Game Preview: #13 Butler at Wisconsin-Green Bay

February 1st, 2009

Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix

Record: 17-6 (10-1 home)
Conference: Horizon (9-2, 2nd)
RPI: No. 80 (vs. Butler #9)
Sagarin’s: No. 64 (vs. Butler #14)
Last Five: 4-1 (lost at Butler 68-59)

Tip Time: 8:00 p.m. (EST) Monday, Feb. 2
Where: Resch Center--Green Bay, WI

Notes: After stalling in a loss at Butler two weeks ago, Wisconsin-Green Bay’s high-octane offense is back firing on all cylinders. In its three games since the loss, the Phoenix averaged 84 points in three wins. In each of those games, second-place Green-Bay received big-time individual performances. Against Valpo, it was Ryan Tillema who scored a HL-high 36 points on nine 3’s. Against Loyola and UIC, it was Troy Cotton who scored 25 on seven 3’s in each game. The Phoenix can score and -- with a 10-1 home record -- pose a major challenge for Butler.

Other stats:
PPG: 72.2 (1st HL)
Scoring margin: +7.4 (3rd HL)
Free Throw Percentage: 78% (1st HL)
3-point percentage: 41% (1st HL)
Rebounding margin: -0.5 (7th HL)
Turnover ratio: +2.13 (4th HL)

Starters

UWGB PG Fletcher, Rahmon 5’10 165lbs SO
PPG: 10, RPG: 2.4, APG: 3.9
Butler PG Nored, Ronald 6’0 170lbs FR
PPG: 3.3, RPG: 3.1, APG: 2.6

Fletcher was nearly unstoppable in the first meeting with Butler. He seemed to be able to drive at will against Nored and Mack. The lefty likes to finish left, so expect whomever Stevens puts on him to hedge him to his right. Nored looks like he is losing some confidence, and is becoming an offensive liability since he can’t shoot from the perimeter.

Advantage: Green Bay

UWGB SG Cotton, Troy 6’1 180lbs JR
PPG: 12.4, RPG: 2.9, APG: 1.3
Butler SG Mack, Shelvin 6’3 185lbs FR
PPG: 12.8, RPG: 4, APG: 3.8

As mentioned in the team notes, Cotton is fresh off back-to-back 25-point performances. He’s dialed it up from long distance in both those games with 7 3’s. Against Butler, he scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half. He’ll benefit shooting in familiar confines in this match-up. Meanwhile, Mack looked like an inexperienced freshman for the first time all season against Valpo. He missed a couple of layups in route to 20 percent shooting and committed four TO’s. But the kid’s got resolve. Expect him to rebound in a big way in this one.

Advantage: Push

UWGB F Schachtner, Mike 6’9 215lbs SR
PPG: 11.2, RPG: 4.6, APG: 0.9
Butler F Hayward, Gordon 6’8 180lbs FR
PPG: 13.0, RPG: 6.3, APG: 2

Schachtner never got comfortable at Butler, scoring just 5 points on six FGA. He’s scored in double digits in each game since, and is always a threat to have a big game. Gordy carried Butler against Valpo. He’s been road warrior so far for the Dawgs and will need to step up again in this one.

Advantage: Butler

UWGB F Evans, Terry 6’5 195lbs SR
PPG: 9.6, RPG: 5.1, APG: 2.8
Butler F Veasley, Willie 6’3 190lbs JR
PPG: 8.9, RPG: 4, APG: 1.4

Evans makes most of his impact on the boards and on defense. He’s incredibly long and is second in the HL in steals (2.2 pg). The wild card is his shot. If he gets a couple of 3’s to fall, it will add a major boost to Green Bay’s upset bid. Meanwhile, Butler beat writer Dave Woods calls Veasley the spine of the team. I couldn’t agree more. He’s making a legitimate case for team MVP.

Advantage: Butler

UWGB F Berry, Randy 6’9 225lbs JR
PPG: 7.3, RPG: 5.9, APG: 0.8
Butler C Howard, Matt 6’8 220lbs
SO PPG: 13.8, RPG: 6.6, APG: 1.1

Berry got in foul trouble early and was thoroughly outplayed at Butler. Speaking of foul trouble, let’s talk about Matt Howard. Something needs to change, because he is hurting his team by picking up fouls early and often. Evidence: He hasn’t played 30 minutes in the last 8 games. Chalk up an L for Butler if he is on the bench for major minutes in this one.

Advantage: Butler

Bench

UWGB
G/F Tillema, Ryan 6’8 215lbs SR PPG: 16.9, RPG: 4.4, APG: 1.8
G Eaton, Brent 6’5 200lbs FR PPG: 2.7, RPG: 0.6, APG: 0.4
G Perine, Bryquis 6’3 165lbs PPG: 3.7, RPG: 1, APG: 2.0

Butler
G Hahn, Zach 6’0 170lbs SO PPG: 5.2, RPG: 1.5, APG: 0.9
F Jukes, Avery 6’8 215lbs JR PPG: 3.9, RPG: 2.3, APG: 0.3
G Vanzant, Shawn 6’1 175lbs SO PPG: 3.9, RPG: 1.7, APG: 1.2

Tillema is an absolute game changer. Butler contained him nicely in the first match-up and will need to do so again in this one. A contribution from one of Butler’s bench players, will greatly improve the Bulldogs chances at victory. My pick would be Hahn.

Advantage: Green Bay

Final Analysis: Not that they need it, but Butler has some locker room material for this game. Following its nine point loss to Butler two weeks ago, Rahmon Fletcher said, “We feel we’re just as good as them. So when they come back (to Green Bay) it’s going to be a tough game.” Can’t say I disagree with his second point. Green Bay should have some extra motivation, too, since Butler is attempting to break the all-time HL win streak of 21. Coincidently, Butler is attempting to break Green Bay’s 1995-97 streak. On to the game at hand: Butler cannot make the same youthful mistakes they made against Valpo. Green Bay is experienced and will benefit from the crowd and familiar rims. I’ve marked this game all season as one the Bulldogs will lose. But what evidence points to a Butler loss? Isn’t this the same type of game that this team thrives in? Butler has found a way to win all season and, dammit, why stop now?

Prediction: Butler 63, Green Bay 61

YOUR TURN: The mythical bird is back for round two. Who’s going to win in this one?