 2010-11. He's already scored 1,306 collegiate points. Also joining the Bulldogs are a trio of freshmen, 6-6 Kellen Dunham, 6-3 Devontae Morgan and 5-11 Chris Harrison-Docks. Dunham led the state of Indiana in scoring with a 29.5 average last year, while Morgan was Florida's 3A Player of the Year. Harrison-Docks averaged 23 points and seven rebounds, while earning All-State honors in Michigan last year.
TWENTY PLUS: The Bulldogs posted 20 wins for the seventh consecutive season and for the 14th time in the past 16 campaigns a year ago. The seven straight 20-win campaigns matched the school (and conference) record for most consecutive 20-win seasons, originally set by Butler from 1996 to 2003.
Butler has averaged 24 victories over the past 16 seasons.
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 2012 Sears BracketBuster X. Butler added three more home wins and finished the 2011-12 season with a 13-6 record in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Butler is 165-25 at Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1999-2000 season.
•Butler head coach Brad Stevens used 14 different players against Marian, and 10 of those Bulldogs cracked the scoring column. Butler was led by junior forward Khyle Marshall and freshman guard Kellen Dunham, both with 12 points.
•The Bulldogs hit 12 of 22 (.545) shots from the field in the second half, including eight of 12 (.667) from beyond the three-point arc.
•Khyle Marshall hit four of the five shots he attempted in Butler's victory over Marian. In his last eight games in Hinkle Fieldhouse, Marshall has connected on 33 of 49 (.673) field goal attempts.
•Freshman Kellen Dunham, who came off the bench to share Butler's scoring lead against Marian, tallied all 12 of his points in the final 20 minutes.
•Senior Rotnei Clarke led the Bulldogs with 28 minutes against Marian. Only four Bulldogs played more than half the game - Clark, sophomore Roosevelt Jones (25), freshman Kellen Dunham (23) and sophomore Kameron Woods (21).
•Rotnei Clarke, playing his first game in more than a year and a half since transferring from Arkansas, posted nine points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal in his return to action.
•Forward Kameron Woods came off the bench to lead the Bulldogs in both rebounds and assists in the opening exhibition game. Woods pulled down eight rebounds in the win and recorded a game-high four assists. He also had a game-high two blocked shots and shared the team lead with two steals.
•Sophomore Andrew Smeathers, coming off summer hip surgery, came off the bench to score nine points in 11 minutes against Marian. The 6-6 guard hit three of four attempts from the three-point line.
•Senior Andrew Smith, Butler's leading scorer a year ago, played only 14 minutes against Marian and finished with three points, three rebounds and one assist. Smith averaged 10.9 points last year.
•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.
•Butler played 19 regular season games in 2011-12 against teams that advanced to postseason play. Among the Bulldogs' regular season opponents were Final Four team Louisville and NIT champ Stanford. Nine of Butler's wins last season came against teams that advanced to postseason tournament play.
•Center 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 had Butler's top single game scoring output in 2011-12 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.
•Forward Khyle Marshall led the Bulldogs and ranked third in the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.553) a year ago. He'll enter the 2012-13 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 of last season.
•Forward 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.
•Roosevelt Jones led the Bulldogs with six games of 10 or more rebounds. Teammate Khyle Marshall hit double-figures in rebounds four times, while Andrew Smith and Kameron Woods each hit the mark three times.
•Head coach Brad Stevens, entering his sixth season at the Bulldogs' helm, needs just four wins to catch Joe Sexson, 1977-89, in third place on Butler's all-time list for coaching wins.
•Brad Stevens finished 2011-12 in first place on the NCAA Division I list for Best Coaching Starts By Wins, 5 Seasons, with 139 victories. He also holds the NCAA three-year (89) and four-year (117) records.
•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 in 2009-10), No. 2 (30 in 2007-08), No. 4 (28 in 2010-11) and No. 6-T (26 in 2008-09) win totals as Butler's head coach, and he served as an assistant coach on teams that posted the No. 3 (29 in 2006-07), No. 5 (27 in 2002-03) and No. 6-T (26 in 2001-02) totals.
•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.
•Brad Stevens has led the Bulldogs to postseason play in each of his five seasons as head coach. He also participated in postseason action while serving as Butler's Director of Basketball Operations in 2001 and as an assistant coach with the Bulldogs in 2003, 2006 and 2007. Butler is 13-5 in postseason play under Stevens as a head coach and 20-10 with Stevens as a member of the Bulldogs' staff.