Butler 2010 NCAA Tournament Capsule

    
March 12th, 2010

Butler Bulldogs

Horizon League (28-4, 18-0)

 

Big Wins: 12/12 Ohio State (74-66), 12/19 Xavier (69-68), 2/20 Siena (70-53)

Bad Losses: 11/26 vs Minnesota (73-82), 11/29 vs Clemson (69-70), 12/22 at UAB (57-67)

Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, First Round loss to LSU

Coach: Brad Stevens (1-2 in 2 NCAA appearances)

 

Why They Can Surprise:

This is practically the same group from Butler that dominated last year and then made a disappointing early exit in the NCAA Tournament. The numbers are not quite as impressive this season, but this group still plays Butler basketball by keeping the turnovers down and taking smart shots.

 

The biggest reason Coach Brad Stevens’ team has dominated the Horizon League yet again is Gordon Hayward. The 6-8 sophomore was a shooter and distributor in high school, but then he grew six inches. He is still a solid shooter from long range and a good passer, but now he can also grab a ton of rebounds and block a few shots. However, Hayward’s shooting has slipped while he learns to use his size to attack the basket. The Bulldogs have Hayward teamed up with Matt Howard in the frontcourt. Howard is not as talented of a shooter as Hayward, but he is an aggressive player getting to the basket and can break down most opposing big men off the dribble.

 

Why They Can Disappoint:

This was a really young team last year and they are still a young team. Three starters are sophomores and that is most noticeable on the perimeter with Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored. Nored has done a much better job as a sophomore, dishing out 3.6 assists and only turning the ball over 1.9 times. Nored is also an increasingly productive defender. Unlike Nored, Mack is an offensive threat. He is a quality outside shooter, second only to Zach Hahn in three-point field goal percentage. But this team still commits too many turnovers compared to what we have become used to from the Bulldogs. The shooting is also not quite up to Butler’s usual expectations as the team as a whole only shoots 33.8 percent from beyond the arc.

 

Who To Watch:

Willie Veasley is the only senior in the starting lineup and he has to be a leader on the floor. The 6-3 wing is not as good of a shooter as Hayward or Mack or as good of a scorer as Howard, but he will be asked to do quite a bit of scoring to help compliment those guys. He averaged 10.3 points per game during the regular season and it will be important for the Bulldogs to have a fourth scoring threat on the floor during the tournament. That fourth threat could also be Hahn. The 6-0 junior will take nearly all of his shots from beyond the arc, but he can get hot on certain days and tally a dozen points or so. 

 

Probable Starters:

Ronald Nored, Sophomore, Guard, 5.9 ppg, 3.6 apg, 1.6 spg

Shelvin Mack, Sophomore, Guard, 13.9 ppg, 3.1 apg

Willie Veasley, Senior, Guard, 10.3 ppg, 1.0 apg, 4.3 rpg

Gordon Hayward, Sophomore, Forward, 15.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg

Matt Howard, Junior, Forward, 12.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg

 

Key Roleplayers:

Zach Hahn, Junior, Guard, 5.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg

Avery Jukes, Senior, Forward, 2.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg

Shawn Vanzant, Junior, Guard, 2.8 ppg, 1.3 apg

 

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 70.1 (145th in nation, 2nd in conference)

Scoring Defense: 60.5 (22, 1)

Field-Goal Percentage: 45.1 (90, 3)

Field-Goal Defense: 41.7 (98, 2)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (108, 4)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.8 (177, 6)

Free-Throw Percentage: 74.5 (22, 2)

Rebound Margin: 3.8 (59, 2)

Assists Per Game: 12.8 (180, 7)

Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (65, 3)

 

 

Follow Joel Welser's Postseason Capsules & College Basketball Previews on Twitter @Joel_Welser and on his Facebook page. Joel will be back in June for his annual Top 144 Teams in 144 Days preview on CollegeHoops.net

 

 

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