Bulldogs Meet Familiar Foe In NCAA Tournament

D.C. DANCE:  For the second time in five years, Butler will begin the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship against Old Dominion.  The Bulldogs will square off against the Colonial Athletic Association champions at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 17.  The second round game will tip at 12:40 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on truTV.  Butler is making its school-record fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, while Old Dominion has advanced to the national tournament for the fourth time in seven years.  The two teams met in the first round of the 2007 national championship in Buffalo, N.Y., and Butler emerged with a 57-46 victory.  Old Dominion (27-6) enters this year’s tournament with a nine-game winning streak, including a championship in the CAA Tournament and a victory over Cleveland State on BracketBuster Saturday.  The Horizon League champion  Bulldogs (23-9), also boasting a nine-game winning streak, are making their tenth NCAA Tournament appearance in 15 years and their 11th national championship visit overall.  Butler reached the “Sweet 16” in 2003 and 2007, before advancing to the Final Four and eventually the national title game last year.  

Butler has won its first game in four of the past five NCAA Tournaments.

TOURNAMENT TESTED:  Butler’s roster includes five players who have seen action in at least seven previous NCAA Tournament games.  Seniors Matt Howard, Shawn Vanzant and Zach Hahn each have played in nine NCAA games, while juniors Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored each have played in seven.  Howard has been in the starting lineup in each of Butler’s past nine NCAA contests, while Mack and Nored each boast seven NCAA starts.  The Bulldogs are 6-3 in the past nine NCAA Tournament games.

SPREADING SEEDS:  Butler’s No. 8 seed in this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship is the fourth-highest in school history.  The Bulldogs were a No. 5 seed in 2007 and last year and a No. 7 seed in 2008.  Butler has had a single-digit seed in each of the last five NCAA Tournaments.

CENTURY MARK:  Junior Shelvin Mack became the first player in Butler basketball history to score 100 points in NCAA Tournament action with his first field goal in last year’s national title game.  Former teammate Gordon Hayward became the second later in the game.  Mack is Butler’s all-time tournament scoring leader with 110 career points, while Hayward stands second with 107.

LEAGUE LEADER:  Butler leads all Horizon League members in NCAA Tournament wins with 11 since the league was formed in 1979-80.  All other current members have combined for 10 wins during their time as league schools.  Butler head coach Brad Stevens tops all coaches in the Horizon League with six all-time NCAA Tournament wins.

FORMIDABLE FOE:  Old Dominion enters this year’s NCAA Tournament with more wins (27) than any opening-round opponent Butler has faced.  The previous high for a Butler opening-round foe was 26 wins by South Alabama (2008) LSU (2009), and UTEP (2010).  The Monarchs, who lead the nation in rebounding margin (12.2), are 7-4 against this year’s NCAA Tournament field.

LOOKING LONG:  Butler has averaged 7.4 three-point field goals per game during its current nine-game winning streak.  The Bulldogs have hit at least seven three-pointers in seven of the past nine games, including 10 in a victory over Detroit on Feb. 12.  Butler averaged 7.3 three-point field goals during its six-game run in the national tournament a year ago.

Butler is tied for second in the Horizon League in 3-point field goals/game (7.5).

BONUS PLAY:  The Bulldogs have advanced to post-season tournament play for the 13th time in 15 years.  Butler earned bids to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and this season, and to the National Invitational Tournament in 1999, 2002 and 2006. Butler’s post-season record since 1997 is 15-12 (11-9 NCAA, 4-3 NIT).

STREAKING BULLDOGS:  Butler has won its last nine games, including two in the Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship.  The nine-game winning streak is Butler’s longest of the season and it ties the third-longest streak under head coach Brad Stevens.

The Bulldogs have tied the 11th-longest winning streak in Butler history.

MARCH GLADNESS:  The Bulldogs are 13-3 in the month of March in four seasons under head coach Brad Stevens.  Butler has won eight straight March contests, since dropping a game to LSU in the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Matt Howard owns the Butler record for most NCAA Tournament starts (9).  Howard, Zach Hahn and Shawn Vanzant each stand second on Butler’s all-time list for NCAA Tournament games played (9), trailing only former teammate Willie Veasley (11).

•Matt Howard needs just four points to catch A. J. Graves (2007-08) in third place on Butler’s all-time NCAA Tournament scoring list.  Howard has scored 83 points in nine tournament games.

•Matt Howard, who’s second in the Horizon League in 3-point field goal shooting (.444), has not attempted a three-point field goal in nine previous NCAA Tournament games.  

•Matt Howard has scored in double-figures in four previous NCAA Tournament games with a high game of 22 points against LSU in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Championship.

•Matt Howard is seven rebounds shy of Butler’s all-time NCAA Tournament record of 48, set by former teammate Gordon Hayward (2009-10).

•Matt Howard is second on Butler’s all-time list for free throws in NCAA Tournament play (35), two behind all-time leader Gordon Hayward.

•Shelvin Mack has scored in double-figures in each of his seven previous NCAA Tournament games, with a high game of 25 points against UTEP last year.

•Shelvin Mack shot .472 from the three-point arc in last year’s NCAA Tournament, while hitting a team-high 17 three-point field goals.

•Shelvin Mack was named to the All-Tournament Team at both the West Regional and at the Final Four in last year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

•Shelvin Mack is one of just three Butler players to score at least 25 points in an NCAA Tournament game.  Pete Campbell (2008) and Darnell Archey (2003) are the other two.

•Shawn Vanzant made six of the nine shots he attempted in last year’s NCAA Tournament, including four of six from beyond the three-point arc.

•Shawn Vanzant is shooting .536 (37-69) over Butler’s last nine games, including 10 of 18 (.556) shots from three-point range.

•Zach Hahn ranks 14th on Butler’s all-time list for 3-point field goals with 141, two behind LaVall Jordan (1997-01) in the No. 13 spot and three behind Darin Archbold (1988-92) in the No. 12 position.

•Zach Hahn came off the bench with nine points in Butler’s first-round NCAA Tournament game against UTEP last year.  It was a tournament career-high for him.

•Junior Ronald Nored holds Butler’s all-time NCAA Tournament records for assists (23) and steals (16).

•Ronald Nored is one of three current Bulldogs who has led Butler in scoring in an NCAA Tournament game.  Nored had a team-high 15 points in Butler’s second round victory over Murray State last year.  

•Andrew Smith leads the Horizon League in field goal shooting (.632).  Smith hit six of eight shots in Butler’s two Horizon League Tournament games.

•Andrew Smith has led the Bulldogs in steals (13) and blocked shots (10) during the Bulldogs’ nine-game winning streak.

•Andrew Smith has grabbed at least eight rebounds in each of Butler’s last six games, including a career-high 11 rebounds in the Bulldogs’ final regular season contest against Loyola.

•Butler is 4-0 in NCAA Tournament play as the higher seeded team.

•The Bulldogs are 48-3 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.

•Butler has won 29 of its last 30 games when yielding fewer than 60 points.

•The Bulldogs have been yielding just 58.0 points during the team’s current nine-game winning streak.  Butler has held four of its last six foes below 60 points.

•The Bulldogs are 4-1 on neutral courts this season, with the lone setback coming to #1-ranked Duke.  Butler is 15-7 on neutral courts under head coach Brad Stevens.

Butler vs. Old Dominion

•Butler and Old Dominion are meeting for the third time overall and for the second time in NCAA Tournament play.  The Bulldogs have won both previous meetings with the Monarchs.  

•The Bulldogs squared off against Old Dominion in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y.  Butler trailed at halftime, 20-19, before rallying in the second half to claim a 57-46 decision.  The Bulldogs went on to defeat Maryland in the second round of the 2007 tournament and advance to the “Sweet 16.”

•Butler head coach Brad Stevens was an assistant coach for the Bulldogs in 2006-07.  Also on the bench for Butler’s 2007 meeting with Old Dominion was current Associate Head Coach Matthew Graves, while current assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry was serving as Butler’s coordinator of basketball operations.

•The Bulldogs’ first meeting with Old Dominion came in the second round of the 1999 NIT at Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Butler defeated the Monarchs in that meeting, 75-62.  The Bulldogs were coached by current Butler athletic director Barry Collier, and one of the assistant coaches on Collier’s staff was current Ohio State head coach Thad Matta.