Bulldogs Face Xavier At 6:30 PM Saturday
FINISH LINE: Butler will wrap-up the regular season against a familiar foe when it hosts Xavier on Saturday, March 9. The key Atlantic 10 Conference game at Hinkle Fieldhouse will start at 6:30 p.m. (ET) and will be televised by CBS Sports Network. Both teams are bidding for a top four conference finish and a bye to the quarterfinals of the A-10 Tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 14-17. Butler (23-7, 10-5 A-10), coming off a 73-62 victory at Massachusetts, is currently tied with Temple for fourth place in the league standings, one game behind La Salle. Xavier (17-12, 9-6 A-10) stands a game back in sixth place. Butler and Xavier will be meeting for the second meeting this season, but for the first time as conference foes. The two teams met in the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon at the Cintas Center on Nov. 13, in a rare non-conference test between conference teams, and Xavier won that game, 62-47. The two teams are meeting for the 48th time overall.
HOME SECURITY: The Bulldogs, who are 13-2 in Hinkle Fieldhouse this year, have won at least 10 home games in 18 consecutive seasons. Butler is 225-34 at home over that 18-season stretch, including three unbeaten home records.
Butler is 82-13 in Hinkle Fieldhouse under head coach Brad Stevens.
POLLING DATA: Butler slipped from the "Top 25" of both the Associated Press and USA Today national basketball polls for the first time in 12 weeks, following it's loss at VCU. The Bulldogs continue to receive votes in both of the national polls. Butler's victory over No. 1 Indiana on Dec. 15 vaulted the Bulldogs into the "Top 25" of both national polls for the first time since November of 2010. The Bulldogs joined the A.P. "Top 25" at No. 19 and the Coaches Poll at No. 25.
SENIOR NIGHT: Butler will honor its four senior players, Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall, Rotnei Clarke and Emerson Kampen, following the Xavier game. Stigall and Kampen, both fifth-year seniors, and Smith have played four seasons at Butler, helping the Bulldogs to 105 wins and three post-season tournament appearances, including back-to-back trips to the NCAA Division I national title game. Clarke, a transfer from Arkansas, has led Butler in scoring this year, his lone season with the Bulldogs.
Butler's seniors are 53-10 in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
LAST OUTING: The Bulldogs used a staunch defense and a balanced offense to pick up a clutch road victory at Massachusetts, 73-62, on Thursday (March 7). Butler limited high-scoring Massachusetts to its second-lowest point total of the season, and the Minutemen needed a three-point field goal at the buzzer to reach that total. The Bulldogs grabbed a 30-22 lead at halftime and then stretched that margin to as many as 16 points in the second half. Senior Rotnei Clarke and sophomore Kameron Woods led four Butler players in double-figures with 17 points apiece. Butler scored the first four points and never trailed in the game.
FAMILIAR LEADER: Senior Rotnei Clarke, who had just five points in Butler's loss at VCU, bounced back with his team-high 17 points at Massachusetts. It was his tenth time in double-figures in the 11 games since his return from a neck injury that sidelined him for three-and-a-half games in January. Clarke has scored in double-figures in 22 of his 27 games this season, and he's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in 19 of those contests. The Arkansas transfer has scored 20 or more points nine times this year, including a season-high 28 points at Saint Joseph's, and 21 times during his collegiate career.
Butler is 8-1 when Rotnei Clarke scores 20 or more points.
BENCH LIFT: Sophomore Kameron Woods sparked the Bulldogs off the bench with a career-high 17 points at Massachusetts. The 6-9 forward hit seven of 11 shots against the Minutemen and shared game-scoring honors in just 21 minutes of action. Woods had tallied just 15 points in Butler's previous five contests. Smith hit nine free throws in the win.
SENIOR MOMENT: Senior Andrew Smith made sure his final regular season road game was memorable. The 6-11 center recorded his third double-double of the season and the seventh of his career with 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds at Massachusetts. He was just five rebounds shy of the entire UMass team, and he helped the Bulldogs to a commanding, 37-20, advantage on the boards.
CHART CLIMBING: Senior Andrew Smith became the 11th Butler player to record 1,000 career points and 600 career rebounds with his performance at Massachusetts. He enters his final regular season game with 1,072 career points and 603 career rebounds. The last Butler player to reach the 1,000 points/600 rebounds milestone was Matt Howard (2007-11), who finished his career with 1,939 points and 884 rebounds. Smith and Howard were teammates for two seasons, helping Butler to back-to-back Final Four appearances.
QUICK START: Butler head coach Brad Stevens has moved into second place on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Coaching Starts By Wins, 6 Seasons. The Bulldogs' coach, who boasts a 162-47 record, trails current leader Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh, 2004-09) by one win. Stevens holds the NCAA three-year (89), four-year (117) and five-year (139) records, and he's second on the two-year (56) list.
TOP THREE: Butler head coach Brad Stevens ranks third among active Division I coaches in career winning percentage with a .775 mark. Only Roy Williams of North Carolina and Mark Few of Gonzaga have a higher career winning percentage.
TWENTY WINS: The 2012-13 Bulldogs became the 19th Butler team to record 20 victories in a season with their win at George Washington on Feb. 9. Butler has won at least 20 games in eight consecutive seasons and in 15 of the past 17 campaigns. This year's team is tied for tenth on Butler's single season wins chart with 23 victories.
NAISMITH FINALIST: Senior Rotnei Clarke has been named one of the Top 30 Candidates for the 2013 Naismith Men's College Player of the Year Award. The 6-0 guard, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring, was among the finalists selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors. The winner of this year's Naismith award will be announced on April 7 in Atlanta.
•Seniors Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall and Emerson Kampen stand fourth on Butler's list for Most Senior Class Wins with a four-year record of 106-37.
•Andrew Smith became the 34th Butler player to score 1,000 career points in the Bulldogs' victory over Rhode Island. He currently stands 31st on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,072 career points.
•Andrew Smith ranks 13th in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.512). His career shooting percentage of .536 ranks him 11th all-time at Butler.
•Andrew Smith has tied Joel Cornette (1999-2003) for fifth place on Butler's all-time list for games played with 128.
•Senior Rotnei Clarke ranks fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (16.5).
•Rotnei Clarke stands second in the A-10 and sixth in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made per game (3.5). Clarke has had at least four three-pointers in a game 14 times this season.
•Rotnei Clarke has hit a 3-point field goal in each game that he's played this season.
•Rotnei Clarke ranks ninth in the A-10 and 29th in Division I in three-point field goal percentage (.419).
•Rotnei Clarke currently ranks third in the A-10 in free throw shooting (.884). Clarke has made his last 17 free throw attempts.
•Rotnei Clarke moved into a tie with A. J. Graves (2007-08) for seventh place on Butler's single season list for three-point field goals with 95. Bruce Horan (2003-04) stands sixth with 96.
•Junior Khyle Marshall hit six of seven shots and scored 14 points in 20 minutes of action at Massachusetts. It was his third double-figures scoring performance in the past four games.
•Khyle Marshall ranks third in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.559).
•Butler is 15-1 this season when Khyle Marshall scores in double-figures.
•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones led the Bulldogs with a career-high eight assists at Massachusetts. It was the 19th time this season that he's had at least a share of the team lead in assists.
•Sophomore Alex Barlow came off the bench with a career-high four steals at Massachusetts. Barlow leads the Bulldogs in steals on the year.
•Freshman Kellen Dunham ranks fourth in the A-10 free throw shooting (.872).
•Butler is ranked first in the Atlantic 10 Conference and ninth in the NCAA Division I in team rebounding margin (+7.9). The Bulldogs have out-rebounded 13 of their last 14 opponents and 26 foes on the season.
•Butler is 60-7 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.
•The Bulldogs, at full strength, have only lost to two teams (Saint Louis and VCU) since the Maui Invitational. Leading scorer Rotnei Clarke missed Butler's game at La Salle, while second-leading scorer Andrew Smith missed the Charlotte contest.
•With the game against Xavier already sold out, Butler has set a new school single season record for most home sellouts (5).
•Butler has beaten the top two teams in this week's national polls (#1 Gonzaga and #2 Indiana). The Bulldogs also have victories over current #15/17 Marquette and former #9 (now #26/29) North Carolina this season.