Bulldogs Face Florida State In The Wooden Tradition
HOLIDAY TRADITION: Butler will end a six-day layoff and make its shortest road trip of the season when it faces Florida State in the Wooden Tradition on Saturday, Dec. 15. The Bulldogs will make the five-mile trek to Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis for the 6 p.m. (ET) contest, which will be televised on HDNet and locally on WNDY-TV. The Butler-Florida State game will be the second contest of the Wooden Tradition doubleheader, following the 3:30 p.m., game between Purdue and Louisville. Butler will be competing in the Wooden Tradition for the second consecutive year and for the second time overall. Last December, the Bulldogs defeated Purdue, 68-65, in the annual event named in honor of Martinsville, Ind., native, Purdue All-American and legendary former UCLA coach John R. Wooden. Butler, coming off a week of final exams, will be trying to bounce back from its first loss of the season, a 43-42 setback at Wright State. Florida State brings a six-game winning streak and a 9-2 overall record to its first appearance in the Wooden Tradition.
Butler has not lost back-to-back games in the past 61 contests.
POLL WATCH: The Bulldogs slipped to No. 18 in the Associated Press men's basketball poll and to No. 19 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, following last weekend's one-point loss at Wright State. Butler entered the Wright State contest with a No. 13 national ranking in both major polls. The Bulldogs have been ranked in the A.P. poll for five straight weeks and in both polls for four consecutive weeks. Last year's Butler squad is the only team in Horizon League history to be ranked in the "Top 25" for more than five weeks.
Butler was ranked in the "Top 25" for a school- and league-record 16 consecutive weeks last a year ago.
ADDITIONAL POLLING: The Bulldogs are ranked third in both The CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 and the ESPN.com Mid-Major Top 10. Butler is ranked No. 18 in the CollegeHoops.net Top 50.
SPLIT DECISION: The Bulldogs opened Horizon League play on the road with mixed results. Butler used a 9-4 run in the final 2:46 to capture a 53-46 decision at Detroit. Senior Julian Betko gave the Bulldogs the lead for good, 45-42, with a three-point field goal, and senior Mike Green scored the final four points of the contest to seal Butler's eighth win. Butler found itself in another low-scoring contest at Wright State two nights later. Both teams managed just 15 points in the second half, and Wright State survived a game-winning shot attempt by the Bulldogs in the closing seconds to claim a hard-fought, 43-42 victory. The loss ended Butler's season-opening, eight-game winning streak.
Butler's eight-game winning streak tied for 12th-longest in school history.
ROLE REVERSAL: Senior Julian Betko, who has brought savvy, defense and leadership to the Butler lineup, stepped up his offensive production on the Bulldogs' two-game, Horizon League-opening road trip. The 6-6 guard matched his previous season-high with eight points at Detroit, including a key three-point field goal late in the game. Two nights later, he led all scorers with a season-high 14 points at Wright State. He nailed a career-high four three-point field goals at Wright State, and he grabbed a career-high six rebounds. His 14-point performance was the second-highest of his Butler career, trailing only his 15-point performance against Tennessee in the 2006 NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals.
SOLID START: Freshman Matt Howard was given his first collegiate start at Detroit, and he responded with a career-best performance. The 6-8 forward, who was playing in place of injured forward Pete Campbell, finished with a team-high 20 points, a game-high 12 rebounds and a career-high three blocked shots. The 12 rebounds matched his career-high and helped Butler to a 30-21 advantage on the boards. He hit eight of 13 shots from the floor and four of five from the free throw line against the Titans. At Wright State, Howard managed just five points, but he led all players with eight rebounds and matched his career-high with three blocked shots.
Matt Howard has two double-doubles in his first nine collegiate games.
BASKETBALL SCROOGE: The Bulldogs have held three straight opponents to 46 points or less. In fact, Butler has yet to give up more than 48 points in any game played in the contiguous 48 states this season! The Bulldogs have held an opponent under 20 points in a half six times this season. Butler leads the Horizon League and ranks sixth in the NCAA Division I in team scoring defense (54.3).
Butler has held six opponents to their lowest point total of the season.
HANDS ON: The Bulldogs are ranked second in the NCAA Division I in fewest turnovers per game (10.1). A year ago, Butler ended the season as the Division I national leader in fewest turnovers per game (9.5).
LAND OF THE THREE: Butler hit a season-low three three-point field goals at Detroit, before cashing seven long-range shots at Wright State. Prior to the two-game road trip, Butler had not hit fewer than eight three-pointers in a game. The Bulldogs rank fourth in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals with an average of 10.7 per game.
•The Bulldogs have posted wins in their last three visits to Conseco Fieldhouse, including a championship in the Midwest Regional of the NIT Season Tip-Off last year. Overall, Butler is 5-2 in Conseco Fieldhouse.
•Butler is leading the Horizon League in scoring margin (+12.4), turnover margin (+4.22), fewest turnovers (10.1), assist/turnover ratio (1.34) and three-point field goals (10.67).
•Senior forward Pete Campbell ranks eighth in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals per game (4.0) and 15th in three-point field goal percentage (.500). Guard A. J. Graves is 15th in the nation in three-pointers per game (3.7). Campbell ranks first and Graves second in the Horizon League in three-point field goals per game.
•Pete Campbell, Butler's second-leading scorer, sat out both games of the Bulldogs' recent road trip to Detroit and Wright State with a sprained knee. No time line has been set for his return.
•A. J. Graves is second on Butler's all-time list for three-point field goals with 241, 73 behind all-time leader and former teammate Bruce Horan (2002-06).
•A. J. Graves stands 10th on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,483 career points. He's two points shy of Jon Neuhouser, 1994-98, in ninth place.
•A. J. Graves had a streak of 15 consecutive double-figures scoring performances snapped at Detroit. He has scored in double-figures in 82 of 105 career games.
•Butler guards A. J. Graves and Mike Green both were held below 10 points at Detroit. At least one of the two had scored in double-figures in each of their previous 41 starts together. Both also scored fewer than 10 points at Wright State.
•Mike Green has scored 1,263 points during his collegiate career (641 at Towson and 622 at Butler).
•Guard Mike Green stands second in the Horizon League in assists (5.00). He had seven assists on Butler's recent road trip.
•Freshman Matt Howard ranks third in the Horizon League in field goal percentage (.597). He's connected on 23 of his last 36 field goal attempts. Howard also ranks 14th in the league in free throw shooting (.771).
•Matt Howard had a career-high eight offensive rebounds at Detroit and then added three offensive rebounds at Wright State. Howard ranks third in the Horizon League in offensive rebounds (2.78).
•Sophomore Willie Veasley, who sat out Butler's first four games because of a knee injury, has played in Butler's last five contests. He played a season-high 21 minutes at Wright State.
•Senior Drew Streicher played a career-high 37 minutes at Wright State.