Butler Faces Ambitious Men's Basketball Schedule

Butler Faces Ambitious Men's Basketball Schedule

Games against teams from the Big 10 and the ACC, a trip to the Great Alaska Shootout and at least two national television appearances highlight the 2007-08 Butler University men's basketball schedule. The Bulldogs will face an ambitious slate that includes games against NCAA runner-up Ohio State, Florida State, Michigan and Southern Illinois.

Butler's 2007-08 schedule features 13 home contests, including a visit from NCAA finalist Ohio State, coached by former Butler coach/player Thad Matta, on Dec. 1, plus a pair of exhibition contests in Hinkle Fieldhouse against foes from Indiana. The Bulldogs will play three games in Anchorage, Alaska at the Great Alaska Shootout, Nov. 21-24, host a game in the 2008 BracketBuster Saturday series and face a 16-game Horizon League slate. Butler's schedule includes five teams in the "Top 50" in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and another five in the "Top 100".

"We've tried to create the best schedule possible for our team to prepare us for the next challenge," said first-year head coach Brad Stevens. "Our focus always remains on the next challenge, and I can't imagine a schedule that would better prepare us for that task."

The Bulldogs, coming off a school-record 29-7 season, a championship in the 2006 NIT Season Tip-Off and a trip to the Sweet 16 of the 2007 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, are scheduled for a pair of national television appearances on ESPN2. Butler's game against Big 10 foe Michigan in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout is slated for the national network, as is the Bulldogs' Horizon League contest at Valparaiso. The Great Alaska Shootout championship also will be telecast on ESPN2.

Butler will open the 2007-08 campaign with back-to-back exhibition games. The Bulldogs will host St. Joseph's (Ind.) on Tuesday, Oct. 30, and Marian on Saturday, Nov. 3, before starting the regular season with three consecutive games against Indiana foes. Butler will visit state rival Ball State on Friday, Nov. 9, before hosting Indiana State (Nov. 14). The three-game Indiana stretch will conclude with a game at Evansville on Saturday, Nov. 17.

The trip to Alaska will be Butler's second in six years. The Bulldogs won the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2001. This year's Great Alaska Shootout field includes Gonzaga, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, Western Kentucky, Eastern Washington and Alaska-Anchorage, in addition to Michigan and Butler. Four of the eight teams competed in last year's NCAA Tournament.

Other highlights of Butler's 2007-08 non-league schedule include a game against ACC foe Florida State in the Wooden Tradition on Dec. 15, a visit from Missouri Valley Conference foe Bradley on Dec. 19 and a re-match with NCAA Sweet 16 participant Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill., on Dec. 28. The Bulldogs defeated Purdue in last year's Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Butler and Southern Illinois met in a nationally-televised game in last year's BracketBuster Saturday series, and the Salukis captured a 68-64 decision before a capacity crowd at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The Bulldogs will begin Horizon League play in early December with a weekend trip to Detroit and Wright State, Dec. 6 & 8. Butler's first home game in Horizon League play will be against new league member Valparaiso on Saturday, Jan. 5. The Horizon League Championship is slated for March 4, 7-11.