Feb. 11, 2008
BUSY SLATE: Butler will play the second of four games in eight days and close out a two-game trip to Wisconsin when it visits Milwaukee for a nationally-televised Horizon League game on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The game, which will be telecast on ESPNU, is slated for 6 p.m. (CT, 7 p.m. in Indianapolis) at U. S. Cellular Arena. The nationally-ranked and league-leading Bulldogs improved to 21-2 overall and 10-2 in league play with a 62-57 victory at Green Bay on Saturday (Feb. 9). The win was Butler's fifth straight and 13th in the past 14 outings. Milwaukee (12-10, 7-5 Horizon League) is returning to action for after a 10-day layoff. The Panthers have been idle since Feb. 2, when they dropped a 53-51 decision at Wright State. The Bulldogs will continue their busy week with home games against Youngstown State on Thursday (Feb. 14) and Cleveland State on Saturday (Feb. 16).
Butler leads the NCAA Division I with 13 wins away from home.
POLL CLIMBING: Butler climbed to No. 9 in the Associated Press poll and to No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, released on Monday (Feb. 11). Both rankings are Butler's highest this season, and the A.P. ranking is Butler's highest ever! Butler reached No. 10 in the A.P. and No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today polls last year. The Bulldogs have been ranked in the A.P. poll for 13 straight weeks and in both polls for 12 consecutive weeks. Last year, Butler became the first team in Horizon League history to be ranked in the "Top 25" for more than five weeks.
Butler has been nationally ranked in basketball (Top 25) for 29 weeks since November 27, 2006.
ADDITIONAL POLLING: The Bulldogs are ranked first in The CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 (Feb. 4). Gonzaga is ranked second in the poll.
20-SOMETHING: Butler has posted its 10th 20-win season in the past 12 years. Over that stretch, the Bulldogs own a 266-110 (.707) record.
BEST MARK: The Bulldogs share the best 23-game record in school history at 21-2. Last year's Butler team became the first in school history to post a 21-2 record before increasing the record start to 23-2.
TOP DOG: Head coach Brad Stevens is the first coach in Butler men's basketball history to own an 21-2 career record. Stevens' former boss, Todd Lickliter was 20-3 through 23 games, while Harlan O. "Pat" Page (1920-22) was 19-4 through his first 23 contests.
ROAD CLOSING: The Bulldogs came from behind in the second half for the second straight road game, while picking up the victory at Green Bay, Butler trailed 29-26 five minutes into the final period, before using a 9-0 scoring run to take the lead for good. The host Phoenix stayed within striking distance and cut Butler's margin to 49-47 with 4:18 left, but senior Pete Campbell hit back-to-back three-point field goals to secure the decision. Four days earlier, Campbell nailed a three-point field goal with 0:17 left to give Butler its first lead and ultimately a three-point win at Valparaiso.
WISCONSIN CHILL: The Bulldogs hit just one of their first 18 three-point field goal attempts at Green Bay and appeared headed for their worst long-range shooting performance of the season. But a solid second-half effort, fueled by senior Pete Campbell, helped Butler rally for the five-point win. Campbell, who missed his first four three-point attempts, hit four of eight long-range shots in the second half. The Bulldogs finished by connected on seven of their final 14 three-point attempts. The 32 total three-point attempts tied the second most by Butler this season.
Butler is 16-0 when making at eight or more three-point field goals.
FAMILIAR LEADER: Senior A. J. Graves nailed six of six free throws in the final 1:27 at Green Bay to preserve Butler's victory. Graves finished with a game-high 16 points, his third straight double-figures scoring performance and his second straight game as Butler's scoring leader. The 6-1 guard led all scorers at Valparaiso with 20 points, after posting 16 points in a Butler win at home over UIC. His performance in the Valparaiso and Green Bay wins earned Graves Horizon League Player of the Week honors.
GREEN LIGHT: Butler's second half surge at Green Bay was ignited by senior Mike Green. The 6-1 point-guard gave Butler the lead for good at 32-29 with a three-point play, and then he had an assist on a Pete Campbell three-point field goal that made it 35-29. Green scored 12 of his 14 points and had five of his six assists after intermission. He also led the Bulldogs with seven rebounds and four steals. Green is the only player in the Horizon League who leads his team in scoring, rebounding and assists.
WATCH LISTS: Senior Mike Green is one of 16 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, presented annually to the nation's top collegiate point-guard. Also on the list of finalists are Darren Collison of UCLA, DJ Augustin of Texas, Ty Lawson of North Carolina, Derrick Rose of Memphis and Dominic James of Marquette, plus 10 other NCAA Division I, II and III players. Fans can vote for the favorite candidate at www.cousyaward.com. Green also is one of 30 finalists for the Naismith Trophy, given to the nation's outstanding collegiate player. Senior guard A. J. Graves is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, a tribute to college seniors based on classroom, community, character and competition.
Butler's BracketBusters game against Drake on Feb. 23 will be played at 5 p.m. (ET) and will be telecast on ESPN2.
Butler seniors A. J. Graves and Drew Streicher have been named to the five-player 2008 CoSIDA Academic All-District V Team. Also chosen to the team were Bryan Mullins of Southern Illinois, Mike Schachtner of Green Bay and Jason Holsinger of Evansville. The five players are now candidates for the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team. Graves was a first team Academic All-American last year, while Streicher was named to the District V All-Academic Team a year ago.
Butler is leading the Horizon League in scoring margin (+10.5), team scoring defense (58.3), turnover margin (+3.70), fewest turnovers (10.7), and assist/turnover ratio (1.19). The Bulldogs rank second in three-point field goals (9.04).
A. J. Graves stands sixth on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,663 career points. He's the 39th player in Horizon League history to reach the 1,500-point plateau and the current active league-leader in career scoring.
A. J. Graves is second on Butler's all-time list for three-point field goals with 276, 38 behind all-time leader Bruce Horan (2002-06). He's currently third in the league in three-pointers (2.96).
A. J. Graves has 91 double-figures scoring performances in 119 career games. He stands 11th in the Horizon League in scoring (13.9).
A. J. Graves has moved into eighth place on Butler's all-time assist chart with 289 career assists. He's 16 assists behind assistant coach Brandon Miller, 2000-03, in seventh place.
A. J. Graves, who had three steals at Green Bay, ranks fourth in the Horizon League in thefts (1.61). He leads the league in minutes played (35.65).
Mike Green ranks fifth in the Horizon League in scoring (15.0). He's scored 1,486 points during his collegiate career (641 at Towson and 845 at Butler).
Mike Green has scored in double-figures in a team-best 14 straight games.
Mike Green leads the Horizon League in assists (4.83) and in assist/turnover ratio (1.79). He's fifth in steals (1.52), 11th in rebounding (6.0) and 12th in free throw shooting (.760). Green leads the league in free throws made (130).
Pete Campbell, who tallied 17 points at Valparaiso and 12 points at Green Bay, has scored in double-figures in six of Butler's last seven games.
Pete Campbell ranks second in the Horizon League lead in three-point field goals (3.15) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.453). He's hit at least one three-pointer in 23 consecutive games, dating back to last season.
Matt Howard leads the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (2.78) and in field goal percentage (.602). He ranks third in blocked shots (1.30), seventh in free throw shooting (.803), and 13th in scoring (13.5) and rebounding (5.8).
Matt Howard leads all freshmen in the Horizon League in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, field goal shooting and free throw shooting. He's the only player in the league, regardless of class, to rank in the "Top 15" in all five categories.
Matt Howard currently owns the sixth-highest single season scoring total (310 pts.) ever by a Butler freshman. He's two points shy of teammate A. J. Graves, who owns the fifth-highest total.
Mike Green was in Butler's starting lineup for the 59th consecutive game at Green Bay.