Bulldogs Begin Horizon League Tournament Play

Complete Notes in PDF

TOURNAMENT TIME:  For the sixth straight year, Butler will begin Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship play in the tournament semifinals. The Bulldogs will face the either Cleveland State or Wright State on Saturday, March 5, at 6 p.m. (ET) in the first tournament semifinal game at U. S. Cellular Arena in Milwaukee, Wis.  Butler (21-9), the defending tournament champion, earned the No. 2 seed and a double-bye in this year’s tournament, after sharing the regular season crown with Milwaukee (18-12) and Cleveland State (25-7).  Milwaukee took the No. 1 seed and the right to host the second round and semifinals, while Cleveland State received the No. 3 seed.  Wright State (19-13) and Cleveland State will meet in the second round in Milwaukee on Friday, March 4.  The other second round game will match Valparaiso (22-10) and Detroit (17-15), with the winner facing top-seeded Milwaukee in the semifinals.  The title game of the 2011 Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship will be played on Tuesday, March 8, at 9 p.m. (ET) at the highest remaining seed.

Butler is playing in the league tournament semifinals for the 13th time in 15 years.

STREAKING BULLDOGS:  Butler has won its last seven games and finished the month of February with a 7-1 record.  The seven-game winning streak is Butler’s longest of the season and the seventh-longest under head coach Brad Stevens.

Butler owns the longest active winning streak in the Horizon League.

20 RUN:  Butler recorded its sixth consecutive 20-win season and its 13th 20-win ledger in the past 15 campaigns with a victory at UIC on Feb. 19.  The Horizon League record for most consecutive 20-win seasons is seven, set by the Bulldogs from 1996 to 2003.  Butler, coming off a school and league record 33-win campaign a year ago, has averaged 26.5 wins over the past six seasons and posted a winning percentage of .783.  The Bulldogs are the only team in Horizon League history to record five or more consecutive 20-win seasons and they’ve done it twice (1996-2003 and 2006-2011)!
 
LAST TIME OUT:  Butler used a 13-3 run in the final three minutes of the first half to take 32-26 halftime lead and then held on in the second period to post a 63-56 victory over Loyola in the final regular season game for both teams.  Forward Matt Howard  and guard Shelvin Mack started the decisive run with back-to-back three-point field goals, and the Bulldogs finished the half with seven consecutive points including Mack’s fourth three-pointer of the first 20 minutes.  The visiting Ramblers did close the margin to two points, 34-32, early in the second half, but sophomore Chase Stigall nailed a three-point field goal to ignite a 7-0 Butler run, and Loyola never got closer than four points the rest of the game.  The win gave the Bulldogs a season sweep of the Ramblers.

BANNER WIN:  Butler’s victory over Loyola gave the Bulldogs a share of a league-record fifth consecutive regular season championship.  It was Butler’s tenth overall league regular season title, also a league record.  The Bulldogs have won nine Horizon League regular season championships in the past 12 years.

SENIOR SUCCESS:  Butler’s senior class of Matt Howard, Zach Hahn, Shawn Vanzant, Grant Leiendecker and Alex Anglin closed out their four-year regular season slate the same way that they began it - with a victory.  The five seniors also tied the Horizon League record for most league wins in a four-year period (62), set by last year’s Butler duo of Willie Veasley and Nick Rodgers.  This year’s Butler seniors have helped the Bulldogs to 110 wins, four Horizon League regular season championships, two Horizon League Tournament titles and three consecutive trips to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, including a berth in the national title game a year ago.  The 110 wins are the second-most by any senior class in Butler basketball history!

COACHING SWITCH:  Butler head coach Brad Stevens left the bench at the Loyola game with just under four minutes remaining in the first half, because of problems he was experiencing with his vision.  He went to the locker room and then to the office of a local ophthalmologist to be examined.  In his absence, associate head coach Matthew Graves took over and helped lead the Bulldogs to the come-from-behind victory.  Stevens’ condition was diagnosed as corneal edema, and, after treatment, his vision was back to near-normal the following day.  The Loyola game was the first that the Bulldogs finished without Stevens on the bench in his four seasons as head coach.   

SCORING STREAK:  Junior Shelvin Mack posted his 14th consecutive double-figures scoring performance with a game-high 18 points against Loyola.  He scored 14 points in the first half to help Butler gain the lead for good.  During the Bulldogs’ past 14 games, the 6-3 guard has averaged 16.9 points and led the Bulldogs in scoring seven times.  Mack has averaged 17.3 points during Butler’s current seven-game winning streak.

Shelvin Mack has led Butler in scoring in five of the past seven games.

SPECIAL CARE:  The Bulldogs finished with a season-low five turnovers in the victory over Loyola.  Butler had just one turnover in the final 20 minutes of the contest, and that miscue came with just over two minutes remaining in the game.  The last time Butler had fewer than five turnovers in a game was on February 25, 2006, when the Bulldogs committed just four turnovers in a game at Detroit.  The Bulldogs had 11 total turnovers in their final two games this season.

Butler is second in the Horizon League in fewest turnovers per game (11.1).

DIALING LONG DISTANCE:  Four different Butler players combined to hit nine three-point field goals against Loyola.  It was the ninth time this season that the Bulldogs connected on at least nine three-pointers in a game.  Junior Shelvin Mack led the long-range assault with four three-pointers, while senior Matt Howard and sophomore Chase Stigall each added a pair.  Senior Shawn Vanzant had Butler’s other field goal from beyond the arc.  Butler ranks third in the Horizon League in three-point field goals (7.4/gm).  
 
FULL HOUSE:  Butler’s final regular season game against Loyola was sold out a week in advance.  The crowd of 10,000 boosted Butler’s season home attendance to 100,486, the third-highest regular season home attendance total on record.  The Bulldogs’ average home attendance of 7,178 was the best in the Horizon League this season and the highest total at Butler in at least 41 years.

BIG DRAW:  The Bulldogs proved to be a popular foe at venues around the Horizon League this season.  The Butler game drew the largest single crowd at five of the nine remaining Horizon League schools and the Bulldogs ranked in the top three attendance totals at all nine league opponents.  The Butler game out-drew the average home attendance of all nine league foes.

ALL-LEAGUE:  Senior Matt Howard and junior Shelvin Mack both were honored on the 2010-11 Horizon League Men’s Basketball All-League Team.  Howard was named to the All-League squad for the fourth consecutive year and was tabbed first team All-League for the third successive season.  He’s the 12th player in league history and the second Butler player (behind Chad Tucker, 1985-88) to earn first team All-League honors three times.  Mack was named second team All-League, after being a first team pick in 2009-10.

ALL-DEFENSIVE:  Senior Matt Howard and junior Ronald Nored were named to the five-player Horizon League All-Defensive Team.  It was the second straight year on the team for Nored, who was league Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2009-10, while Howard earned a spot on the defensive squad for the second time in three years.

QUICK START:  Butler head coach Brad Stevens has taken over the top spot on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Starts By Wins, 4 seasons.  The Bulldogs’ coach, who boasts a four-year record of 110-24, climbed past previous four-year leader Everett Case of North Carolina State, who compiled a 107-22 record from 1947-50.  Stevens also holds the NCAA three-year record with 89 victories, and he’s second on the two-year list with 56 wins.

Brad Stevens already stands fifth on Butler’s all-time list for coaching wins.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Matt Howard has been named the 2010-11 Academic All-American of the Year.  Howard was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Team for a school-record third consecutive year.

•Matt Howard is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, presented for notable achievement in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

•Matt Howard has broken the record of former teammate A. J. Graves (2004-08) for most career starts at Butler with 125.  Howard is one games away from the Butler career record for games played (134), held by former teammate Willie Veasley (2006-10).

•Matt Howard stands third on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,818 career points.  He’s also third on Butler’s all-time rebounding list with 829 career rebounds.

•Matt Howard is the first player in Butler basketball history to score 1,500 career points and grab 800 career rebounds.

•Matt Howard ranks third in the Horizon League in both scoring (16.8) and rebounding (7.9).

•Matt Howard is second in the Horizon League in 3-point field goal shooting (.453).  Howard has hit 25 of his last 54 (.463) shots from the 3-point arc.  He’s shooting .460 (29-63) from beyond the arc against league foes.

•Junior Shelvin Mack stands in 15th place on Butler’s all-time scoring list with 1,376 career points.  He’s trails Rylan Hainje (1998-2002) in the No. 14 spot on the Bulldogs’ all-time chart by 12 points.

•Shelvin Mack has moved into a tie with Brandon Miller (2000-03) for fourth place on Butler’s all-time list for three-point field goals with 189.  Butler Coordinator of Basketball Operations Darnell Archey is third on the all-time list with 217.

•Shelvin Mack is fourth in the Horizon League in three-point field goals (2.0).

•Shelvin Mack ranks fifth on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 337 career assists.  He’s also currently fifth in the Horizon League in assists/game (3.7).

•Shelvin Mack has made his last 22 free throw attempts.  He ranks seventh in the Horizon League in FT% (.803).

•Shelvin Mack has been named to the Horizon League All-Tournament Team in each of his first two seasons at Butler.

•Senior Shawn Vanzant has posted five consecutive double-figures scoring performances for the first time in his Butler career.  He had 10 points against Loyola, after scoring 11 points at UIC, 12 points at Green Bay, 12 against Detroit and 15 against Wright State.

•Shawn Vanzant has averaged 11.0 points over Butler’s seven-game winning streak.

•Shawn Vanzant is shooting .566 (30-53) over Butler’s last seven games.

•Senior Zach Hahn ranks 14th on Butler’s all-time list for 3-point field goals with 148, three behind LaVall Jordan (1997-01) in the No. 13 spot and four behind Darin Archbold (1988-92) in the No. 12 position.

•Junior Ronald Nored was one of four Butler players named to the Horizon League All-Tournament Team last year.

•Ronald Nored stands 11th on Butler’s all-time assist chart with 291 career assists.

•Sophomore Andrew Smith continues to lead the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.627).  He’s shooting .655 (72-110) against league foes.

•Andrew Smith grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds in Butler’s victory over Loyola.  He also had career-highs for blocked shots (3) and steals (3) in the win.

•Andrew Smith has averaged 9.9 points and 7.6 rebounds during Butler’s current seven-game winning streak.

•Sophomore Chase Stigall came off the bench with 10 points in 12 minutes against Loyola.  It was the second-highest point total of his Butler career.

•The Bulldogs are 47-3 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.

•Butler has won 28 of its last 29 games when yielding fewer than 60 points.