What to Expect: Butler

  • 11/26/2011 12:21 pm in

Indiana looks for its second consecutive 6-0 start on Sunday night when Butler visits Assembly Hall for the first meeting between the two programs since 2006.

Here’s a look at what to expect from the Bulldogs, who are 3-2 with losses to Evansville and Louisville:

Fresh off two consecutive appearances in the national championship game, it appears to be a rebuilding year at Butler. Brad Stevens’ club has already suffered its worse home loss since 1992 and a narrow overtime defeat at the Ford Center in Evansville.

Last season many wondered if the program could rebound from the early departure of Gordon Hayward to the NBA Draft. Butler responded with another improbable run to the title game. This season the losses of Shelvin Mack to the NBA and Matt Howard to graduation will be more difficult to overcome.


Thanks to the Hoosier Invitational and games at Evansville, both teams share four common opponents through five games:

None of these scores will matter once tip-off arrives on Sunday night, but Indiana dominated all four games while Butler fell at Evansville and trailed to Savannah State and Gardner-Webb at halftime.


Three of Butler’s top six scorers from last season return including junior center Andrew Smith, who leads the team in both scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg). Point guard Ronald Nored, a valuable contributor the past two seasons, is back for his senior season and while he’s not much of an offensive threat, he contributes elsewhere. Nored has 28 assists and just 11 turnovers through Butler’s first five games and 15 steals. Sophomore Khyle Marshall, a 6-foot-6 forward that grabbed nine rebounds in Butler’s Final Four win over VCU, is shooting 66.7 percent and averaging close to nine points.

Chrishawn Hopkins, who was rarely used as a freshman is now second on the team in scoring, but has work to do from an efficiency standpoint. Nearly half of Hopkins field goal attempts have been 3-pointers, but he’s hitting just 29.6 percent. Chase Stigall, a junior guard, has also taken on a larger role offensively, but like Hopkins, has struggled from the perimeter (32.3 percent on 3’s).


With five of 31 games played, the KenPom.com figures begin to become more relevant, but Indiana’s numbers are still inflated due to a weak schedule (No. 326 nationally). The Hoosiers have been significantly better offensively scoring 1.23 points per possession compared to 0.96 for Butler.

Defensively, Indiana is allowing just 0.86 points per possession while Butler allows 0.94. Indiana is clearly the superior offensive team, but Butler will put up more resistance than its previous five opponents and attempt to slow the pace. The free throw situation also bears watching as both teams are getting to the line at a frequent rate.


All-time Series: Indiana leads 36-13
Student Enrollment: 4,660
Established: 1855
Notable Sports Alumni: Scott Drew (Baylor men’s basketball coach), Hayward (Utah Jazz forward), Bobby Plump (Indiana basketball Hall of Fame), Thad Matta (Ohio State men’s basketball coach), Dan Johnson (Tampa Bay Rays DH/infielder), Pat Neshek (Minnesota Twins relief pitcher)

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  • Anonymous

    Butler is better than Butler of old but nothing like the last few years. We on the other hand are clearly going in the opposite direction than the last few years. We pull away 8 minutes in and never look back. Win by 18.

    GO IU!!!

  • HoosierSmitty

    I remember when we lost to Butler back in 2006. I was watching the game at my now ex-gf’s dad’s house. 

    I was so pissed. He probably thought I was a lunatic, but I don’t handle IU defeats that well, typically. I especially hate losing to in-state rivals. Rebuilding or not, you have to show up for these games. Stevens has proven he can coach, so the Hoosiers better be ready for a challenge. 

    I’m curious to see what the crowd is like. Will all the students be back from Thanksgiving break and ready to get loud? Or will it be an under-capacity lackluster crowd still hungover from Black Wednesday and too much turkey?

  • Anonymous

    Here is a quote from Larry Coon (ESPN):
    “But before an agreement can be voted on, the two sides also will need to resolve a litany of what have come to be known as “B-List” issues, including the age limit, the rookie salary scale, player discipline and drug testing. The players presented the league with a list of these unresolved issues, totaling six pages, during a negotiating session earlier this month. Stern was careful to note that these issues still need to be resolved before the league’s Board of Governors can vote on the deal. “We’ll call a board vote in due course, because we want to do that at such time that our understandings are adequately represented on pieces of paper,” he said. ”

  • Anonymous

    PU losing to Coppin State by 10 at the half. Northwestern almost lost to Stony Brook yesterday. Minn struggled with Indiana State and Depaul (ISU might be a bubble team this year though). Michigan State had trouble with Milwaukee. Illinois barely pulled one out against Richmond. Iowa got beat up by Cleighton.

    My point? Even though IU has had a cupcake schedule, over half of the B1G is having trouble with similar caliber teams. 

  • HoosierSmitty

    As much as I would have liked that to be true, ESPN screwed up the score. Purdue was actually leading 38-28 at the half. 

  • Anonymous

    A win is a win is a win, we have devoured the cupcake portion of our schedule in a big way and this should be our most competitive opponent to date (although that is not saying a lot) but……….if this team is where a lot of us think it is and where we think they need to be to have the kind of success that will put them in the big dance or at least on the bubble, we need to win this game convincingly, like by at least 14 or 15, but preferably more and leave no doubt who the better team was.

    For the first time this season we have a game that should serve as somewhat of a barometer of our chances against the next quality opponent (NC St) on our schedule. This game also features the biggest challenge, personal match up wise, that CZ will have faced so far. It will very interesting to see how the rest of the team reacts if CZ is not having the type of game he has had each time out so far. If that is what happens, how we handle the game, should go a long way in telling us how this season will play out cause at times this season that is going to be the case and how we handle it when it happens is going to be a big part of how successful we will be for the season as a whole IMHO.

  • Anonymous

    Regardless, PU barely beat Iona and High Point

  • HoosierSmitty

    Oh yeah, definitely true. 

    I 100% agree with your overall point. Teams all across the country, not just the B1G are struggling to put away teams they should beat. It’s beyond refreshing to see the Hoosiers ready to take care of business!

    If the struggles of other B1G teams indicate anything, it’s that Indiana is much more prepared to start the season than most of the other teams, and as a result looks more like a Top 6 team in the B1G rather than a Bottom 6. 

  • HoosierSmitty

    I know what you mean. IU needs to make a statement against Butler, although ultimately, as long as the team wins, it’s still a success. I think the outlook from a player/coach standpoint is probably much different than a fan’s perspective. They just want the W too, but you have to figure they also feel very good about blowing someone off the court. Plus, regardless of Butler’s “rebuilding” status, this is still the back-to-back national runner up. It’s clearly going to be a confidence builder to put them away. Against tougher opponents like Butler, the guys have to take advantage of the early confidence boosts from these blow out wins.

    When we look back on the season at these early games, they’ll just be early season Ws. But right now, there’s a microscope on every little aspect of the team’s play, most notably from the fans. If Indiana was 5-0 right now, but struggling to finish off these teams, the mindset would be a lot different both in the press and the locker room. As it stands, the Hoosiers need to continue to build this early season momentum. So every “next” game, be it Butler, NC State, Stetson, or Kentucky has to be a success. Success will just start to be defined differently. In my opinion, success at NC State will be defined by staying competitive and putting yourself in a position to win the game. Win or lose, as long as IU doesn’t get blown out, I think you can build positively off a game where you had chances. I think the same can be said for Kentucky. With the game being in Bloomington, you’d expect the crowd and adrenaline alone to help IU stay close in the first half. Then it’s a matter of staying within striking distance and seeing how the team responds to a close contest. 

    As much as I want IU to mop the floor with the Bulldogs, I’m also curious to see how Indiana responds to a game that stays more competitive for a longer duration. I think Butler will be a game like that. I don’t expect Indiana to fully put the game out of reach until down the stretch. I anticipate it will be a game IU controls from the outset, but Stevens keeps Butler close with crafty defensive schemes and a patient offense. It would be a nice test for Indiana before facing NC State and Kentucky. 

    Whew. I’ll take a breath now and stop rambling. Man, I love basketball season. 

  • HoosierSmitty

    That’s what I like to hear. 

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t Snoop Dogg go to High Point?

  • Anonymous

    Although I agree that IU has played well, taken care of business, and played very well, they have had beat their opponents by an average of 21-22ppg at this stage last year compared to about 27 this year.  My point?  I am optimistic, but we did the same thing last year and struggled in the B10.  I will be really excited when we post some W’s against Butler, NC State, Notre Dame and the B10 schedule (Kentucky would be a huge bonus.  I would probably smile for the next 72 hrs).

  • cooper

    Most important game in Crean’s tenure. This game will be important for the next three games well. If IU beats Butler, their confidence should rise and they’ll play better in the next three. Lose and the confidence drops and it looks like IU isn’t ready for real competition.

    I don’t know much about Butler other than they lost their best players. So it seems this is a game IU should win or be close in. 

    What I’ll be looking for:

    1. Defense from the PG position. Can IU stop the penetration against better competition.

    2. Go to scorer: Who becomes the player IU goes to win it needs a bucket? I would think Watford, Zeller, or ? While VO and Sheehey are miles better I don’t think their ready to be counted on game after game.

    3. Rebounding: I don’t worry about offensive rebounding but the defensive rebounding should be better.

    4. Running game: Can IU run against more athletic competition?

    5. Jones/Hulls: Who steps up to become the starter? In my opinion, Jones has been better this year in all facets, not by much but better. Hulls is the more popular player being from Bloomington and white (its true) but Jones has really stepped up this year especially in the TO department. Hulls shooting has been great from 3 at times

  • Anonymous

    Out of respect to the Gaels, Iona has been balling this year. They would probably give IU a run if they played. Not at all sticking up for PUke.


    was sold out last week

  • IUfanPurduePhD


  • Anonymous

    They’re probably still mad IU got Zeller too

  • Anonymous

    I’m with you.  Lord knows Purdue is still Little Brother despite the growing pains IU has had the past several years; but that makes Butler Little Little Brother.  I’m tired of all the ESPN underdog love given their Cinderella Story.  The success surrounding Butler, no offense to Coach Stevens, was a fluke, likely not to repeat itself anytime soon.  What I’m saying is they’re a flash in the pan.  Anyone can play in a completely cupcake conference, dominate, then be geared up for an unlikely (and not consistent) NCAA Tournament Run. 

    And while we’re on the subject of Coach Stevens, all this Crean replacement talk is pure conjecture from a hopeful, deluded, malcontened portion of the fanbase.  I would hope should Coach Crean be given the Heave-Ho the search goes beyond Butler.

    Go Hoosiers!

  • Anonymous

    Seriously?  The love for Hulls is racial in nature?  That’s ridiculous.  Hulls has played with more spirit than Jones (now granted I didn’t get to see the big ESPN 3 U of E game, but still).

  • Anonymous

    I just watched the replay of the “interception” in the IU football game.  Nick Stoner caught the ball, came down with it, was down on the ground, then the Purdue (insert expletive here) ripped the ball out on the ground.  Terrible call.  May have cost IU The Bucket.  

    Anyway, I am really looking forward to the basketball game tomorrow. I think this will be IU’s first test.  I think IU should win by 10-15, but it will be a challenge.  Let’s get those Bulldogs! Go Hoosiers!

  • Kelin Blab

    This is an extremely important game for IU to win:

    + We will see how good the offense is, as Butler defends well
    + The past few years some of the IU Awe and Big Brother Little Brother has swayed away due to Butlers success. Would be good for IU to slap them back into reality tomorrow.
    + If IU should flirt with an NCAA bid, it would bode well winning this game as Butler will more than likely be a tourney team
    + I would play a zone against Butler, they have NO ONE that can score off the bounce and get their own shot…NO ONE.
    + Does talent beat a system…I have had this argument quite often and my answer is yes..Talent will always beat a system…which is why (Wisconsin, Princeton, Northwestern and other system teams will NEVER win a national title) 

  • I definitely think it has a lot more to do with the fact that he’s from Bloomington, a great shooter, and doesn’t turn it over as much as VJ3 does. Not racial at all.

  • Anonymous

    The race card ? Really ? Fans have argued their view on the Hulls versus Jones for playing time thing just about every way that there is but never by making it a racial thing. Totally out of bounds with that one man. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but making it a racial thing has never been how this site rolls. 

  • Anonymous

    I think you over estimate Butler this season.  One team from the Horizon League goes every year and it won’t be Butler.  Most likely it’ll be Cleveland State but it could be someone else. 

    Too many Indiana people over estimate what Butler is capable of doing this year.  If we don’t smoke Butler I’ll be thoroughly disappointed.

    The good news is I highly doubt that we won’t smoke Butler by 15+ this evening.  We are on the upswing and they are on the very severe downswing.  Gardener Webb win by 2 points?  Come on they shouldn’t compete with us.

    Go Hoosiers. 

    I respect everyone on here that has watched Butler the last couple years but this isn’t the NEW Butler this is the OLD Butler the one that we used to smack around and we will do so again this evening.

    Go Hoosiers.

  • Anonymous

    Spread is 9.5, I think the Hoosiers win by at least 18, shoot lots of free throw, and keeps Butler out of the paint.  I also think the speed and overall depth wear the Bulldogs down.

    Lookin’ forward to tomorrow!

  • IUeconAlum

    I hear that. I just put some $$ on the Hoosiers. Too many tools on the IU side. Plus a home game against Butler. Hoosier fans will be wanting IU to kill these guys. I’d put a couple bills down on this game up to 13.5.

  • MillaRed

    Expect a closer 1st half than we would like, and our depth to make a difference in the 2nd half.

    IU by 14.

    Thank God we are not facing Cody in this game. That would have been tough.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Looks like pUke might be number 1 coming into Assembly Hall….

  • Anonymous

    IU gained talent in the offseason..Butler could not immediately  replace the talent they lost. End of story. Butler’s defense will keep the game respectable..but if IU doesn’t win…it would shock me.

  • I would be thoroughly disappointed if we came out in a zone against Butler. We have created a ton of offense this year with Cody and Oladipo putting pressure on the opponents in half court man to man D. Also, we have played almost no zone except for the brief time against Evansville when Cody was in foul trouble so why change now. 

    We need to get into these guys and put them out early. I am sick of my friends in Indy talking crap about Crean and IU. Let’s get out the mop just like I asked for against Evansville.

    Can’t wait.

  • Anonymous

    On a related note, UNC lost to UNLV so “that team” we play soon will probably be the new #1 team. I hope they’re #1 when the get handled at Assembly Hall.

  • Anonymous

    Never say never.  System teams can have talent, too.

  • Anonymous

    I watched most of the 2nd half of that game and UNLV shot lights out, but they also have fantastic ball movement.

  • Anonymous

    I think Butler has gotten themselves to the point that Gonzaga was a few years ago—they’ve had enough sustained success by this point that you have to overlook what conference they play in and expect them to be able to compete with anyone.  One more reason college basketball is superior to college football.

  • Anonymous

    butler could test the hoosiers tonight, it will be intersting to see how IU plays in the first game cody gets in foul trouble. a 9-9 record in league play might be good enough to get this team in the tournament.   IU 78  Butler  65

  • Anonymous

    Won’t be shocked if the Horizon gets multiple teams—-Detroit, Butler, Cleveland State, all three are solid teams.  I bet two of those three make it.

  • Anonymous

    Easy now—don’t go callin’ our guys “tools”

  • Anonymous

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  • IUeconAlum

    Good call Marcus. Better word would be “weapons.”

  • IUJeff

    The first real test for IU. My predictions:

    CWat has a huge game. 
    Jordy and Pritchard have break out games. 

    Cody plays like Cody.

    VJ buries 5 mid- range jumpers. Has 5 assists, 2 to’s  

    Will and Vic wreak havoc at both ends of the court and have 15 each.

    IU wins 72 – 61.  

  • HoosierSmitty

    Nostradamus…pretty good call on this one…