BUTLER VS. BUCKNELL
Thursday, March 21, 12:40 p.m. (ET)
Rupp Arena - Lexington, Ky.
NCAA MEET: Butler will begin its bid in the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship against Patriot League champion Bucknell in one of the nation's storied basketball arenas on Thursday, March 21. The sixth-seeded Bulldogs will square off against 11th-seeded Bucknell at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. The second round game will tip at 12:40 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on truTV. Butler (26-8) is making its sixth appearance in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship in seven years, while Bucknell (28-5) is back in the national tournament after making the field in 2011. The Bison also made back-to-back appearances in 2005 and 2006, making headlines in the 2005 tournament with a first-round victory over No. 3 Kansas, 64-63. The Bulldogs are making their 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in 16 years and their 12th 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 in both 2010 and 2011.
Butler has won its first game in five of its past six NCAA Tournament appearances.
TOURNAMENT TESTED: Butler's roster includes five players who have previously played in the NCAA Tournament. Senior Andrew Smith has played in nine NCAA games, including two national championship contests, while senior Chase Stigall has played in seven. Junior Khyle Marshall has played in six NCAA Tournament games, while senior Emerson Kampen and junior Erik Fromm each has played in one NCAA Tournament game.
SPRING SEEDING: Butler's No. 6 seed in this year's NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship is the second-highest in school history. The Bulldogs were a No. 5 seed in 2007 and 2010. Butler has had a single-digit seed in each of the last six NCAA Tournaments.
FIRST ENCOUNTER: Butler is facing Bucknell for the first time as a basketball opponent. The Bulldogs are 3-2 all-time against teams from the Patriot League (Navy 1-1, Lehigh 1-0, Colgate 1-0, Holy Cross 0-1).
KENTUCKY HOME: Butler is making its first visit to Rupp Arena since 1998 and its third visit to Kentucky's homecourt all-time. The Bulldogs lost to New Mexico in Rupp Arena in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament and to No. 4-ranked Kentucky in a regular season game in 1982.
BONUS SEASON: The Bulldogs have advanced to post-season play for the 15th time in 17 years. Butler earned bids to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and this season, and to the National Invitation Tournament in 1999, 2002 and 2006. Last season, the Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational. Butler's post-season record since 1997 is 22-14. (16-10 NCAA, 4-3 NIT, 2-1 CBI).
TWENTY PLUS: The 2012-13 Bulldogs became the 19th Butler team to record 20 victories in a season with their win at George Washington on Feb. 9. Butler has won at least 20 games in eight consecutive seasons and in 15 of the past 17 campaigns. This year's team is tied for sixth on Butler's single season wins chart with 26 victories. Brad Stevens has coached five of the eight Butler teams that have won 26 games.
TOURNAMENT RECAP: The Bulldogs, who were seeded fifth in the 12-team tournament, posted back-to-back wins over Dayton and La Salle, before falling to eventual champ Saint Louis in the 2013 Atlantic 10 Conference Men's Basketball Championship at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Butler opened the tournament with a 73-67 victory over Dayton, behind the 21-point performance of senior guard Rotnei Clarke. In the quarterfinals game with fourth-seeded La Salle, a team that had beaten Butler on a shot at the buzzer during the regular season, Clarke led five teammates in double-figures with 14 points, and the Bulldogs rolled to a 69-58 victory. Butler's tournament run came to an end when top-seeded Saint Louis pulled away in the final 10 minutes to post a 67-56 victory. It was the Billikens' third win over Butler this season.
FAMILIAR LEADER: Senior Rotnei Clarke led the Bulldogs in scoring in all three games at the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament, finishing the three games with a 17.0 average. He's scored in double-figures in 14 of 15 games since his return from a neck injury that sidelined him for three-and-a-half games in January. Overall, Clarke has scored in double-figures in 26 of his 31 games this season, and he's had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in 23 of those contests. The Arkansas transfer has scored 20 or more points 11 times this year, including a season-high 28 points at Saint Joseph's, and 23 times during his collegiate career.
Butler is 10-1 when Rotnei Clarke scores 20 or more points.
ALL-TOURNAMENT: Rotnei Clarke was one of five players named to the All-Tournament Team, following the A-10 Men's Basketball Championship. Dwayne Evans of tournament champ Saint Louis was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, and he was joined on the All-Tournament Team by teammate Kwamain Mitchell, Juvonte Reddic of VCU, Chaz Williams of Massachusetts and Clarke.
ELITE GROUP: Butler's Rotnei Clarke ranks second among all active NCAA Division I players in career three-point field goals. The 6-0 guard has hit 382 three-point field goals during his collegiate career at Butler and Arkansas, and he trails only Kevin Foster of Santa Clara (407) on the NCAA list. Clarke is bidding to become the 12th player in NCAA Division I history to hit 400 career three-point field goals.
CHART CLIMBING: Senior Andrew Smith became the 11th Butler player to record 1,000 career points and 600 career rebounds in Butler's win at Massachusetts (March 7). He enters the NCAA Tournament with 1,116 career points and 624 career rebounds. The last Butler player to reach the 1,000 points/600 rebounds milestone was Matt Howard (2007-11), who finished his career with 1,939 points and 884 rebounds. Smith and Howard were teammates for two seasons, helping Butler to back-to-back Final Four appearances.
INSIDE WORK: Senior Andrew Smith averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in Butler's three games at the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. The 6-11 center had 18 points and six rebounds to help lift the Bulldogs past Dayton in the opening round, and then he posted 11 points and eight rebounds in Butler's victory over La Salle. He ran into foul problems in the semifinals against Saint Louis and finished with eight points and two rebounds. Smith was Butler's leading rebounder in four of five games heading into the A-10 Tournament.
Andrew Smith has averaged 8.8 rebounds in Butler's last five wins.
QUICK START: Butler head coach Brad Stevens has moved into the top spot on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Coaching Starts By Wins, 6 Seasons. The Bulldogs' coach boasts a 165-48 record in his five-plus seasons. Stevens holds the NCAA three-year (89), four-year (117) and five-year (139) records, and he's second on the two-year (56) list.
Brad Stevens ranks third at Butler in all-time coaching victories.
TOP THREE: Butler head coach Brad Stevens ranks third among active Division I coaches in career winning percentage with a .775 mark. Only Roy Williams of North Carolina and Mark Few of Gonzaga have a higher career winning percentage.
NAISMITH FINALIST: Senior Rotnei Clarke has been named one of the Top 30 Candidates for the 2013 Naismith Men's College Player of the Year Award. The 6-0 guard, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring, was among the finalists selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors. The winner of this year's Naismith award will be announced on April 7 in Atlanta.
•Senior Andrew Smith has played in nine previous NCAA Tournament games and is bidding to become the seventh player in Butler basketball history to play in 10 NCAA contests. Matt Howard, Shawn Vanzant and Zach Hahn (all 2007-11) each played in 15 NCAA Tournament games, while Shelvin Mack (2008-11) and Ronald Nored (2008-12) each played in 13. Willie Veasley (2006-10) saw action in 11 NCAA games. Smith played on teams with each of the six players ranked ahead of him.
•Andrew Smith needs 12 points to catch Mike Green (2007-08) in 11th place on Butler's All-Time NCAA Tournament scoring list. Smith has scored 42 points in nine previous NCAA Tournament games. Gerry Williams (1962) and Ronald Nored (2009-11) share 10th place on the all-time list with 56 points apiece.
•Andrew Smith had his NCAA Tournament scoring-high with 11 points against Old Dominion in the second round of the 2011 national tournament.
•Andrew Smith grabbed nine rebounds against Connecticut in the 2011 national championship game for his NCAA Tournament career high.
•Senior Chase Stigall was in the starting lineup in both of Butler's Final Four games in 2011. Stigall scored nine points in the 2011 national championship game against Connecticut.
•Rotnei Clarke, Butler's leading scorer, is playing in his first NCAA Tournament.
•Junior Khyle Marshall has played in six previous NCAA Tournament games, all in Butler's run to the 2011 national championship game. Marshall came off the bench with 10 points in Butler's "Elite Eight" win over Florida, and he had nine rebounds in a reserve role in the Bulldogs' national semifinals' win over VCU.
•Butler has played 12 games this season against teams that are in this year's NCAA Tournament field. The Bulldogs are 6-6 in those 12 games, with three of the losses coming to No. 4 seed Saint Louis.
•The Bulldogs have beaten two of the number one seeds in this year's NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship. (Gonzaga and Indiana). Butler also has victories over NCAA Tournament teams Marquette, North Carolina, Temple and La Salle.
•Senior Rotnei Clarke averaged 17.2 points against this year's NCAA Tournament field. Clarke played in 10 games against NCAA Tournament teams and led the Bulldogs in scoring in seven of those contests.
•Rotnei Clarke scored 27 points against Illinois for his top out-put against a team in this year's NCAA field.
•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones has averaged 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in Butler's 12 games against teams in this year's NCAA Tournament. Jones had 20 points, including the game-winning basket at the buzzer, in Butler's nationally-televised victory over Gonzaga on Jan. 19. Jones also had a team-high 43 assists in the 12 games.
•Roosevelt Jones had 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in Butler's victory over No. 1 Indiana in December. He was named Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week for his performance.
•Freshman Kellen Dunham posted the second-highest scoring total of his young career with 17 points in Butler's victory over North Carolina. He shared team scoring honors in the win with Rotnei Clarke.
•Butler Associate Head Coach Matthew Graves played in Rupp Arena in the NCAA Tournament in 1998. Graves, then a senior for the Bulldogs, scored a team-high 17 points against New Mexico and earned CBS Player of the Game honors.
•Current Butler Director of Athletics Barry Collier was the Bulldogs' head coach the last time Butler played at Rupp Arena. Collier guided the Bulldogs to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1997, 1998 and 2000.
•Butler is 3-1 this season in games decided in the final seconds. Senior Rotnei Clarke hit a running three-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Bulldogs past Marquette, 72-71, in the opening round of the Maui Invitational, and sophomore Alex Barlow connected on a short floater with two seconds remaining to give Butler a victory in overtime, 88-86, over top-ranked Indiana. Sophomore Roosevelt Jones came up with a steal and a basket at the buzzer to push Butler past Gonzaga, 64-63. Butler's lone setback in the closing seconds came at La Salle, when guard Ramon Galloway drove the length of the floor and hit a lay-up with two seconds remaining to give the Explorers a 54-53 decision.
•Butler continues to receive votes in this week's national polls. The Bulldogs are 29th in the Associated Press poll and 31st in the USA Today poll. Butler was ranked in the "Top 25" of both polls for 11 weeks.