Butler continues to build on its basketball brand, by playing a tough non-conference schedule and beating the nation’s most historic programs. At the Maui Invitational, Butler beat Marquette on a buzzer beating 30-footer from Rotnei Clarke, and routed North Carolina 82-71 in the semi-finals. Illinois beat the Bulldogs in the championship game 78-61. The highlight of the their non conference season was the 88-86 overtime win over then No. 1 ranked Indiana. Walk-on Alex Barlow made a floater with 2.5 seconds to pull off the upset and propel the Bulldogs into the top 25.
Arkansas transfer Clarke, leads a balanced scoring attack with 17.2 ppg and shooting 44% from three-point range. Khyle Marshall and Andrew Smith are both averaging 11 ppg while shooting 55% from the field. Sophomore Roosevelt Jones has developed into Butler’s best on the ball defender. Butler hangs it hat on toughness and defense as they lead the A-10 in rebounding margin at +8.5 per game.
Butler heads into its first season in the A-10 with an 11-2 record. One of their losses came to conference opponent Xavier prior to the Maui Invitational. Butler will be the favorite to win the A-10 and should be a high seed heading into the NCAA Tournament. All indications show they have a good chance to make another run in March.
1) Butler, 2) Temple, 3) VCU, 4) Dayton, 5) Charlotte, 6) Richmond, 7)LaSalle, 8) St. Louis, 9) Massachusetts, 10) Xavier, 11) St Joe’s, 12) St. Bonaventure, 13) Duquesne, 14) Rhode Island, 15) George Washington, 16) Fordham
Ryan Klaas is a Scout and Correspondent for NetScouts Basketball.