CIO… the Atlantic 10 Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 6th, 2012

Joe Dzuback is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10. You can also find his musings online at Villanova by the Numbers or on Twitter @vtbnblog.

Looking Back

Rick Majerus, 1948-2012 – Former Saint Louis Billikens head coach Rick Majerus succumbed to his chronic heart condition Saturday in California while undergoing extended treatment. Deteriorating health forced the 25-year veteran to take his first medical leave in 2003-04 when he coached the Utah program. He resigned during the 2004 season. After a three-year hiatus that included a stint behind the microphones at ESPN, the coach returned to the bench at Saint Louis University to begin a rebuilding process that earned the Billikens their first NCAA bid since 2000.

In His Twilight, Rick Majerus Led SLU To A Tournament Upset Over Memphis. (AP)

“The entire Atlantic 10 family is grieving tonight over the loss of coach Majerus. His undeniable knowledge and love of the game was known to all, and he was an excellent teacher committed to the student-athlete. This passion made his impact on A-10 basketball over the past five years immeasurable,” said Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “He will be missed at Saint Louis, within the A-10 and nationally; our prayers and condolences are with coach Majerus’ family and the Saint Louis University community.” said Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioner Bernadette McGlade in a press release late Saturday night.

Though he had not been on campus since the end of the 2011-12 season, the first public notice was an announcement in July that he was in California seeking treatment for his heart. St. Louis issued a Friday afternoon announcement in late August that he would take a medical leave for the 2012-13 season, followed by another Friday afternoon press release nine weeks later that heart problems would preclude his return to the Billikens bench at all. Over the course of a head coaching career at four schools (Marquette, Ball State, Utah and Saint Louis) that dates back to 1983-84 (Marquette), the coach developed a resume that included a 517-216 lifetime record, only one sub-.500 season, 15 20-win seasons, 19 postseason bids (12 NCAA, 6 NIT, 1 CBI) and a Final Four appearance with the Utah Utes in 1998. Those mentored by Majerus over the course of his career include consensus All-Americans Andre Miller (Utah) and Keith Van Horn (Utah), along with Boston Celtic Coach Doc Rivers (Marquette).

Versus Other Conferences – Nearly 60% of the A-10’s non-conference games are in the books and the conference has posted a very power conference-like winning percentage of (about) 63%. The conference’s sluggish start, often recorded on neutral courts in invitational tournaments, appears to be offset by a combination of home court wins and strategic road wins. Current for games through Wednesday December 5, the table below shows how the conference did head-to-head with the other Division I conferences. The summary at the bottom breaks out the A-10’s record versus the six power conferences, versus other non-power conferences with similar profiles (i.e., the Missouri Valley Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the West Coast Conference, Conference USA and the Colonial Athletic Association) and the other 20 Division I conferences (and independents):

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Rushed Reactions, Maui Style: Butler 72, Marquette 71

Posted by rtmsf on November 19th, 2012

rushedreactions

Some quick thoughts from today’s Maui Invitational quarterfinal game between Marquette and Butler

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Rotnei Clarke Redeems Himself With a Buzzer-Beater for the Win. We were prepared to write about how much of a chucker Butler’s transfer senior can be with the basketball, but his off-balance, one-footed, double-covered leaner from well beyond the three-point arc as time expired won the game for his team. Those are the kinds of shots chuckers make simply because they’re so comfortable shooting the ball… from anywhere. Clarke finished with seven makes versus 14 misses on the afternoon for a 20-point outing, but his last trio of points were the difference for the Bulldogs, and the reason that they will advance to play in the semifinals tomorrow.
  2. Marquette’s Sustainability. In a game where it felt that Marquette was always just a play or two from putting away always-scrappy Butler, it was a missed free throw by Junior Coudagan followed by a prayer of a leaning three from Rotnei Clarke that let the game get away from the Golden Eagles. But take nothing away from Butler, as the Bulldogs hit 57% in the second half and committed zero turnovers in keeping the game close — Butler’s greatest deficit was twice at six points, but Marquette in both cases gave up an easy layup and was unable to sustain enough momentum to put the Bulldogs away.
  3. Khyle Marshall Breaking Out? His teammate Clarke will get all of the press for today’s win, but junior wing Khyle Marshall spent most of this afternoon looking like the best player on the floor. He found his spots all over the paint, going for 24/9 in an efficient 11-15 shooting performance. In the past Marshall has struggled with inconsistency (case in point: his seven-point game against Elon last week), but if Butler expects to ride Clarke’s shooting back to the NCAA Tournament, they will absolutely need Marshall’s abilities on the wing to come to fruition.

Star of the Game. Rotnei Clarke, Butler. Clarke’s 20/6 line on 7-of-21 shooting was not something to write home about, but um, this shot certainly was…

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2012-13 RTC Conference Primers: Atlantic 10 Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 8th, 2012

Joe Dzuback of Villanova by the Numbers is the RTC correspondent for the A-10 Conference. You can follow him on Twitter at @vbtnblog

Top Storylines

  • The Best Basketball (Only) Conference in the NCAA? You Bet– With the departure of Temple (to the Big East) and Charlotte (to CUSA), A-10 fans knew the conference would not “make due” with a 12-team configuration. The question was which candidates would match best with the conference profile and mission and not in the chase for football money? The A-10 could afford to focus on candidates with high quality basketball programs, thereby offering regional rivalries to the Midwestern and Washington D.C. metro area members. Virginia Commonwealth and Butler were the logical choices as both have had recent Final Four appearances, are high quality programs, and boast two of the hottest young coaching names in Division I. Both schools accepted and the existing circumstances of member departures and arrivals means that the A-10, with 16 members and an 18-game conference slate, will have a superconference look and feel this season.

    Veteran St. Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli Has Garnered Plenty Of Media Attention Over The Years. Now Thanks To A New TV Deal, The Entire Atlantic-10 is Going to Get a Dose Of Camera Time (AP)

  • The New TV Deal – The conference announced an eight-year partnership with ESPN, the CBS Sports Network and the NBC Sports Network, worth an estimated $40 million dollars ($5 million per year) to run from 2013-14 through 2021-22. The three media outlets will televise 64 regular season men’s games (CBS and NBC Sports Network will televise 25 apiece and the ESPN outlets will televise 14). These three outlets will divvy the responsibilities for the conference tournament with NBC televising the men’s (and women’s) quarterfinals, CBS televising the men’s (and women’s) semifinal games, and ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU televising the men’s championship game. Though financial details were not disclosed, the conference’s 14 members are expected to collect about $400,000 apiece each season.
  • Brooklyn, Here We Come – A quiet affirmation that the move to lock up the Barclays Center in Brooklyn came with Hurricane Sandy. The superstorm swamped Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the Boardwalk Hall, previous site of the conference’s championship tournament. The Barclays Center has garnered positive reviews for its architecture, facilities and amenities. The brand-new facility will work out the kinks with a number of invitational tournaments (Barclays Center Classic, Coaches vs. Cancer, Legends Classic, Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival and Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational) and be ready to host the conference tournament next March.

Reader’s Take I


Predicted Order of Finish

Signs that the A-10 is in for a wild ride this season are everywhere. CBS Sports’ five basketball experts (Jeff Goodman, Doug Gottlieb, Gary Parrish, Matt Norlander and Jeff Borzello) tabbed four different schools (Butler, Massachusetts, Saint Louis and Virginia Commonwealth) to take the regular season crown. The A-10 coaches named a fifth school – Saint Joseph’s – at the conference’s Media Day earlier this month. Note that nobody in that group is named Temple or Xavier – the two schools which have passed the regular season crown back-and-forth for the last five seasons.

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ATB: Friday Night Lights With Jack Cooley, Harvard, and Plenty of Conference Tourney Action…

Posted by rtmsf on March 3rd, 2012

Tonight’s Lede. Friday night is usually reserved for the likes of the Ivy League and the MAAC, but that’s not the case during Championship Fortnight. With eight mid-major conference tournaments in action and 22 more teams eliminated from national title contention tonight, there were plenty of reasons to stay interested. Furthermore, we were treated with some compelling Ivy action as well as another look at one of the surprise teams of not only the Big East but also the entire country this year. Let’s jump into it…

Your Watercooler Moment. Cooley Than You.

Jack Cooley Is One of the Big East's Biggest Surprises This Year (US Presswire)

Just four days after Jack Cooley’s worst game of the year — a two-point, zero-rebound outing at Georgetown — the junior center returned to the lineup with a vengeance tonight, going for a 27/17 masterpiece on 10-15 shooting from the field to lock his team into a double-bye at next week’s Big East Tournament. The fact that we just wrote the previous sentence — that Notre Dame finished in the top four of the Big East standings and received a double-bye — is nothing less than phenomenal and a testament to the vast improvement of Cooley and several of his teammates this season. After losing its top three players to graduation (Ben Hansbrough, Carleton Scott) and injury (Tim Abromaitis), nobody expected the youthful Irish to do much of anything this year. Instead, Mike Brey’s team is now locked into the #3 seed in next week’s conference tournament and owns the only victory of the season over the Syracuse juggernaut. We’re not completely sold on the Irish making a deep run into March Madness, but the fact of the matter is that Mike Brey is one of the most underrated coaches in the country given that he’s pushed his team to six straight 20-win seasons and will make the NCAAs for the fifth time in six seasons.

Tonight’s Quick Hits

  • Harvard Keeps Hope Alive. It’s seemed a foregone conclusion for months that Harvard would win the Ivy League’s automatic bid this season and earn its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in over six decades. After last weekend’s home loss to Penn, however, the Crimson and Quakers were locked in a tie with two defeats each in the loss column. The Ivy doesn’t do artificial tiebreakers — like last year’s Harvard-Princeton classic, they decide their ties on the court. With alumnus Jeremy Lin watching from the stands in Morningside Heights tonight, Harvard barely survived Columbia in a nail-biting game that went to overtime. Penn kept the pace with an easier win over Brown, but HU will travel next to Cornell while the Quakers still have a home game against Yale before its rivalry game at Princeton on Tuesday. With one more win Saturday, the Crimson are at least guaranteed a berth in the Ivy playoff game again, but they probably do not want to tempt the basketball gods by losing that one.
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RTC Conference Primers: #13 – Horizon League

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 24th, 2011

Jimmy Lemke of PantherU.com is the RTC correspondent for the Horizon League. You can find his daily ramblings @PantherU or @JimmyLeMKE on Twitter.

Reader’s Take I

Last season, the Horizon League put four teams in the postseason — can it do it again?


Top Storylines

  • Eli Holman’s Leave of Absence: The Detroit big man is easily the best returning post player in the H-League, but whether or not he will return is a big question. Holman was placed on “indefinite leave” from the team at the end of September to handle some legal issues drawn from an incident at a fraternity house earlier in the month. Big Ten fans will remember Holman as the player who left Indiana after getting into a confrontation with then new coach Tom Crean.  Without Holman, the Titans have a big hole in the post and would have to rely more heavily on Nick Minnerath and LeMarcus Lowe to pick up the pieces of a broken inside game.  They still have some of the best talent in the league, but without that dominant force, who knows what they’ll get.
  • Kaylon Williams In Trouble:  Milwaukee got some bad news as well, with starting point guard Kaylon Williams getting pulled over in Iowa and blowing a .228 BAC.  What makes matters worse for Williams is that he fled the scene on foot, although he was picked up shortly afterward.  No official word has come down from the university on punishment besides a short statement from head coach Rob Jeter. “We are aware of the situation involving Kaylon Williams.  We are disappointed and will take appropriate action as we gather more information and the legal process runs its course.”  This is Williams’ first offense and it is unclear how much, if any, time he will miss.  Last season, Milwaukee had difficulty with Williams off the floor, but prepared for further uncertainty by recruiting junior college player Paris Gulley and high school point guard Shaquille Boga.

It Says Here That Matt Howard Was the Difference Maker at Butler

  • Butler’s Back Again: Obviously, the college basketball world is familiar with the recent NCAA Tournament dominance of Butler.  “Familiar” might not be the word; “obsessed” may be closer.  In any case, Butler came a 50-footer from the title in 2010 when no one thought they would make it. They suffered a poor shooting night in 2011 to keep the Bulldogs from that elusive title when no one thought they’d be back.  Is it so crazy to say that they could make another run to the Final Four?  The answer is yes.  While losing Gordon Hayward and some key players from the previous year’s team didn’t spell the end for them in 2010-11, 2011-12 will be a different story.  Forget Shelvin Mack, Hayward, and even Brad Stevens.  To me, the one person that deserves the most credit for both of these runs is Matt Howard.  We all knew from day one that he was a special player, and what lack of NBA athleticism (he’s still athletic) he had was made up big time in his skill, determination, and intelligence. To me, he’s the best leader-by-example in basketball that I have ever seen, and his graduation means someone else at Butler will have to try and pick up that torch.  You can replace Shelvin Mack’s scoring and Zach Hahn’s knack for the timely three-pointer, but you can’t replace Matt Howard’s… Matt Howard.
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RTC Summer Updates: Horizon League

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 17th, 2011

With the completion of the NBA Draft and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. Our latest update comes courtesy of our Horizon League correspondent, Jimmy Lemke.

Reader’s Take

Summer Storylines

  • End of an Era - Homer Drew may have done his best work in the Mid-Continent Conference (now Summit League), but that doesn’t bar the Horizon League community from recognizing the tremendous stature of the now-retired Valparaiso coach. He’s done it before – briefly retiring earlier in the decade to pave the way for son Scott Drew and promptly retaking the reins after Scott took the very difficult job at Baylor – but this time you could tell it was final. His ability to recruit overseas is second to none, and we will always remember the feel-good story of his1998 team. Speaking of that year, the coach to now replace him? None other than his other son, all-time Crusader great Bryce Drew.
  • Dickie V. Rules In Motor City - The Detroit Titans made a big splash this summer by deciding to name their court for former Titans coach and renowned broadcaster, Dick Vitale. While he spent only four years as head of the Titans before taking over as coach of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, Dickie V’s exploits on behalf of college basketball are immeasurable. Dick Vitale IS college basketball, regardless of how you feel about him. As a longtime follower of the Milwaukee program, I see the court naming as a disappointment for Perry Watson, who coached the Titans for a considerably longer stretch and was very successful in that time, but there’s no doubting the decision from the future point of view. This season, St. John’s will play at Detroit on ESPN following a ceremony celebrating the honor, and I’d be willing to bet the Titans are banking on any Dick Vitale anniversaries falling on Detroit’s home schedule with a visit from ESPN.
  • Big Names DepartBrandon Wood took a highly-publicized transfer to Michigan State and will be able to play immediately because he finished his degree at Valparaiso where his graduate program isn’t offered. Shelvin Mack declared for the draft and stayed put, going early in the second round to the Washington Wizards. But the biggest move in the conference is from the graduating senior class. Nearly every big team lost multiple big time competitors. Butler, of course, lost Mack, but they also lost Zach Hahn, Shawn Vanzant and, most importantly, Matt Howard. Milwaukee loses Anthony Hill and streaky-but-dangerous shooter Tone Boyle. Wright State, already on the downturn, lost Cooper Land, Troy Tabler, Vaughn Duggins and N’Gai Evans. Cleveland State waved a heartfelt goodbye to perhaps the most talented of them all, Norris Cole, now with the Miami Heat. Put simply, eight of the ten 2010-11 all-Horizon League team members have exited the conference, with only two remaining: Ray McCallum, Jr. and Eli Holman, both of Detroit.

Brad Stevens Led The Bulldogs To Another Title Game Appearance, But He Faces Life Without Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack in the 2011-12 Season.

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Morning Five: Fourth of July Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 4th, 2011

  1. Since it is “Independence Day” (debatable depending on the depth of your knowledge of US history), we are going to start of with the US National team specifically the Under-19 team competing in Latvia. The team is off to a 3-0 start after its 82-66 win over China on Saturday. The team was led by two players that you would expect to be effective–Jeremy Lamb and Tim Hardaway Jr.–as well two players–Doug McDermott and Khyle Marshall–that the casual college fan may be less familiar with. The US was the only team to make it through round-robin play undefeated, but narrowly survived an upset bid by Serbia earlier this week. Their next game, which will take place on Tuesday, should be significantly tougher as they will be going up against Jonas Valanciunas, the 5th overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and a Lithuanian team that knocked them off in pre-tournament play.
  2. When Mike Anderson left Missouri to take over at Arkansas many expected Phil Pressey to follow Anderson, whom he had known his entire life (Pressey’s father was Anderson’s roommate in college) to Little Rock. So when Pressey decided to stay in Columbia it surprised many observers and his reasons for staying remained a secret until last week. Pressey’s reason to staying at Missouri turn out to be pretty much what you would expect from a player in his position: not wanting to sit out a year, wanting to stay with his current teammates (including his brother Matt), and a connection with new coach Frank Haith. If the Tigers end up having a solid year in Haith’s inaugural season in Columbia, Pressey’s decision to stay will probably be a major factor.
  3. The details of Lon Kruger‘s new contract with Oklahoma were released late last week and while most of the public will obsess over all the financial details (NCAA Tournament, personal services, buyouts, etc), but the most interesting part of the contract for us is the clause that states that Kruger must respond ”accurately and fully within a reasonable time to any request or inquiry relating to the performance of his duties during his University employment.” As the article notes this was not included in the contract of recently fired coach Jeff Capel. We aren’t sure if this was in response to something that Capel did or did not do (or just college coaches in general), but it is an interesting clause although we are not sure what the point of it is other than to say it explicitly. In our minds, every contract for someone coaching a NCAA sport should have this as an expected clause whether or not it explicitly stated.
  4. The summer recruiting trail is heating up and the class of 2012 has a new #1 player, Shabazz Muhammad, at least according to Rivals. As you would expect Muhammad will have the attention of every major program in the country, but you should not count out  UNLV, which is in Muhammad’s backyard. On top of the proximity and appeal of staying close to home, UNLV also has new coach Dave Rice, the brother of Muhammad’s high school coach Grant Rice, which could help sway Muhammad’s decision.
  5. NC State legend Lorenzo Charles was buried on Saturday in a service that included many of his former teammates and members of the current athletic department. As we mentioned in our initial post on his death Charles will forever be remembered for his dunk at the end of the 1983 NCAA Championship game, but to remember him solely for that would be a disservice to his excellent career at NC State where he averaged 18 PPG and 7.3 RPG in his final two seasons as he made the All-ACC First Team both times during an era where the ACC was turning out several lottery picks every season. As his niece Ericka stated during the ceremony, “I can’t believe he is gone.” Neither can we.
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Morning Five: 06.08.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on June 8th, 2011

  1. Bob Knight described the rule that a bunch of Ohio State football players broke when they sold some memorabilia for cash and tattoos as “idiotic” at a speaking engagement on Monday night. Listen, there’s no denying the man his rightful place on the Mt. Rushmore of college basketball coaches, but there are a few things about his bemoaning that rule that leave us unconvinced of his stance on it: 1) Coach Knight is an OSU alum; 2) he doesn’t strike us as the type of guy who prefers his players walking around with tattoos on their skin or cold rolls of cash in their pockets; 3) would he feel the same if a couple of John Calipari’s players did the same thing? Or would he preach about how players should be happy with the compensation that comes in the form of the opportunity to receive a college education, and therefore should stay away from places like pawn shops and tattoo parlors?
  2. In the wake of Tennessee AD Mark Hamilton’s firing on Tuesday, Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press wrote an interesting piece that got us wondering about punishment, blame, and where the truth lies within those. Hamilton departs UT with the school’s two biggest men’s sports in trouble and we assume he’d been packing up his own office for months in anticipation of getting the ziggy, but we always wonder how much policing the ADs are really able to do when they hire some of these guys. And we agree with Wiedmer’s mention of how Hamilton’s ouster a mere three days before UT stands tall before the man (“the man” being the NCAA Committee on Infractions) is an obvious move to gain favor with the COI.
  3. We’ve been having an enjoyable exchange over Twitter with Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy about his article on Tuesday in which he ranked the best college hoops coaching jobs out there. We did our own writeup on the same topic about a month ago, and it’s generated a nice discussion, which is…well, sort of the point of all this. We assume you’re already following both RTC and DeCourcy on Twitter, so by all means, let us know what you think of both lists, even if you vehemently disagree. We’re all big boys, so we can take the bad with the good. And if you comment via tweet or the comments section, let’s also hear your defense for your position.
  4. Thomas Emma played at Duke from 1980-83 and captained the Blue Devils as a starter at guard in his final year there. Known for his long-range ability on the court and his sense of humor off of it, he also shot over 84% from the free throw line during his time there, placing him among the school’s best in that department. After graduating, he earned a master’s degree from Columbia, and was president of a company called Power Performance that helps train young athletes. On Monday morning, facing undisclosed health issues and reportedly suffering from increasing depression because of them, Mr. Emma leapt from the 12th floor of the New York Athletic Club and plunged to his death onto a second-floor landing of the Essex Hotel next door. We can’t imagine the agony his family is going through right now, but our thoughts and best wishes are with them.
  5. Khyle Marshall impressed a lot of people with his play last season in helping Butler get back to the national championship game, and that evidently includes the decision-makers at USA Basketball. Marshall, a rising sophomore who was the Bulldogs’ leading bench scorer and rebounder despite adding only 5.8 PPG and 3.8 RPG last year, has been invited to try out for the American team that will defend its 2009 title at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Latvia, which starts at the end of this month. He can ask a couple of his fellow Brad Stevens disciples for advice on this, if he likes; both Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack were on that 2009 team that took gold in New Zealand.

 

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RTC Class Schedule 2009-10: Butler Bulldogs

Posted by zhayes9 on October 13th, 2009

seasonpreview

This is my last installation of the RTC Class Schedule series. Here are the first nine:

The nightmare for mid-major haters out there has been realized: Butler will be a top ten- yes, top ten- team for the next two full seasons. Their starting backcourt of Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored are both sophomores. One of the best frontcourts in the nation- post presence Matt Howard and inside-outside stud Gordon Hayward- is a junior and sophomore, respectively, with neither likely to enter the NBA Draft before four years at Butler. They lose two seniors who receive regular minutes after this season with swingman Willie Veasley (8.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG) and forward Avery Jukes (3.2 PPG) departing, but neither should pose a crippling loss. Sharpshooter Zach Hahn (41% 3pt) is just a junior and backup guard Shawn Vanzant is a junior, as well. Coach Brad Stevens has lured the #32 center in the nation Andrew Smith into the fray for this year and the #22 small forward in the country Khyle Marshall for 2010. The Bulldogs are loaded for the foreseeable future and should run roughshod over the respectable Horizon League, possibly beginning a historical conference run for the next two campaigns beginning with a visit from rival Valparaiso on December 5.

Butler has a realistic shot at a top-three seed in the NCAA tournament and backed up their high standing with a challenging non-conference slate coupled with a Horizon League schedule that has Hinkle Fieldhouse inhibitors wondering if undefeated is possible within the conference. Let’s dig deeper into the path Butler must take in hopes of being the first mid-major to reach the Final Four since George Mason in 2006.

7471013_Butler-v-UIC[1]

Non-Conference Schedule Rank: 8.5. The Bulldogs will be challenged in mid-November when they make a trip to fringe-NCAA contender Northwestern in Evanston. The Wildcats return star forward Kevin Coble and his perimeter shooting along with senior point guard Michael Thompson. They have hopes of making the field of 65 for the first time in school history. Butler enters the most difficult preseason tournament this season in Anaheim with a tremendous first round game against Big Ten contender Minnesota (returns nearly everyone including freshman Royce White entering) and a possible second round contest against UCLA. Potential top-ten team West Virginia looms in a possible championship game along with Texas A&M and Clemson. Butler also welcomes a bolstered Ohio State team to Hinkle followed by a visit a week later from Xavier and new coach Chris Mack. Butler also faces Georgetown- featuring Chris Wright, Austin Freeman and Greg Monroe- to headline the Jimmy V Classic in NYC and travels to rebuilding UAB. Even with the high standards at Butler, that’s a hell of a non-conference schedule for a mid-major.

Cupcake City: The frosting isn’t too heavy for Butler. Stevens does have a return game from Davidson, who obviously won’t be nearly as lethal without Stephen Curry. Evansville has some decent pieces- and Butler must travel there- but the Aces shouldn’t challenge Butler too long. A short trip to Ball State also looms as less-than-imposing. That said, those 300+ RPI teams that most teams stack at least a few times on their non-conference slate is lacking from Butler’s schedule. Once again, give Brad Stevens tremendous credit.

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