March 23, 2011

Bulldogs Meet Wisconsin In Sweet 16

PRESS CONFERENCE COVERAGE
Transcript

AUDIO
Brad Stevens  
|  Shelvin Mack  |  Shawn Vanzant  |  Matt Howard

SWEET CONTEST:  Butler will make its fourth "Sweet 16" appearance in nine years when it meets No. 4 seed Wisconsin in the Southeast Regional of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship on Thursday, March 24.  The game between the two Midwest  teams is scheduled for a 9:57 p.m. (ET) tip and will be televised nationally on TBS.  Butler (25-9), the No. 8 seed in the Southeast Regional, advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year with dramatic victories over No. 9 Old Dominion, 60-58, and No. 1 Pittsburgh, 71-70.  The Old Dominion win was decided on a shot at the buzzer, while the Pittsburgh victory came on a free throw with 0:00.8 left on the clock!  Wisconsin (25-8) earned its trip to New Orleans with victories over No. 13 Belmont, 72-58, and No. 5 Kansas State, 70-65.  Butler and Wisconsin will be meeting in the NCAA Tournament for the first time.         

Butler improved to 15-10 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS:  Butler's last four NCAA Tournament games have been decided by two points or less, and the Bulldogs have played five games decided by two points or less in the last seven NCAA contests!  The Bulldogs defeated Michigan State, 52-50, in last year's NCAA Tournament semifinals and then fell to Duke, 61-59, in the national championship game.  Butler also picked up a 54-52 victory over Murray State in the second round of last year's tournament.

STREAKING BULLDOGS:  Butler has won its last 11 games, including two in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.  The 11-game winning streak is Butler's longest of the season and the second-longest streak under head coach Brad Stevens.

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

LEAGUE LEADER:  Butler leads all Horizon League members in NCAA Tournament wins with 13 since the league was formed in 1979-80.  All other current members have combined for 10 wins during their time as league schools.  Butler's Brad Stevens tops all coaches in the Horizon League with eight all-time NCAA Tournament wins.

LAST TIME OUT:  Senior forward Matt Howard hit a free throw with 0:00.8 remaining to give Butler a 71-70 victory over top-seeded Pittsburgh and cap one of the most unusual finishes in NCAA Tournament history.  Butler looked to have pulled off the upset when sophomore forward Andrew Smith took a pass from teammate Shawn Vanzant and converted a go-ahead basket with just two seconds remaining.  But Pitt's Gilbert Brown was fouled on the in-bounds pass, and he went to the free throw line with a chance to give the Panthers the lead.  Brown made the first free throw to tie the game at 70-70, but he missed the second.  Howard grabbed the rebound, and he was fouled by Pitt's Nasir Robinson with less than a second left on the clock.  The Butler forward calmly made the first free throw to give the Bulldogs a one-point advantage, and then he intentionally missed the second to run out the clock.

Butler has beaten a No. 1 seed in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments.  

THIRTY-THIRTY:  Junior Shelvin Mack tallied 30 points for the second time in eight games and led all scorers in Butler's victory over top-seeded Pittsburgh.  The 6-3 guard hit a career-high 10 field goals against the Panthers and matched his career-high with seven three-point field goals.  He's just the fourth Butler player in the past 12 seasons to score 30 points in a game, and he's the first since 1990-91 to do it twice!  Mack, who scored a career-high 32 points in the Bulldogs' victory over Detroit on Feb. 12, set a Butler NCAA Tournament record with his 30-point performance against Pittsburgh.

Shelvin Mack is Butler's all-time NCAA Tournament scoring leader.

CLUTCH PERFORMER:  Senior Matt Howard is closing out a spectacular career in memorable fashion.  The 6-8 Butler forward has provided the game-winning points in the closing seconds in three of Butler's last seven contests!  Howard, Butler's leading scorer on the season, had a dunk with 0:01.8 left to lift the Bulldogs to a 64-62 victory at Green Bay, and he scored a lay-up at the buzzer to give Butler a 60-58 win over Old Dominion in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  Howard's game-winning charity toss against Pittsburgh was his Butler-record 42nd free throw made in NCAA Tournament play.  
 
HANDLE WITH CARE:  The Bulldogs committed just six turnovers in their victory over Pittsburgh.  It was the 12th time this season that Butler had fewer than 10 turnovers in a game and the fourth time in the past six outings.  The Bulldogs had a season-low five turnovers in a victory at home over Loyola on Feb. 26.

Butler has averaged 10.1 turnovers during its current winning streak.   
 
FORMER TEAMMATES:  For the second straight game, Shelvin Mack will square off against a former summer teammate.  Mack and Wisconsin's Jon Leuer were chosen to the 20-player USA Men's Select Team to train against the 2010 USA Basketball Men's National Team last July in Las Vegas.  The two then were named to the 10-player USA Select Team for a second training session against the national team in New York in August.  Mack faced former USA U19 World Championship teammate Ashton Gibbs of Pittsburgh in Butler's last NCAA Tournament game.

RANKING WINS:  Butler's victory over #4-ranked Pittsburgh was the Bulldogs' first this season against a nationally-ranked squad.  The Bulldogs have six wins in their last eight games against nationally-ranked opponents, with both setbacks coming to Duke.  Butler has beaten seven nationally-ranked foes since Brad Stevens took over as head coach in 2007-08, including six in NCAA Tournament play.  A year ago, the Bulldogs posted back-to-back victories over #4 Syracuse and #7 Kansas State to win the West Regional and advance to Butler's first Final Four.  

BULLDOG BITS:

•Matt Howard posted his 100th career double-figures scoring performance with 15 points against Old Dominion.  He made it 101 with 16 points against Pitt.

•Matt Howard boosted his Butler record for most NCAA Tournament starts to 11 in the game against Pittsburgh.  

•Matt Howard has moved into second place on Butler's all-time list for NCAA Tournament scoring with 114 points in 11 tournament games.

•Matt Howard, who's third in the Horizon League in 3-point field goal shooting (.432), had not hit a three-point field goal in nine NCAA Tournament games prior to this year.  He's connected on four in Butler's first two tournament games this year.  

•Matt Howard is the first player in Butler basketball history to grab 50 rebounds in NCAA Tournament play.  The 6-8 Butler senior has 52 in 11 tournament games.

•Matt Howard has scored in double-figures in his last three NCAA Tournament games.

•Shelvin Mack ranks 13th among players in this year's NCAA Championship in tournament scoring with a 22.5 average for his two games.

•Shelvin Mack leads all players in this year's tournament with 10 three-point field goals in two games.  He's tied for second in three-pointers per game (5.0).

•Shelvin Mack has hit a Butler record 30 three-point field goals in nine NCAA Tournament games.

•Shelvin Mack is the first player in Butler basketball history to score 30 points in NCAA Tournament play.  He's also the only player in school history to have two NCAA Tournament games of 25 or more points.

•Shelvin Mack has shot 47% from beyond the three-point arc in nine previous NCAA Tournament games.  He shot .472 (17-36) in Butler's six NCAA Tournament games a year ago.

•Shawn Vanzant has five assists and no turnovers in Butler's first two NCAA Tournament games.

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.

•Junior Ronald Nored holds Butler's all-time NCAA Tournament records for assists (29) and steals (19).

•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 celebrated his return to Washington, D.C., with 11 points and six rebounds against Old Dominion.  The sophomore center was born in Washington, on Sept. 9, 1990.  

•Andrew Smith has led or shared the lead in rebounding for the Bulldogs in six of the last seven games and seven of the last nine.  He shared the team lead against Old Dominion with six rebounds, helping the Bulldogs become just the second team this season to out-rebound the Monarchs.

•Butler improved to 5-0 in NCAA Tournament play as the higher seeded team.

•The Bulldogs did not shoot a first half free throw in either of their first two NCAA Tournament games.  Butler attempted its first free throw against Old Dominion with 11:28 left in the game and its first against Pitt with just 10:14 remaining.

•Butler is fifth among teams in this year's NCAA Tournament with 19 three-point field goals in two games (9.5).  The Bulldogs averaged 7.3 three-pointers during last year's NCAA Tournament run.    

•The Bulldogs are 49-3 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting nine or more three-pointers.

•Butler has won 30 of its last 31 games when yielding fewer than 60 points.

•The Bulldogs have been yielding just 59 points during the team's current 11-game winning streak.  Butler has held five of its last eight foes below 60 points.

•The Bulldogs are 5-1 on neutral courts this season, with the lone setback coming to #1-ranked Duke.  Butler is 16-7 on neutral courts under head coach Brad Stevens.