Bulldogs Close Road Slate At UIC

Feb. 19, 2008

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ROAD WORK: Butler will play its final regular season road contest in Chicago, Ill., and the game has championship implications. The league-leading Bulldogs can clinch a tie for their second straight Horizon League regular season title with a win at UIC on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The game at the UIC Pavilion is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT, 8 p.m. in Indianapolis). The Bulldogs (24-2, 13-2 HL) wrapped up a bye to the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament with a 51-46 victory over Cleveland State on Saturday (Feb. 16). The win kept Butler two games ahead of second place Wright State and guaranteed the Bulldogs at least a runner-up finish in the league race. UIC (14-12, 8-7 HL) suffered a one-point setback, 52-51, at Wright State on Saturday, but the Flames boast the second-best home record in the league at 11-1.

Butler leads the NCAA Division I in wins away from home (14).

POLL CLIMBING: Butler climbed to No. 8 in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today poll, released on Monday (Feb. 18). Both rankings are Butler's highest ever! Butler reached No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today polls last year and hit No. 9 in the A. P. poll last week. The Bulldogs have been ranked in the A.P. poll for 14 straight weeks and in both polls for 13 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, and the first team in league history to crack the national "Top 10."

Butler has been nationally ranked in basketball (Top 25) for 30 weeks since November 27, 2006.

ADDITIONAL POLLING: The Bulldogs are ranked first in The CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 (Feb. 18). Saint Mary's (Calif.) is second in the poll, while Drake, Butler's opponent in the ESPNU BracketBusters game, is ranked third.

20-SOMETHING: Butler has posted its tenth 20-win season in the past 12 years. The win over Cleveland State boosted the Bulldogs into a tie for the fourth-highest season win total (24) in school history.

BEST MARK: The Bulldogs own the best 26-game record in school history. Last year's team was 23-3 through 26 games.

LEAGUE RECORD: Butler has tied the best two-year win total in Horizon League history with 53 victories since the start of last season. The Bulldogs also posted 53 wins from 2001-03.

TOP DOG: Head coach Brad Stevens is the first coach in Butler men's basketball history to own an 24-2 career record. Stevens' former boss, Todd Lickliter was 23-3 through 26 games, while Harlan O. "Pat" Page (1920-22) was 22-4 through his first 26 contests. Hall of Fame coach Paul D. "Tony" Hinkle started 21-5.

WIN STREAK: The Bulldogs won their eighth straight game for the third time this year with their decision over Cleveland State. The eight consecutive wins tie the 12th-longest winning streak in Butler basketball history.

DEFENSIVE STAND: Butler limited Cleveland State to just six points over the final 14:30 of the game to decide a tough defensive struggle. The Vikings rallied from a 10-point deficit and tied the game at 40-40, but the Bulldogs surrendered just two field goals and two free throws for the rest of the contest. The 46 points were a season-low for Cleveland State, and the Vikings shot just 31% for the game.

Butler leads the Horizon League in team scoring defense (59.0).

INSIDE OUT: Butler picked up 32 of its 51 points against Cleveland State from the duo of freshman Matt Howard and senior A. J. Graves. Howard did the heavy work inside and scored a team-high 17 points. He hit five of nine shots against the Vikings and added seven of 11 from the charity stripe. The 6-8 forward also chipped in with a team-high eight rebounds. Graves tallied 15 points, including nine from beyond the three-point arc. The 6-1 guard hit three of six long-range attempts, and he added four rebounds and three assists. The two were Butler's only players to score in double-figures.

Matt Howard has topped the Bulldogs in scoring in nine of their 15 Horizon League games.

LEAGUE PICK: Senior Mike Green, who helped lead the Bulldogs to consecutive victories over Milwaukee, Youngstown State and Cleveland State, was named Horizon League Player of the Week (Feb. 18). Green opened the week with a career performance at Milwaukee. He matched his career-high with 24 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds in the overtime victory. The 6-1 Butler point-guard scored 22 of his points after intermission, including 10 in the overtime period. He then led Butler with 17 points, five rebounds and six assists in just 23 minutes of action against Youngstown State, before finishing the week with six points, six rebounds and three assists against Cleveland State. Green shot 50% (14-28) from the field and 80% (16-20) from the free throw line for the week.

Mike Green has averaged a team-best 14.9 points during Butler's current winning streak.

ELITE GROUP: Butler's Mike Green is one of just 10 players in the NCAA DIvision I who are leading their teams in scoring, rebounding and assists. Green led the Bulldogs in rebounding and assists a year ago, while finishing second on the team in scoring.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler is leading the Horizon League in scoring margin (+10.4), turnover margin (+3.96), fewest turnovers (10.4), and assist/turnover ratio (1.24). The Bulldogs are second in three-point field goals (9.04) and free throw shooting (.748).

•The Bulldogs, who ranked third in the NCAA Division I in fewest turnovers per game (10.4) last week, committed just 25 turnovers (8.3 pg) in last week's three wins. Butler has had 10 or fewer turnovers in 11 games this year.

•A. J. Graves was named Horizon League Scholar-Athlete of the Week, after helping Butler to three consecutive league wins. Graves, a first team Academic All-American in 2006-07, averaged 13.7 points during the week.

•A. J. Graves stands sixth on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,704 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 284, 30 behind all-time leader Bruce Horan (2002-06). He's currently fourth in the league in three-pointers (2.92).

•A. J. Graves has 94 double-figures scoring performances in 122 career games. He stands 11th in the Horizon League in scoring (13.8).

•A. J. Graves has moved into eighth place on Butler's all-time assist chart with 297 career assists. He's eight assists behind assistant coach Brandon Miller, 2000-03, in seventh place.

•A. J. Graves ranks fourth in the Horizon League in steals (1.54). He leads the league in minutes played (35.50).

•Mike Green ranks fourth in the Horizon League in scoring (15.1). He's scored 1,533 points during his collegiate career (641 at Towson and 890 at Butler).

•Mike Green leads the Horizon League in assists (4.92) and in assist/turnover ratio (1.83). He's fifth in steals (1.50), sixth in defensive rebounds (5.04) and 10th in both rebounding (6.3) and free throw shooting (.764). Green leads the league in free throws made (146).

•Mike Green is the only player in the Horizon League to rank in the "Top 10" in scoring, rebounding and assists.

•Mike Green stands 10th on Butler's all-time list for free throws made (342).

•Mike Green was in Butler's starting lineup for the 62nd consecutive game against Cleveland State.

•Pete Campbell has moved into 12th place on Butler's all-time list for three-point field goals (150).

•Pete Campbell ranks third in the Horizon League lead in three-point field goals (3.00) and ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.439). He's hit at least one three-pointer in 26 consecutive games, dating back to last season.

•Matt Howard leads the Horizon League in field goal percentage (.600). He ranks second in offensive rebounds (2.65), fourth in blocked shots (1.15), eighth in free throw shooting (.786) and 13th in rebounding (5.7) and scoring (13.2).

•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, regardless of class, to rank in the "Top 15" in all five categories.

•Matt Howard currently owns the fifth-highest single season scoring total (344 pts) ever by a Butler freshman. He's 10 points shy of the fourth-highest total.

•Matt Howard has led the Bulldogs in scoring a team-high 10 times this season. It's the first time in a quarter century that a freshman has led the Bulldogs in scoring at least 10 times.