Top-Seeded Bulldogs Host Horizon League Tournament
March 6, 2008
TOURNAMENT WEEK: Top-seeded Butler will begin its bid for the 2008 Horizon League Men's Basketball Tournament crown and an automatic berth in the NCAA Basketball Championship in the semifinals of the league meet at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday, March 8. The Bulldogs (27-3) will face the winner of Friday's second-round game between #4 UIC (17-14) and #8 Loyola (12-18) at 7 p.m. (ET). The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU. The other semifinal game on Saturday will pit #2 Cleveland State (20-11) against the winner of Friday's match between #3 Wright State (21-9) and #6 Valparaiso (20-12). The Bulldogs, who earned the top seed in the tournament and the right to host the championship by capturing the league regular season title with a 16-2 record, are seeking their first league tournament championship since 2001 . Butler will be playing in the conference tournament semifinals for the 10th time in the past 12 years.
Butler has won more Horizon League regular season titles (7) and tournament crowns (4) than any other active league member.
POLLING PLACE: Butler climbed from No. 13 to No. 12 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and remained at No. 14 in the Associated Press poll, when the national rankings were released on Monday (March 3). The Bulldogs fell have been ranked in the "Top 25" of the A.P. poll for 16 straight weeks and in both polls for 16 consecutive weeks. Butler was ranked in the "Top 10" for two consecutive weeks in February, reaching as high as No. 8 in both polls.
Butler has been nationally ranked (Top 25) for 32 weeks since Nov. 27, 2006.
ADDITIONAL POLLING: The Bulldogs are ranked first in The CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 (Mar. 3). Davidson is ranked second.
20-SOMETHING: Butler has posted its tenth 20-win season in the past 12 years. The Bulldogs' 27-3 record is the best 30-game mark in school history, and the 27 wins are a school record for regular season victories. Last year's Butler team, which finished with a 29-7 record, is the only team in school history to win more than 27 games in a season.
LEAGUE RECORD: Butler has established a new Horizon League record for best two-year win total with 56 victories since the start of last season. The previous record of 53 wins was originally set by Butler from 2001-03. The Bulldogs also tied the Horizon League record for most league wins in a season (16).
The Bulldogs have set a school record for Horizon League wins with 16.
CAREER START: Head coach Brad Stevens is the first coach in Butler men's basketball history to own an 27-3 career record. Stevens' former boss, Todd Lickliter, Harlan O. "Pat" Page and legendary coach Paul D. "Tony" Hinkle each shared the previous record with 25-5 marks through 30 games. Stevens is just the second men's basketball coach in Butler history to guide the Bulldogs to 27 wins in a season. Lickliter was the first, and he did it twice.
HOME WORK: The Bulldogs are 12-1 at home this season, including a 9-0 mark in Horizon League games. Butler has won 35 of its last 38 games in Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the Bulldogs own a 108-15 (.878) mark at home since the start of the 1999-2000 season.
TOP HONOR: Senior Mike Green became the third Butler player in seven years to be named Horizon League Player of the Year. Green, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring, rebounding and assists, received 42 of 46 votes from league coaches, media and sports information directors for the top conference individual honor. A year ago, Green, who transferred to Butler from Towson, was named Horizon League Newcomer of the Year. The 6-1 guard follows Rylan Hainje (2002) and Brandon Polk (2006) as recent Butler players named league Player of the Year.
FRESH LOOK: Freshman forward Matt Howard became the second Butler player in as many years to be named Horizon League Newcomer of the Year. Howard, who follows teammate Mike Green as league Newcomer of the Year, is the first true freshman to earn the league honor since T. J. Lux of Northern Illinois received the award in 1995-96.
ALL-LEAGUE: For the first time in school history, Butler has had three players earn first or second team All-Horizon League recognition. Senior guards Mike Green and A. J. Graves both were named first team all-league, while freshman forward Matt Howard was picked to the second team on the honor squad chosen by league coaches, media and sports information directors. Green and Graves both earned all-league recognition for the second consecutive season. A year ago, Graves was a first team pick, while Green was named to the second team. This year's all-league team marked just the second time in Horizon League history that Butler had two players earn first team recognition. The other time was in 2002, when forward Rylan Hainje and point-guard Thomas Jackson both received the league honor.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: League coaches tabbed Butler seniors Mike Green and Drew Streicher as two of five players on the Horizon League All-Defensive Team. The two Bulldogs have helped Butler to a No. 7 national ranking in team scoring defense. Green ranks among the league leaders in steals, while Streicher gained wide recognition as one of the league's most versatile defenders. The two are the first Butler players to earn Horizon League All-Defensive recognition since 2003.
Butler leads the Horizon League in team scoring defense (58.1).
ALL-DISTRICT: Butler seniors Mike Green and A. J. Graves were among 10 players named to the All-District 10 team, chosen by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Green was named first team All-District 10, along with Luke Harangody of Notre Dame, DJ White of Indiana, Eric Gordon of Indiana and Brian Roberts of Dayton. Graves earned second team recognition, along with Jamar Butler of Ohio State, Drew Lavender of Xavier, Tim Pollitz of Miami (Ohio) and Leon Williams of Ohio. A year ago, Graves was a first team pick on the honor squad, while Green was named second team. The 150 Division I players honored from 15 districts are now eligible for the NABC All-America team To Be Announced at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season.
TITLE MATCH: Butler wrapped up its first outright Horizon League regular season championship since 2003 with a 66-61 victory over Wright State on Feb. 28. Senior Julian Betko scored a career-high 17 points, all in the first half, to ignite the Bulldogs, and Butler defeated the Raiders for the first time in the last four meetings between the two teams. The win gave Butler a victory over every Horizon League team this season.
SENIOR DAY: Seniors Pete Campbell and Mike Green led Butler to a 65-31 victory over visiting Detroit in the regular season finale for both teams. Campbell hit eight of 12 shots from beyond the three-point arc and scored a game-high 24 points to spark Butler's offense. The eight three-pointers tied his career-high, set last year at Cleveland State. Green narrowly missed his first career triple-double, finishing with 11 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in just 28 minutes of action. The 31 points scored by Detroit were the fewest by a Butler opponent since 1947, when the Bulldogs defeated Canterbury, 52-30.
Pete Campbell leads the Horizon League in 3-point field goals (3.15).
Butler is leading the Horizon League in scoring margin (+10.3), free throw shooting (.741), turnover margin (+3.60), fewest turnovers (10.3), and assist/turnover ratio (1.27). The Bulldogs are second in 3-point field goals (9.17) and three-point field goal defense (.330).
A. J. Graves stands in fourth place on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,749 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 291, 23 behind all-time leader Bruce Horan (2002-06). He's currently fourth in the league in three-pointers (2.77).
A. J. Graves has moved into seventh place on Butler's all-time assist chart with 306 career assists. He's four shy of Mike Monserez, 2001-04, in sixth place.
A. J. Graves ranks fourth in the Horizon League in steals (1.47). He's second in the league in minutes played (35.30).
A. J. Graves has tied Butler's record for career starts with 120. His next start will give him sole possession of first place, ahead of Rylan Hainje (1998-2002).
Mike Green is one of just 10 NCAA Division I players who lead their teams in scoring, rebounding and assists. He's the only player in the Horizon League to rank in the "Top 10" in all three categories.
Mike Green ranks seventh in the Horizon League in scoring (14.5). He's scored 1,574 points during his collegiate career (641 at Towson and 933 at Butler).
Mike Green leads the Horizon League in assists (5.13) and ranks second in assist/turnover ratio (1.83). He's tied for fourth in defensive rebounds (5.17), ranks sixth in steals (1.37), is tied for eighth in rebounding (6.4) and stands 10th in free throw shooting (.758). Green tops the league in free throws made (157).
Mike Green has moved into eighth place on Butler's all-time list for free throws made (353). He's ten shy of Jermaine Guice, 1990-94, in seventh place.
Mike Green has started 66 consecutive games for the Bulldogs, every game of his Butler career.
Pete Campbell has moved into ninth place on Butler's all-time list for 3-point field goals (166). He's eight three-pointers shy of Jermaine Guice, 1990-94, in eighth place and nine away from assistant coach Matthew Graves, 1993-98, in seventh place.
Pete Campbell ranks seventh in the Horizon League in three-point field goal percentage (.428). He's hit at least one three-pointer in 30 consecutive games, dating back to last season.
Matt Howard leads the Horizon League in field goal percentage (.606). He's second in offensive rebounds (2.47), third in blocked shots (1.17), ninth in free throw shooting (.784), 13th in rebounding (5.6) and 14th in scoring (12.6).
Matt Howard currently owns the second-highest single season scoring total (378 pts) ever by a Butler freshman. The all-time Butler freshman record of 476 points was set by Tony Warren in 1979-80.
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.
The Bulldogs, who hit nine 3-point field goals against Wright State and 12 against Detroit, are 21-0 when hitting eight or more 3-pointers in a game.