February 29, 2008

Bulldogs Host Detroit In Regular Season Finale

Feb. 29, 2008

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FINAL COUNTDOWN: Butler, having clinched the Horizon League regular season title and the right to host the league tournament (March 7-11), will close out the 2007-08 schedule at home against Detroit on Saturday, March 1. The final regular season contest for both teams is slated for 2 p.m. (ET). The game also will commemorate the 80th anniversary of Hinkle Fieldhouse, which opened on March 7, 1928. Butler (26-3, 15-2 Horizon League) captured its first outright league crown since 2003 with a 66-61 victory over second place Wright State on Thursday (Feb. 28). It was the second consecutive conference championship for the Bulldogs, who shared the title with Wright State last year. Detroit fell to 3-14 in league action and 7-21 overall with a 59-56 loss at Valparaiso on Thursday. The Bulldogs will begin Horizon League Championship play at home in the tournament semifinals at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, March 8.

Butler has won more Horizon League regular season titles (7) than any other active league member.

SENIOR SALUTE: Butler will honor the five senior members of this year's team after the Detroit game. The five, Julian Betko, Pete Campbell, A. J. Graves, Mike Green and Drew Streicher, have contributed to 88 victories, two Horizon League titles, championships in the 2006 NIT Season Tip-Off and the 2007 Great Alaska Shootout, an NIT bid and an NCAA Sweet 16 berth. They've helped Butler lead Butler into the national polls for two straight seasons, including three appearances in the nation's "Top 10"! Streicher, in his fifth season with the Bulldogs, has played in 109 games, while Graves, a four-year player, has appeared in 125. Betko transferred to Butler from Clemson in 2004, and he has played in 98 consecutive games. Green, who transferred from Towson, has started all 65 games over the past two seasons, while Campbell, who transferred from IPFW, has appeared in 61 games.

POLL WATCH: Butler dropped from the "Top 10" in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today poll, following last weekend's loss to Drake. The Bulldogs fell to 14th in the A. P. and 13th in the ESPN/USA Today polls released Monday (Feb. 25). Butler has been ranked in the "Top 25" of the A.P. poll for 15 straight weeks and in both polls for 14 consecutive weeks. The Bulldogs had been ranked in the "Top 10" for two consecutive weeks, prior to the Drake loss.

Butler has been nationally ranked (Top 25) for 31 weeks since Nov. 27, 2006.

ADDITIONAL POLLING: The Bulldogs are ranked second in The CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 (Feb. 25), just behind Drake.

20-SOMETHING: Butler has posted its tenth 20-win season in the past 12 years. The Bulldogs' 26-3 record is the best 29-game mark in school history, and the 26 wins equal Butler's record for regular season victories (set last year). Only two teams in Butler basketball history have won more than 26 games.

LEAGUE RECORD: Butler has established a new Horizon League record for best two-year win total with 55 victories since the start of last season. The previous record of 53 wins was originally set by Butler from 2001-03.

The Bulldogs have set a school record for Horizon League wins with 15.

CAREER START: Head coach Brad Stevens is the first coach in Butler men's basketball history to own an 26-3 career record. Stevens' former boss, Todd Lickliter previously held the record with a 25-4 mark through 29 games. Stevens is just the second men's basketball coach in Butler history to guide the Bulldogs to 26 wins in a season. Lickliter was the first, and he did it three times.

HOME WORK: The Bulldogs are 11-1 at home this season, including an 8-0 mark in Horizon League games. Butler has won 34 of its last 37 games in Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the Bulldogs own a 107-15 (.877) mark at home since the start of the 1999-2000 season. Butler has won 25 of its last 26 league games at the Fieldhouse, including nine straight.

CAREER DAY: Senior Julian Betko warmed up for his final regular season appearance in Hinkle Fieldhouse by sparking the Bulldogs past Wright State with a career-best performance. The 6-6 wing player hit five of six three-point field goal attempts in the first half and scored 17 points in 14 minutes to lead Butler to a 36-32 halftime lead. Wright State never caught the Bulldogs in the final 20 minutes. The 17 points were a career-high for Betko, as were the five three-point field goals. He had scored just 17 points in his previous five games.

COMFORT ZONE: Freshman Matt Howard has scored in double-figures in all 13 games that he's played in Hinkle Fieldhouse, and he's led the Bulldogs in scoring in six of 13 home games. The 6-8 forward is averaging 15.8 points and shooting 63% at home!

Matt Howard has led Butler in scoring a team-high 10 times this season.

SMART CHOICE: Butler seniors A. J. Graves and Drew Streicher both have been named to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America University Division Men's Basketball Team. Graves, who was picked first team Academic All-America a year ago, was selected to the second team Academic All-America squad this year, while Streicher was tabbed on the third team. Butler was the lone school to have more than one student-athlete named to the 15-player honor squad.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler is leading the Horizon League in scoring margin (+9.4), team scoring defense (59.0), turnover margin (+3.59), fewest turnovers (10.4), and assist/turnover ratio (1.25). The Bulldogs are second in 3-point field goals (9.07) and free throw shooting (.740).

•A. J. Graves has moved into fourth place on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,747 career points. He's the 39th player in Horizon League history to reach the 1,500-point plateau and the current active league-leader in career scoring.

•A. J. Graves is second on Butler's all-time list for three-point field goals with 291, 23 behind all-time leader Bruce Horan (2002-06). He's currently fourth in the league in three-pointers (2.86).

•A. J. Graves stands in eighth place on Butler's all-time assist chart with 304 career assists. He's one assist behind assistant coach Brandon Miller, 2000-03, in seventh place.

•A. J. Graves ranks fourth in the Horizon League in steals (1.48). He leads the league in minutes played (35.66).

•A. J. Graves will tie Butler's record for career starts when he takes the floor against Detroit. It will be his 120th start, matching Rylan Hainje (1998-2002).

•Mike Green is one of just 10 NCAA Division I players who lead their teams in scoring, rebounding and assists. He had 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in Butler's win over Wright State.

•Mike Green ranks sixth in the Horizon League in scoring (14.6). He's scored 1,563 points during his collegiate career (641 at Towson and 922 at Butler).

•Mike Green leads the Horizon League in assists (5.00) and ranks third in assist/turnover ratio (1.79). He's fifth in steals (1.38), sixth in defensive rebounds (4.93) and 10th in both rebounding (6.2) and free throw pct. (.755). Green tops the league in free throws made (154).

•Mike Green has moved into eighth place on Butler's all-time list for free throws made (350).

•Mike Green is the only player in the Horizon League to rank in the "Top 10" in scoring, rebounding and assists.

•Mike Green has started 65 consecutive games for the Bulldogs.

•Pete Campbell has moved into a tie with Darrin Fitzgerald (1986-87) for ninth place on Butler's all-time list for 3-point field goals (158).

•Pete Campbell ranks third in the Horizon League lead in three-point field goals (2.96) and tenth in three-point field goal percentage (.423). He's hit at least one three-pointer in 29 consecutive games, dating back to last season.

•Matt Howard leads the Horizon League in field goal percentage (.608). He's second in offensive rebounds (2.52), fourth in blocked shots (1.21), ninth in free throw shooting (.784), and 13th in both scoring (12.9) and rebounding (5.8).

•Matt Howard currently owns the fourth-highest single season scoring total (374 pts) ever by a Butler freshman. He's one point shy of the third-highest total and three away from the No. 2 spot.

•Matt Howard leads all freshmen in the Horizon League in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, field goal shooting and free throw shooting. He's the only player, regardless of class, to rank in the "Top 15" in all five categories.

•The Bulldogs, who hit nine 3-point field goals against Wright State, are 20-0 when hitting eight or more 3-pointers in a game.