Butler’s Stevens impressed by Hoosiers

  • 11/28/2011 11:25 am in

It appears to be a down year for Butler basketball.

After losing to Northern State in an exhibition game and Evansville early in the regular season, it’s easy to see this isn’t the same Bulldog team that made back-to-back runs to the national title game.

But Butler coach Brad Stevens knows good basketball when he sees it. His Bulldogs faced the likes of Syracuse, Michigan State, Duke, Connecticut and others in the last two NCAA Tournaments.

What Indiana did to Butler in its 75-59 win Sunday night, Stevens said, was good basketball.

“They do a good job. They’ve got a nice team,” he said. “[Jordan] Hulls is a really good player, probably as undervalued as anybody that I’ve seen. He understands the game, he makes people better, he makes the right decisions at the right time and just generally controls the game.

“And then obviously they’ve got a bunch of talented scorers. When [Will] Sheehey and those guys are shooting it like they shot it tonight, that’s a hard team to beat.”


Sheehey led the Hoosiers with a career-high 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and he came off the bench. After Sheehey drew the Bulldogs outside with his 3-point shooting, he used shot fakes to get open mid-range looks.

Hulls also hit two 3-pointers, and Matt Roth came off the bench to knock down a big 3 early in the second half.

“When those guys get going, that’s what they do well,” Stevens said. “They shoot it, and when they feel good, they really shoot it.”


The scary thing is the Hoosiers didn’t actually shoot it very well for much of the game. They made only 8-of-25 shots in the first half and shot just 40 percent for the game.

They made up for it with hustle plays – several of which came from the sparingly used Tom Pritchard.

“I was talking to our guys about how much I appreciated Pritchard,” Stevens said. “Pritchard got on the floor a couple times for loose balls and did really hard things. He’s a guy that doesn’t play anymore versus what he used to do. I appreciate that because there’s been a lot of tough things that that kid’s been through. Now he’s really embracing his role and doing a good job.”

Pritchard played only nine minutes, didn’t take a shot, record a point or a rebound, but he made the most of his time on the court with two steals. He even had the student section chanting his name at one point.

“There were definitely a lot of hustle plays, like coach said, Pritchard diving on the ball when we could have got on the ball,” said Butler forward Khyle Marshall, who had 16 points.


Indiana freshman Cody Zeller had his way against the first five opponents this season. He scored when he wanted to, rarely missed a shot, and appeared to intimidate the opposition.

That changed Sunday night. Butler’s Andrew Smith provided the first legitimate inside matchup for Zeller, and the Washington, Ind. native struggled early.

But Zeller didn’t let it bother him. He found his rhythm in the second half and still finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.

“He’s a good player. He’s a really good player,” Stevens said. “He’s a guy that can score around the rim, he can shoot it. Even though he shot the one short, he can really shoot.

“I think he’s probably as unselfish a guy as you can have. To have a star come in and be unselfish is a really important thing. If he wasn’t that way, it wouldn’t be as easy for them to want to go to him all the time.”

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  • Bryan

    Looks like UK is handing IU more motivation for the game this year.  Calipari is starting to grumble about the burden he will be under, now that he has the impossible task of playing Missouri and Texas A&M in the SEC schedule.  He’s throwing out the idea of ending some of their long time rivalry games, and the UK fanbase seems to want to chuck us over games with Louisville or North Carolina because its “no longer competitive.” 

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I was wondering about their “legs” as well. Everything that was missed was short and flat.  Even a few of the shots that kind of rolled around and out did not have good arch.  I agree with you.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    It should be a great game for years to come.  I hope this rivalry builds.  I am sure it will year after year. I just don’t want to hate you guys like I do PUke.  I like being fond of Butler, except on game day.

  • Anonymous

    That’s interesting because two years ago, I believe IU trailed by only one at half and last year IU led late in the second half.  Those were two of the worst IU teams in history.  Imagine when IU gets there big time recruiting classes coming in.  pUKe fans are clueless.   

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    It was an offensive foul. The game was not called both ways until it was later in the 2nd half.  As fans we might just be fans, but most of us come from either playing the game, coaching the game, or following the game at some level. If anyone would say the officiating was horrible, I would not call them biased.  There are ways to let the players play and still call a good game.  it was pretty wacky last night.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Welcome to the site and we always take Indiana HS fans.  Between the two schools we probably have the most kids from the state.  I like your comments agree and disagree with some.  No big deal but the talent coming in is excellent to high at every position and adding that to what we already have…I’m pretty sure IU will be ranked for the most part of next year.  Just as you mentioned Hanner was just good for a few dunks, etc but he is a true beast and I would be more concerned about his blocks.  Hopkins is a great player but our front line increases two fold. 
    Last thought, I pulled for Butler for both final games as I do for all Indiana schools, except for PUke.   
    Post again…we’ll take you.

  • cdog

    CW better start getting with the program or he will be riding the pine.  The only reason he is starting over WS is because CTC likes the sixth man thing that is working right now.  That might not last for long.  We don’t have a lot of depth up front and we need CW to perform like last year.  With Hanner and JH coming in next year, CW better work harder or his minutes will go down.

  • cooper

    nice comment from Stevens, I don’t think Butler is a tournament team this year. They need more talent.

    Its important IU not think they’ve done anything yet. They started 6-0 last year, against worse competition, but still need to realize they have a long way to go.

    I’m looking forward to Wednesday, its going to say a lot about this team

  • Anonymous

    I respectfully disagree..if IU continues playing selfless team basketball, and they beat “that team” from one state south, they will debut in the top 25 in a noticable way. In that same breath, who really cares about rankings..i just want us to make another appearance in the dance (and go past the first round).

  • Anonymous

    The problem isn’t what we think but when is the last time you saw two different team mates getting in another players face to do his job of rebounding.  He plays soft and has to increase his effort level.  Shots won’t fall some nights but he should be able to get up at least to the rim.  What we think may not matter but when the rest of the team gets on him…well. They know what he can do and when his heads not there.

  • Anonymous

    Who cares what Calipari thinks?  In 3-5 years, he will be gone, and any banners they hang during that time will have to be taken down anyway.  I’m really looking forward to playing them this year.  I hope they underestimate us!

  • Anonymous

    I think that has to do with the all out intensity of the game.  It was a hard-nose hustle your butt off or sit game.  Plus CTC didn’t uses as many players as he had been using.  As the season goes on, conditioning will improve as we get into the beef of the schedule.  

  • Anonymous

    With the NBA back I don’t know if he will be able to hang a banner.  All his players leave after a year or two.  I just don’t think he will be able to win with 3-4 freshman starting every year.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Aceman, this was a good old fashioned defensive battle, something you see a lot more of in March than the 55% shooting IU has been doing early on.  Teams that do damage in the tournament are teams that can grind out wins with defense and hit timely shots, which is exactly what we did.  We should be happy with a win like this.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t always drink the Kool-Aid, but when I do I prefer red.

  • Anonymous

    That actually means 7th because you know Northwestern will find a way to fall to an NIT bid

  • Anonymous

    No way—-if the Kentucky game is a win it’s definitely a ranking

  • Anonymous

    Agree whole heartedly on the part of WS telling CW if he wasn’t gonna block out and rebound the ball then let him in there. I know it’s kinds like kettle calling the pot black but even VJ3 got onto him and rightfully so.  I for one love the fact that others are holding their teammates accountable when they do something like CW did or maybe more correctly didn’t do.That whole little fiasco was a perfect snapshot of CW’s game against Butler.

  • Anonymous

    I know the people watching the game on TV had the benefit of watching it in slow motion, and on a replay at that, but I’d be willing to bet that 95 % of those watching didn’t need the slow motion replay to know it was a bad call. All the replay did was show just HOW bad of a call it was. That was one of those that Crean has got to get up and step into the ref at least somewhat. They are human too and I don’t believe that they won’t at least give it some thought if Crean lets them know just how bad they blew the call.

  • Anonymous

    Yep. Last year there were plenty of times that he could have been lumped in with the other two but not this year. While he did not have a lot show up in the stat sheet I thought, for the most part, he played a pretty good game. The fact that he didn’t do several things that hurt as a team was maybe his biggest contribution that didn’t show in the stat sheet.

    OK all except for the one where he was pulling the guy down by the shoulder and when the whistle blew he turned around and wanted a jump ball called. LOL

  • Anonymous

    WS a step slow all night ? Rebounding was tragic ? I’m with Aceman on this one, I have to just simply disagree with you, that or I was watching a different game than you were.

    If WS was a step slow all night then I hope he remains a step slow in the rest of the games we play this year.

  • Anonymous

    maybe u didn’t see the – WS I guess I should have typed out the minus WS

  • Anonymous

    You beat the number 1 or number 2 ranked team and have only 1 loss or are undefeated at the time of that game and then win that game and I guarantee you a top 25 ranking is only a vote away. I would even venture to say that a top 20 ranking would happen and it wouldn’t be number 20 either.

  • Anonymous

    Yea and just think what kind of praises we would be singing if he had connected on all of the shots that he intended to take but instead had the ball stolen from him as he dribbled into defenders. CW can be and more importantly we need him to be a big part of this team if we are going to have the kind of success we all want to have but he cannot keep having the ball taken away and when he does get the shot off he has to make it when he shoots it from 2 ft away. He is 6′ 9″ and weighs in at around 235 he has got to play like that. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the NC St scouting report is going to say about what to do when he starts to dribble the ball and if he doesn’t get that part corrected expect to see a replay of his work in the Butler game.

    Again I want him to do well and we need him to do well. I even think you continue to start him in hopes he gets it turned around but he has got to stop making the same mistakes over and over.

  • Anonymous

    My bad didn’t notice that that was the way you meant it.

  • Kfdchev

    If it were me {but its not} I would start both of them against UNC State and if I didnt see a little improvement I would pull them both out of the line up against Stetson and use that as a motivational tool. Picking splinters will usually motivate a player better than anything else. The sad part about it is those two guys need motivated. They should be all kinds of fired up after the previous three or four years here and then to be starting this season the way we have should be plenty of motivation to do things the right way.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Butler this year, think they’ll be a solid team by the end of the year. Should be a tough team to beat in the tournament.

    I’ll have a better idea after going to their game tonight, going to support a buddy who’s on staff there.

  • INUnivHoosier

    HA! At first glance, I thought he was choking the guy out. Luckily that wasn’t the case (or was it).

  • Fifefan

    Well put my friend!!

  • Notlennac98

    Personally I don’t think CW is all that comfortable with his new role on the team,and is struggling to accept it,and may not ,thus being more of a liability than asset

  • CreanFaithful

    Completely agree about the dribbling.  I’m convinced between watching this year and last, that this is something Crean has encouraged.  Unfortunately he dribbles above his waist and stands 6’9.” It just does’t work.  I’m all for the pump fake, one dribble pull-up.  But the drive from the wing into the lane
     never works out.

  • Gunningtom36

    Coach Stevens is a class ACT!  Butler will be there again by tourney time!