Wednesday, April 6, 2011

News On The Horizon 4/6/2011

2011 NBA Draft Early

Kentucky gets the No. 1 spot for season--Fox Sports

Lose: Matt Howard, Shawn Vanzant, Zach Hahn
Key Returnees: Shelvin Mack, Andrew Smith, Khyle Marshall, Ronald Nored, Chase Stigall, Chrishawn Hopkins, Garrett Butcher
Newcomers: Cameron Woods, Jackson Aldridge, Roosevelt Jones, Andrew Smithers
Breakdown: The loss of Howard is critical, but as long as Mack returns, the Bulldogs should remain a Top 25 team – maybe even top 10.

Hayward's shining moment--ESPN
After The Confetti, Our Top 32 For ’11-12--Luke Winn at the Tourney

Before Butler took the court for this year’s title game, its leader, Ronald Nored, told the team in the huddle: “This is our last time playing together. All 14 of us, it’s our last time. Let’s prove to everyone and ourselves, that we’re the best 14 people together in the whole country.”
[video clip can't be embedded here]
Which team will be in that huddle next year, in a tunnel at the Superdome in New Orleans? Who will be last 13, 14 or 15 guys standing in 2012? Before the Tourney Blog makes its mad dash to catch a flight out of Houston, here’s our way-too-early look at next season’s top 32. A full, Power Rankings-style version will come after the deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft in May; consider this an appetizer to tide you over — or infuriate you — until then.

(Written assuming UConn’s Walker, Arizona’s Derrick Williams, Duke’s Kyrie Irving, Kansas’ Morris twins and Josh Selby, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight, and Texas’ Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson all turn pro early.)
8. Butler: The Bulldogs will remain powerful if Shelvin Mack passes on the draft after testing the waters. Khyle Marshall’s NCAA tournament success suggests he could be their next frontcourt star, and Chrishawn Hopkins is the future of their backcourt. It just seems unwise, at this juncture, to leave a Brad Stevens team out of the top 10.

NCAA Championship Gigapan--Sports Illustrated
NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 04.05.11--Rush The Court
2011-12 RTC (Way Too Early) Top 25--Rush The Court

20. Butler—While Matt Howard is gone due to graduation. Shelvin Mack is expected to return and the Bulldogs will still have Brad Stevens manning the sidelines. Stevens’ incredible feats at Butler have placed himself among the coaching elite, and there is no reason to think he will not be able to capitalize on two straight years of remarkable success with another great one in 2011-12.

2011 One Shining Moment and our pictures from the Final Four--Ballin' is a Habit
Counting down the top 10 moments--Eye On College Basketball
Will Calhoun and Stevens stay put?--Eye On College Basketball's NCAA all-tournament teams--Eye On College Basketball

Butler junior guard Shelvin Mack. The player who committed the dumbest foul in Butler history got bailed out, and in the process, put his name among the all-time program greats. Thanks to Nasir Robinson fouling Matt Howard, Butler and Mack got to move on. Mack averaged 20.3 points in six games and sank a team-best 23 3-pointers. Thanks to his six-game torrent of hustle-bred, inspired, gutty play, Mack's now getting serious looks from the NBA. Hopefully he returns for his senior season.

Butler senior forward Matt Howard. Howard's 42 rebounds were tied for fourth-best in the tournament; he grabbed seven per game in the six he played. Also gave us the only true buzzer-beater of the tournament, as he hit the game-winning put-back against Old Dominion in the first game of the opening Thursday of the tournament. The heart and soul and face and gut of Butler: Matt Howard.

Looking back at Butler's unpredictable season--Eye On College Basketball
Ballin’: Steve Nash Got the Wrong Shorts & Gordon Hayward Went Off Against the Lakers--The Big Lead
Utah Jazz stun Lakers 86-85 behind 22 from Gordon Hayward--Deseret News
Utah Jazz notebook--Deseret News

THE PASTY LOBSTER?: Gordon Hayward got some obvious color in his skin after spending time in the California sun on Venice Beach with Jeremy Evans after practice Monday.

They got caught up checking out some oceanside playground hoops, and Hayward ended up with a farmer's sunburn.

"We walked around a little too much," Hayward said, smiling.

Gordon Hayward shines as Jazz shock Lakers--Salt Lake Tribune
Jazz win over Lakers a much needed shot of confidence --Salt Lake Tribune

Going forward

Jazz coach Ty Corbin wouldn’t commit to starting Gordon Hayward for Thursday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but did say that his rookie swingman had earned significant minutes. Even if Hayward’s in line for a huge bump in playing time, the big lineup featuring Millsap at small forward is working, and Hayward’s versatility brings value off the bench. Hayward was the star of the Lakers win with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists. Corbin pointed to Hayward’s gradual improvement over the year.

“He’s changed his body,” Corbin said. “He’s been patient, and he’s learned the system. Now he’s comfortable and he’s starting to see some results.”

Badger Bits: Wisconsin finishes in Top 15--Bucky's 5th Quarter

Let's shift gears for a minute- back to basketball. Connecticut's win over Butler in the national championship game gave the Huskies the top spot in the final ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, and the voters didn't punish the Badgers for their Sweet Sixteen loss to the Bulldogs. The Badgers finished the year at No. 15, right around where they were at the start of the tournament.

Top 25 Games of the Bruce Pearl Era: 15-11--Rocky Top Talk

13. 2008 NCAA Second Round - (2) Tennessee 76 (7) Butler 71 (OT)

Who was better - the 2008 team or the 2010 team?

This was the last of the '08 team's 31 victories, a school record. The '10 team will probably always have a warmer place in our hearts, both because they went into uncharted territory and the unique journey they took to get there. But it's also noteworthy that we were really robbed of the opportunity to see either of those two teams at their very best: if you put a cancer-free Chris Lofton on the 2008 team, who knows how much better they could've been. And the 2010 team only saw its best lineup on the floor together for the last ten games of the season once Brian Williams returned to the floor.

Before Butler was cool, they were the victims of a total screwjob by the selection committee: 29-3 coming into the tournament and ranked 10th in the coaches' poll, the Bulldogs were inexplicably handed a seven seed, and the Vols were not only robbed of the one seed they deserved, but handed an incredibly brutal path to the Final Four. This remains the only time two 30+ win teams have met in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Playing J.P. Prince at point guard (who turned in a respectable 9-7-5 performance...with 6 turnovers, of course), the Vols kept trying to run away but the Bulldogs never let them. After jumping Butler 13-2 and then 21-8 to start, the Bulldogs closed within one point before the Vols made the final shot of the half. Second verse same as the first: Tennessee opened the second half on fire and built another ten point lead, but Butler was within four again just four minutes later. Tennessee never let them get the lead, but never put them away either - Butler tied the score at 63-63 with 37 seconds left, and when Prince was called for traveling with four seconds to play, Butler couldn't get off a good shot, sending it to overtime.

In OT Butler took their first lead of the game with 1:47 to play, 68-66. It was short lived: Ramar Smith, Wayne Chism, and then Ramar again got layups on the Vols' next three possessions to give UT the lead right back at 72-68. Butler was fouled with five seconds to play down four, but JaJuan Smith got the rebound off the intentional miss on the second free throw, and buried two of his own to end it. There's a great line from the AP postgame story about Brad Stevens being convinced his teams had Final Four talent.

RTT: Vols survive Butler.

What Will We Tell The Kids--Basketball Prospectus
Cheering Fans Celebrate Bulldogs' Tourney
Michael Rosenberg: Best team didn't win NCAA title, but do we care?--The Detroit Free Press
IU, Butler to play in November tourney--The Indy Star
What they're saying about Butler's loss to UConn--The Indy Star
Shelvin Mack's decision will significantly affect next season--The Indy Star
Butler players struggle when they realize they're done playing together--The Indy Star
Kravitz: Butler didn't miss in leaving a lasting legacy--The Indy Star
Gordon Hayward scores 22 as Utah Jazz stun Lakers--The Indy Star
3,000 fill Hinkle Fieldhouse for Butler team celebration--The Indy Star
Reflecting on historic season--Indy Star Butler Insider
Fan Speak: Andrew Smith’s summer of pain--Victory Firelight
Despite loss, Butler leaves its mark--Butler Collegian

Cleveland State Finishes at No. 12 in Final Mid-Major Poll--Let's Go Vikes!

The correlation between scoring margins and player offensive
New Loyola hoops coach press conference--The Chicago Tribune
Polka a finalist for national award--Loyola Phoenix
From the Gateway City to the Windy City--Loyola Phoenix

Watch Porter Moser's Introductory Press Conference Today

Coaching carousel includes former UWGB coaches, candidates--UWGB Basketball
Student-Athlete of the Week: Heather Golden, senior guard--UWGB Fourth Estate
Green Bay Basketball Final National Rankings

Women's Basketball Post-Season Notes--Panther Blog Zone

A brief interview with CSU Assistant Coach Larry DeSimpelare--Section EE

Butler’s second NCAA tournament run increases pressure to improve league respect--Wright State University Sports

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