RTC Top 25: NPOY Edition--Rush The Court
23. Matt Howard, Butler- When Howard stays on the floor, the physical 6’8 forward and former Horizon League POY produces. Howard averages 18.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG and just brought back to the mainland the MVP of the Diamond Head Classic. Howard, along with Butler as a whole, appears to be hitting their stride. He’s a persistent rebounder that plays with an extremely high motor.
The Week That Was: December 18-27--Rush The Court
After a less-than-stellar start to its season, in which Butler got smoked by Louisville and lost in overtime to Evansville en route to a 4-4 record through its first eight games, it now looks like Brad Stevens’ squad has righted the ship. The Bulldogs have won five in a row and just beat Washington State on Christmas Day to win the Diamond Head Classic. Key to the Bulldogs recent surge has been their improved play on the defensive end. Butler has not allowed more than 68 points since Mississippi Valley St. put up 71 on Dec. 11, and in their last four wins, the Bulldogs have allowed their opponents to shoot the following percentages: Stanford, 31.4%; Utah, 39.6%; Florida State, 38%; and Washington State, 40.7%. The Bulldogs’ defensive numbers still aren’t great, they rank 48th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings and they’re #272 in turnover %, but they’re on their way back to being a squad that can win games on the defensive end. As the schedule shifts to Horizon League play, the Bulldogs again are a safe bet to claim another conference championship.
Utah Jazz notebook: Gordon Hayward continues to get crunch-time minutes--Deseret News
Jazz reserves lose their rhythm--Salt Lake Tribune
While everyone from Mehmet Okur and Earl Watson to C.J. Miles and Gordon Hayward made significant contributions for Utah on Monday night during a 96-91 home defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers, several key reserves acknowledged Tuesday that the team’s bench has recently lacked the smoothness and sharpness that characterized its play during the first 26 games of the season.
Matthews gets win in return--Salt Lake Tribune
Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko left the game with 4:57 left during the third quarter and did not return. He is day to day with a lower back strain.
Utah coach Jerry Sloan said that he possibly would have used Kirilenko late in the game, but instead relied upon rookie Gordon Hayward for all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter for the second consecutive contest.
Hayward scored four points via free throws and was 0 of 4 from the field.
Jazz’s Sloan favors rookie Hayward during fourth quarter--Salt Lake Tribune
Butler's Howard shares Player of Week award--The Indy Star
Butler on RPI watch (again)--Indy Star Butler Insider
The new era of Butler hoops--Victory Firelight
Butler Closes 2010 At Home vs. Bowling Green--ButlerSports.com
Video Highlights: CSU Women's Team Cruises Over Lake Erie--Let's Go Vikes!
Vikings Return to Action Against Lake Erie on Tuesday--csuvikings.com
Garland's Career High 26 Lead Vikings Past Lake Erie, 81-62--csuvikings.com
Video: Gary Waters Talks About Upcoming Horizon League Games This Weekend--Let's Go Vikes!
Vikings Host Loyola To Resume League Play--csuvikings.com
VIDEO: 12-29 Gary Waters Media Gathering--csuvikings.com
Q&A with Tom Mieskoski about Cleveland State--ChicagoNow.com
Men's Hoops Resumes League Play at Youngstown State Thursday--uicflames.com
Flames Capture Spirit Of The Season By Giving Back--uicflames.com
Possession maximizing teams--ChicagoNow.com
Loyola's Second Half Rally Falls Short in 70-59 Loss at Northern Illinois--LoyolaRamblers.com
Women's basketball: UW-Green Bay defeats South Dakota 70-53--Green Bay Press Gazette
No. 21 Green Bay Wraps up Non-Conference Play with 70-53 Win--uwgbathletics.com
Green Bay Closes Out 2010 at Detroit Thursday--uwgbathletics.com
UWM women continue slide--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Live Blog: Milwaukee @ Illinois State--Panther Blog Zone
Post-Game Wrap-Up: Milwaukee @ Illinois State--Panther Blog Zone
Rick Costello Named New Director of Milwaukee Athletics--Milwaukee Panther Tracks
Panthers Drop Sixth-Straight, Fall At Illinois State, 76-69--uwmpanthers.com
Previous Evening MAC Review: Road Bumps--Hustle Belt
Valparaiso 69, Ball State 52 — This isn't the way to get noticed in Indiana basketball. The Cardinals, after hanging tough for the first-half-of-the-first-half, saw the Crusaders bolt to a 12-point halftime lead, and no rallying cry stuck with BSU. Jarrod Jones was the only double-digit scorer for Ball State with 18 points and seven rebounds. Basically the defense struggled to get in Valpo's fat face, as they shot 52 percent from the field. Get in their face. That's how basketball works, right? Ball State's next game: Friday, 12/31 vs. North Carolina A&T
Non-Conference Opponents' Update (a.k.a.: more proof we're playing better without Robbie Hummel)--Hammer and Rails
Valparaiso (10-4, 2-0 Horizon League) RPI: 70 - So far our win over the Crusaders has been a very pleasant gift. It is another top 100 road victory, which when coupled with our remaining game at West Virginia, could give us three true road victories in non-conference play against the top 100. Since Valpo is 2-0 in the Horizon League and has at least four games left against Butler (RPI: 11) and Cleveland State (RPI: 16) this win can get even better and they could be a fringe at large team if they somehow pull a Butler and sweep through the Horizon League, but lose in the conference title game to either Cleveland State or Butler. An overtime loss to a bad Toledo team sucks, but Valpo beat Oakland last week 103-102 and already has a win over Illinois-Chicago (who beat Illinois). They play at Hinkle Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon to restart Horizon League play. Strangely, Toledo can screw us in basketball too because they are only 3-9, but chose to break an 0-9 start by beating Valpo in overtime. Damn you, Rockets!
Crusaders finish off Cards--The Post-Tribune
Ball State at Valparaiso, Dec. 28, Live Blog--Off The Mark
Balanced effort leads to fourth consecutive win for VU--The NWI Times
Crusaders Extend Winning Streak to Four With Victory Over Ball State--valpoathletics.com
Valparaiso (2-9) at Eastern Illinois (6-6)--The Post-Tribune
Crusader Women Close Non-Conference Action Thursday--valpoathletics.com
No. 6: YSU women go winless--Youngstown Vindicator
Men's Basketball Starts Main Horizon League Slate Hosting UIC Thursday--ysusports.com