HOME DEBUT: Butler, coming off a season-opening 61-45 win at Ball State, will play in front of the home fans for the first time in the regular season when it hosts Indiana State on Wednesday, Nov. 14. The in-state game at Hinkle Fieldhouse is slated for 7 p.m. (ET). The Bulldogs haven't chosen an easy route into the home season. Indiana State is one of just two Butler home foes this season that owns a victory in its last visit to Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Sycamores defeated Butler, 59-58, two years ago on a three-point field goal at the buzzer. And only one team on Butler's 2007-08 schedule (Michigan) owns a longer current winning streak over the Bulldogs than the three straight wins that Indiana State boasts. The Sycamores handed Butler its first setback last season and its only home loss a year earlier! Butler will be facing new Indiana State head coach Kevin McKenna for the first time. The Indiana State game will be Butler's only home appearance in November. The Bulldogs will be on the road for four straight games, before returning to host Ohio State on Dec. 1.
None of Butler's current players has played in a victory over Indiana State.
POLL WATCH: The Bulldogs have returned to the Associated Press (A.P.) "Top 25" for the first time since last year's record-breaking season. Butler climbed to No. 25 in this week's poll (Nov. 12), up three spots from last week's preseason poll. A year ago, the Bulldogs were ranked in the A.P. "Top 25" for a school- and league-record 16 consecutive weeks, including a first-ever "Top 10" ranking on Feb. 5. Butler is among "others receiving votes" (28th) in the ESPN/USA Today national poll for the second consecutive week.
The Bulldogs have broken into the "Top 25" earlier than any other team in Butler basketball history.
SUCCESSFUL START: Brad Stevens followed his two former Butler bosses and picked up a victory in his first game as a collegiate head coach. Stevens, who worked under Thad Matta for one season at Butler and then served as an assistant coach under Todd Lickliter for six seasons, one-upped his former mentors by picking up his initial win on the road! Matta won his first collegiate game in Hinkle Fieldhouse against Eastern Illinois, while Lickliter's first win came over Radford on a neutral court in Alaska at the Top of the World Classic. Lickliter's first homecourt win came against Indiana State.
Brad Stevens served as an assistant coach for teams that recorded the top three single season win totals in Butler basketball history (29-7 in 2006-07; 27-6 in 2002-03; 26-6 in 2001-02).
ROAD WORK: The Bulldogs opened with a double-digit victory on the road for the second consecutive season. Butler never trailed and was tied just once, while pulling away to a 16-point victory at Ball State. Behind a balanced attack, the Bulldogs built a 10-point lead nine minutes into the game and then stretched that margin to 14 points, 31-17, by halftime. The host Cardinals did make a second-half run to cut Butler's margin to eight, 39-31, with 11:44 left in the contest, but the Bulldogs answered with an 11-2 run to pull away. Four Butler players scored in double-figures in the game, led by senior Pete Campbell with 17.
CLUTCH PERFORMER: Senior Pete Campbell, a Muncie native, had never played a game in Ball State's Worthen Arena prior to this year's season-opener. He made the most of his initial appearance before the hometown fans. With a sizeable local backing on hand, including eight former high school mates who took the time to paint their bodies with the letters C-A-M-P-E-L-L-!, the 6-7 Butler forward stepped up and led all scorers with 17 points on six of 12 shooting from the field. He scored 12 points in the second half, including nine in a three-minute stretch after Ball State had trimmed Butler's lead to eight. The Butler sharp-shooter hit five three-point field goals in the win.
Pete Campbell broke the Butler single season record for three-point field goal shooting last year (.519).
FIRST IMPRESSION: Freshman Matt Howard came off the bench in Butler's opener at Ball State and contributed 14 points, five rebounds and a team-high four assists in his collegiate debut. He had a team-high four offensive rebounds in the game, and he chipped in with one of three Butler steals in the contest. The last freshman to score more points than Howard in his Butler debut was Jermaine Guice, who tallied 16 points against Western Illinois in 1990.
BACKCOURT STRENGTH: Butler's backcourt of seniors A. J. Graves and Mike Green was rated as the 14th-best backcourt in the NCAA Division I this season by Luke Winn of SI.com. Graves led the Bulldogs in scoring last year with a 16.9 average, while Green topped the team in rebounds (6.0) and assists (4.0), while finishing second in scoring (13.9). Graves was a first team All-League pick last season, while Green, who was named Horizon League Newcomer of the Year, was a second-team All-League player. Both made their presence felt in Butler's opener - Graves finished with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Green added 11 points, a team-high six rebounds and two assists.
ALL-AMERICA: Senior guard A. J. Graves was named to the 25-player Preseason Mid-Major All-America Team by CollegeInsider.com. Brandon Cotton of Horizon League rival Detroit also was named to the preseason squad. Graves was named to the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major All-America Team at the end of last season.
•Julian Betko and Mike Green were in Butler's starting lineup for the 37th consecutive game at Ball State. A. J. Graves made his 91st career start for the Bulldogs, Drew Streicher made his fourth career start and Pete Campbell made his first Butler start.
•A. J. Graves hit three three-point field goals at Ball State, boosting his career total to 211. He trails Darnell Archey, 1999-2003, in second place on Butler's all-time list for three-pointers by six three-point field goals.
•A. J. Graves stands 14th on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,344 career points. He needs 33 points to catch Rylan Hainje, 1998-2002, in 13th place on the Butler all-time list.
•A. J. Graves has scored in double-figures in nine straight games, dating back to last season. He has scored in double-figures in 76 of 97 games during his Butler career.
•A. J. Graves has averaged 13.0 points in three previous games against Indiana State, with a high game of 14 points in both 2005 and 2006.
•Mike Green scored his 500th Butler point with his first basket at Ball State. Last year, Green became the first player in Butler basketball history to record 400 points, 200 rebounds and 100 assists in the same season.
•Mike Green led the Bulldogs in rebounding for the 17th time in his brief Butler career with a team-high six rebounds at Ball State.
•Mike Green, who set a Butler single season record for free throws made (196) last year, hit seven of 10 free throw attempts at Ball State. Butler made 11 free throws as a team.
•Pete Campbell matched his second-highest single-game total for three-pointers with five at Ball State. He's had at least five three-point field goals in five different games, with a high of eight three-pointers at Cleveland State last year.
•Pete Campbell played just two minutes and scored just three points in Butler's game at Indiana State last year.
•Sophomore Willie Veasley sat out Butler's opener at Ball State, because of injury, and he'll be sidelined indefinitely. Veasley played in 35 games for the Bulldogs last season.
•Butler head coach Brad Stevens has
added walk-on Alex Anglin to this
year's roster. A 6-4 sophomore, Anglin was an all-area performer at
Kokomo High School. He's one of three walk-ons on Butler's roster,
joining junior Ben
Slaton, who earned a spot in 2005-06, and sophomore Nick Rodgers, who
earned a spot last year.