April 15, 2013

Bulldogs Add To Butler Basketball Success Story

SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN:  Butler faced seven first-time opponents, played in ten new venues and competed in an entirely new conference in 2012-13.  But one area remained constant - continued success.  The Bulldogs, who earned an at-large bid and a No. 6 seed in the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, compiled a 27-9 season record, finished in a tie for third place in the Atlantic 10 Conference regular season race and earned a spot in the semifinals of the A-10 Men's Basketball Championship.  Included in Butler's 27 victories were a trio of "Top 10" wins, including a victory over top-ranked Indiana at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.  Butler had a 13-game winning streak during the regular season, and the Bulldogs were ranked in the "Top 25" of the two major national polls for eleven consecutive weeks, reaching as high as No. 9.  The Bulldogs finished runner-up at the Maui Invitational, where they defeated both Marquette and No. 9 North Carolina, and they picked up a dramatic win at the buzzer over No. 8 (and future No. 1) Gonzaga at Hinkle Fieldhouse as the feature contest on ESPN's College GameDay.  Seven of Butler's nine losses came to teams that were ranked or received votes in the national polls at some point during the season, including three setbacks to A-10 champion Saint Louis.  Butler returned to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year absence and picked up an opening-game victory for the seventh time in eight tournaments.  The Bulldogs improved to 12-5 in NCAA Tournament play under head coach Brad Stevens.

Butler cracked the "Top 10" for the fifth time in seven seasons.

BONUS SEASON:  The Bulldogs advanced to post-season play for the 15th time in 17 years and reached the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in seven seasons.  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.  In 2012, the Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational.  Butler's post-season record since 1997 is 23-15.

TOP FIVE:  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 wound up tied for fifth on Butler's single season wins chart with 27 victories.  Brad Stevens has coached four of the six Butler teams that have won 27 games.

Butler has averaged 27.7 victories in six seasons under head coach Brad Stevens.

CONFERENCE RUN:  Butler completed its first, and only, season in the Atlantic 10 Conference with an 11-5 record, finishing in a tie with Temple and La Salle for third place behind Saint Louis (13-3) and VCU (12-4) in the league regular season standings.  The Bulldogs tied with VCU for second place in the league in overall wins with 27, one shy of Saint Louis.  Next season, the Bulldogs will begin play in the new Big East.

NCAA RECAP:  Butler posted an opening-game win for the seventh time in its last eight NCAA Tournament appearances, and the Bulldogs were a three-point field goal away from reaching the "Sweet 16" for the fifth time in the last seven tournaments.  The Bulldogs turned a staunch first-half defensive effort to gain control and then built on the lead in the second half to defeat Bucknell, 68-56, in their first game of the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky.  The win sent Butler into a rematch with Big East Conference champ Marquette, a team that the Bulldogs had beaten, 72-71, on a last-second shot at the Maui Invitational in November.  The second meeting played out in similar fashion to the first with the Bulldogs having the ball in the closing seconds with a chance for the win.  But unlike the first meeting, Butler's final shot didn't go down, and the Bulldogs were eliminated from the tournament, 74-72.  It was the second time in three trips that Butler's final NCAA Tournament game came down to a last-second shot.

Butler won its 11th NCAA Tournament game in the past four seasons.              

FAMILIAR LEADER:  Senior Rotnei Clarke led the Bulldogs in scoring in both NCAA games, posting a 20.5 average for his first NCAA Tournament appearance.  He topped the Bulldogs with 17 points in Butler's win over Bucknell, and then he posted a team-high 24 points against Marquette.  Clarke scored in double-figures in 16 of 17 games after his return from a neck injury that sidelined him for three-and-a-half games in January, and he topped the Bulldogs in scoring in the team's final seven contests.  Overall, Clarke scored in double-figures in 28 of his 33 games in 2012-13, and he had at least a share of Butler's scoring lead in 25 of those contests.  The Arkansas transfer scored 20 or more points 12 times in his one season with the Bulldogs, including a season-high 28 points at Saint Joseph's, and 24 times during his collegiate career.  
   
Butler was 10-2 when Rotnei Clarke scored 20 or more points.

NATIONAL LOOK:  Butler's Rotnei Clarke ranked second among all active NCAA Division I players in 2012-13 in career three-point field goals.  The 6-0 guard recorded 389 three-point field goals during his collegiate career at Butler and Arkansas, and he wound up tied with A. J. Abrams of Texas for 15th place on the NCAA's all-time list for three-pointers.  Clarke averaged 3.11 three-pointers per game and shot .416 from beyond the three-point arc for his career.

TOP GUN:  Rotnei Clarke led the Bulldogs and ranked fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring with a 16.9 average in 2012-13.  His scoring average was the highest by a Butler player since 2005-06, when Brandon Polk led the Bulldogs with an 18.0 mark, and the second-highest Butler total in 19 seasons.  Clarke led the A-10 in three-point field goals per game (3.5) and ranked second in the conference in free throw shooting (.886).

SELECT GROUP:  Senior Andrew Smith became just the 11th Butler player to record 1,000 career points and 600 career rebounds while helping Butler to a win at Massachusetts on March 7.  He went on to finish the 2012-13 campaign with 1,147 career points and 648 career rebounds.  The last previous 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.

STRONG FINISH:  Senior Andrew Smith averaged a double-double with 15.5 points and 12.0 rebounds in Butler's two games in the NCAA Tournament.  He had 14 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to help Butler past Bucknell and Patriot League Player of the Year Mike Muscala, and then he finished his career with 17 points and a game-high eight rebounds against Marquette.  Smith led the Bulldogs in rebounding in six of the team's final 10 games and in 13 total games on the year.  He finished his final season as Butler's leading rebounder (6.1) and second-leading scorer (11.3).  

Andrew Smith led Butler in scoring in 2011-12 and in rebounding in 2012-13.

QUICK START:  Butler head coach Brad Stevens moved into the top spot on the NCAA Division I list for Best Career Coaching Starts By Wins, 6 Seasons, during the 2012-13 season.  The Bulldogs' coach ended the season with a 166-49 record for his first six collegiate campaigns, three victories ahead of previous record-holder Jamie Dixon of Pittsburgh.  Stevens also 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 .772 mark.  Only Roy Williams of North Carolina and Mark Few of Gonzaga have a higher career winning percentage.

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 event'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.

ALL-DISTRICT:  Rotnei Clarke was the lone player outside of the Big Ten to be named to the U. S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) 2012-13 All-District V Team.  The honor squad included Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo of Indiana, Brandon Paul of Illinois, Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas of Ohio State, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. of Michigan, Trevor Mbakwe of Minnesota and Jared Berggren of Wisconsin.

ALL-CONFERENCE:  Rotnei Clarke was one of five players named first team on the 2012-13 Atlantic 10 Conference All-Conference team.  It was his second All-Conference recognition in two different leagues!  Clarke was named second team All-Southeastern Conference in 2010-11, while playing at Arkansas.

ALL DEFENSIVE:  Sophomore Roosevelt Jones, who helped Butler rank among the top teams in the conference in scoring defense, was named to the five-player Atlantic 10 Conference All-Defensive Team.  The 6-4 forward was the lone front-court player picked to the team.  Jones previously was a preseason A-10 All-Defensive pick.  

SMART CHOICE:  Senior Andrew Smith continued to add to his honor-filled academic resume by being named to the five-player Atlantic 10 Conference All-Academic Team.  The conference honor came on the heels of Smith being named first team on the 2012-13 Capital One Academic All-District V Team and second team on the 2012-13 Capital One Academic All-America Team.  Smith earned high honors as a finance major.

ROOKIE PICK:  Freshman Kellen Dunham was one of five first-year players named to the 2012-13 Atlantic 10 Conference All-Rookie Team.  The 6-6 Butler guard ranked third among freshmen in the A-10 in scoring, and he was among the top first-year players in the conference in three-point field goals.  He was named A-10 Rookie of the Week four times in 2012-13.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Seniors Andrew Smith, Chase Stigall and Emerson Kampen finished third on Butler's list for Most Senior Class Wins with a four-year record of 110-39.

•Andrew Smith finished his career in a tie for fifth place on Butler's all-time list for games played with 134.  He wound up tied with Willie Veasley (2006-10).

•Andrew Smith became the 34th Butler player to score 1,000 career points in the Bulldogs' victory over Rhode Island.  He finished his four-year career in 25th place on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,147 career points.

•Andrew Smith played in 11 NCAA Tournament games during his four seasons at Butler.  That total tied him with Willie Veasley (2006-10) for sixth place on Butler's all-time list for NCAA Tournament games.

•Andrew Smith ended his career in fifth place on Butler's all-time list for NCAA Tournament scoring with 73 points.

•Andrew Smith finished second on Butler's all-time list for NCAA Tournament rebounding with 65 rebounds in 11 games.  His former teammate, Matt Howard (2008-11), hold the Butler record with 83 rebounds.

•Andrew Smith set a Butler record for most rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game with 16 against Bucknell.  The previous record was 12 by both Matt Howard (vs. Wisconsin, 2011) and Jeff Blue (vs. Bowling Green, 1962).

•Senior Rotnei Clarke, in his lone season with the Bulldogs, finished with the second-highest single season total for three-point field goals in Butler history.  His 115 three-pointers trail only the school-record 158 by Darrin Fitzgerald in 1986-87.

•Rotnei Clarke ranked sixth in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made per game (3.5).  Clarke had at least four three-pointers in a game 16 times in 2012-13.

•Rotnei Clarke hit a 3-point field goal in each game that he played in 2012-13.

•Rotnei Clarke ranked eighth in the A-10 and 35th in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goal percentage (.408).

•Senior Chase Stigall finished in a tie for eighth place on Butler's all-time list for NCAA Tournament games with nine.

•Junior Khyle Marshall, who hit five of eight (62.5%) shots in Butler's two NCAA Tournament games, finished fourth in the A-10 in field goal percentage (.566).  Marshall shot 63.3% (30-68) over Butler's final 10 games.

•Butler was 16-1 in 2012-13 when Khyle Marshall scored in double-figures.

•Khyle Marshall moved into tenth place on Butler's career list for NCAA Tournament games played with eight.  

•Sophomore Roosevelt Jones led the Bulldogs with seven assists in Butler's two NCAA Tournament games.  He had at least a share of the team lead in assists in 24 games in 2012-13.

•Roosevelt Jones was the lone Butler player to start all 36 games in 2012-13.  Jones has started 67 consecutive games over the past two seasons.

•Roosevelt Jones led the Bulldogs and tied for 12th in the A-10 in assists (3.5).

•Roosevelt Jones was second on the team and 19th in the A-10 in rebounding (5.6).

•Roosevelt Jones had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists against Bucknell in his first NCAA Tournament game.

•Sophomore Kameron Woods, who came off the bench to lead the Bulldogs in rebounding in four of the team's final six games prior to the NCAA Tournament, had 14 rebounds in Butler's two NCAA games.  He had eight rebounds in a reserve role against Bucknell and six against Marquette.

•Kameron Woods scored more than one-third (58) of his entire season total for points (163) in Butler's last seven games.

•Sophomore Alex Barlow scored a career-high 10 points against Bucknell in his first NCAA Tournament game.

•Alex Barlow had two blocked shots in his first 33 games in 2012-13, before recording four blocks in Butler's two NCAA games.  He set a Butler NCAA Tournament record with three blocked shots against Marquette.

•Alex Barlow led the Bulldogs in steals (1.2) in 2012-13.  Barlow had a team-high four steals in the NCAA Tournament.

•Alex Barlow became the second former walk-on since 1997 to start an NCAA Tournament game for the Bulldogs.  Drew Streicher was the first in 2008.

•Freshman Kellen Dunham ranked fifth in the A-10 and 28th in the NCAA Division I in free throw shooting (.867).

•Kellen Dunham ranked third among freshmen in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring (9.5).

•Kellen Dunham tied Butler's freshman record for three-point field goals with 57 in 2012-13.  Current NBA player Shelvin Mack also hit 57 three-pointers in his freshman season (2008-09) with the Bulldogs.

•The Bulldogs set a Butler team NCAA Tournament record by hitting 25 of 28 (.893) free throw attempts against Bucknell.  The 25 attempts also were the most by a Butler team in NCAA Tournament play.

•Butler ranked first in the Atlantic 10 Conference and 11th in the NCAA Division I in team rebounding margin (+7.3).  The Bulldogs out-rebounded 16 of their final 20 opponents and 29 foes on the season.

•Butler led the A-10 in defensive rebounding percentage (.737).

•Butler tied an Atlantic 10 Championship record by going 10 for 10 from the free throw line in the victory over La Salle.  Six other teams have been perfect from the free throw line in the Atlantic 10 Championship, the last being Saint Louis (11-11) in 2009.

•Butler became just the second team to win its first two Atlantic 10 Conference Championship games in its first season in the conference.  Richmond was the first, doing it in 2002, and VCU became the third later in the 2013 championship.

•The Bulldogs ranked third in the A-10 in team scoring defense (63.9).  Butler held nine of its last 11 opponents to 67 points or less.

•Butler improved to 61-7 under head coach Brad Stevens when hitting at least nine three-point field goals in a game.

•Butler tied for 21st in the NCAA Division I with 27 wins in 2012-13.

•Two of Butler's nine losses in 2012-13 came when the Bulldogs were missing a key starter.  Leading scorer Rotnei Clarke missed Butler's game at La Salle, while second-leading scorer Andrew Smith missed the Charlotte contest.

•Butler had victories over two of the number one seeds in the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship. (Gonzaga and Indiana).  The Bulldogs also had victories over NCAA Tournament teams Marquette, North Carolina, Temple and La Salle prior to the championship.

•Brad Stevens guided the Bulldogs to postseason play for the sixth time in his six seasons as head coach.  He also participated in postseason action while serving as Butler's Director of Basketball Operations in 2001 and as an assistant coach with the Bulldogs in 2003, 2006 and 2007.

•Butler set a school single season record for home attendance with 126,386 fans in 17 home games in 2012-13.  The Bulldogs had a record five home sellouts.