Butler Hosts Elon In Season-Opener
SEASON TIP-OFF: Butler will begin the 2012-13 season and the Maui Invitational when it hosts Elon on Saturday, Nov. 10. The season-opener at Hinkle Fieldhouse will start at 2 p.m. (ET) and will be televised in central Indiana on WNDY-TV. Butler and Elon will be meeting in one of seven "Opening Games" of the EA Sports Maui Invitational. The Opening Games match four "mainland" teams against the seven "island" squads designated to advance to the Maui Invitational Championship Round at the Lahaina Civic Center, Nov. 19-21. Butler, one of the island teams, is coming off exhibition game wins over Marian, 62-40, and Indianapolis, 63-47, while Elon, a mainland team, cruised to a 103-49 victory over Ferrum in its lone exhibition contest. The Bulldogs will be meeting Elon for just the second time as a basketball opponent. Butler captured the first meeting at Hinkle Fieldhouse, 86-40, in December of 2005. Following the season-opener, the Bulldogs will play their first 2012-13 road game at Xavier on Nov. 13.
Butler is 69-11 at home under head coach Brad Stevens.
MAUI INVITATIONAL: While Saturday's season-opener against Elon may not capture the feel of a game in the islands, it will be part of the 29th Annual EA Sports Maui Invitational. The tournament, featuring 12 teams, includes Opening Games, Regional Games and the Championship Round. The Opening Games will send four "mainland" teams (Elon, Colgate, Coppin State and Florida Atlantic) to seven "island" teams (Butler, Marquette, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Texas, USC and Illinois), Nov. 9-13. The four mainland teams then will meet in Regional Games at Elon, Nov. 17-18. The seven island teams will join Chaminade in Maui for the Championship Round, Nov. 19-21. Butler will face Marquette in the first game of the Championship Round on Nov. 19 at 3:30 p.m. ET (10:30 a.m. in Hawaii).
LEAD POSITION: Butler head coach Brad Stevens is beginning his sixth season, and he's won more games in his first five seasons than any other coach in NCAA history! His 139-40 career record is No. 1 on the NCAA Division I list for Best Coaching Starts By Wins, 5 Seasons, topping the previous mark of 137-29, set by Everett Case of North Carolina State, 1947-51. Stevens also holds the Division I three-year (89) and four-year (117) records for wins.
EXHIBITION RECAP: Butler used a staunch defense and a balanced offense to successfully navigate a pair of exhibition games against local foes in preparation for the 2012-13 campaign. The Bulldogs topped NAIA opponent Marian, 62-40, in the opening exhibition contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse and then closed the exhibition slate with a 63-47 decision over NCAA Division II foe Indianapolis. Butler pulled away in the second half of both contests. Marian, coached by former Butler head coach Todd Lickliter, trailed by just five points, 25-20, at halftime, before the Bulldogs opened the second half with a 16-2 run. The visiting Knights never got closer than 17 points in the final 13 minutes of the contest. The Bulldogs then out-scored Indianapolis, 33-12, over the final 16 minutes of the contest to erase a five-point deficit and claim a 16-point win. Butler limited Marian to 34% shooting for the game, before holding Indianapolis to 32.7%. Two Butler players notched double-digits in the Marian win, while three Bulldogs scored at least 10 points against Indianapolis.
DEFENSIVE POSTURE: Butler kept both of its exhibition opponents below 50 points for the game. A year ago, Butler held seven opponents under 50 points, winning all seven games. The Bulldogs ranked third in the Horizon League in scoring defense with a yield of 64.1 points per game.
FAMILIAR GROUP: Three players who were in Butler's starting lineup in last year's season-opener were given the starting nod in each of the Bulldogs' two exhibition games. Seniors Andrew Smith and Chase Stigall and junior Khyle Smith each started Butler's opener at Evansville last season and all three started Butler's two exhibition games. Smith, Butler's top returning scorer, started 36 of 37 games a year ago, while Marshall was in the starting unit in 20 of 35 contests. Stigall started 18 of 37 games in 2011-12.
LEADER BOARD: Junior Khyle Marshall and freshman Kellen Dunham shared Butler's scoring lead in the victory over Marian with 12 points apiece, and the two were the lone Bulldogs to score in double-figures in both exhibition contests. Marshall posted 14 points against Indianapolis, while Dunham came off the bench with 10 points. Senior Rotnei Clark scored 15 points in the second half and finished with a team-high 18 points against the Greyhounds.
BOARD ROOM: Sophomore Kameron Woods came off the bench to lead the Bulldogs in rebounding in each of Butler's two exhibition contests. The 6-9 forward had eight rebounds and two blocked shots in the Bulldogs' victory over Marian, and then he posted nine rebounds and three blocked shots against Indianapolis. Junior forward Khyle Marshall also had nine rebounds against the Greyhounds.
HOME WORK: The Bulldogs have won at least 10 games in Hinkle Fieldhouse in each of the past 17 years. Butler was 13-6 at home last season.
Butler is 165-25 at Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1999-2000 season.
SEASON STARTER: Butler had wins in five consecutive season-openers, prior to last year's 80-77 overtime loss at Evansville. The Bulldogs are 4-1 in season-openers under head coach Brad Stevens, including a 2-0 mark at home.
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.
•Senior Andrew Smith is the only current college basketball player who has played in two Division I national championship games.
•Andrew Smith is one of 30 candidates nominated for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award. The award is presented to one NCAA Division I senior who has shown notable achievement in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition. Former Butler players Matt Howard (2010-11) and Ronald Nored (2011-12), each were selected as one of ten finalists for the award.
•Andrew Smith enters the 2012-13 campaign 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 in 2011-12.
•Andrew Smith will play in his 100th career game the next time he steps on the floor. Smith has started 68 of Butler's last 70 games, including both Final Four games in 2011.
•Senior Rotnei Clarke, who averaged a team-best 13.5 points in the Bulldogs' two exhibition games, will be playing his first official game since March 10, 2011. Clarke sat out last season after transferring from Arkansas.
•Rotnei Clarke, who boasts a career .863 free throw percentage, was perfect on 10 free throw attempts in Butler's two exhibition games.
•Rotnei Clarke needs 26 three-point field goals to reach 300 for his collegiate career.
•Rotnei Clarke was named second team on the Atlantic 10 Conference Preseason All-Conference Team.
•Senior Chase Stigall is seven three-point field goals shy of 100 for his career.
•Forward Khyle Marshall, who led the Bulldogs in field goal shooting (.553) a year ago, hit eight of 13 (.615) shots in Butler's two exhibition contests. He enters the 2012-13 season in a tie for 11th place on Butler's career list for field goal shooting (.536).
•Khyle Marshall picked up where he left off last season. Marshall, who scored in double-figures in both exhibition games, averaged 11.5 points in Butler's final 11 games last season.
•Khyle Marshall needs three rebounds to reach 300 for his career.
•Sophomore Kameron Woods didn't start either exhibition game for the Bulldogs but still led Butler in rebounds (17), steals (3) and blocked shots (5) and finished second on the squad in assists (4).
•Kameron Woods led the Bulldogs with seven offensive rebounds in the two exhibition games.
•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones was picked to the Atlantic 10 Conference Preseason All-Defensive Team.
•Freshman Kellen Dunham hit six of 12 shots from beyond the three-point arc in Butler's two exhibition games. Butler did not have a player above 36% from three-point range last year.
•Kellen Dunham was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference Preseason All-Rookie Team.
•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.
•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.