99 in 99: #20 Butler Bulldogs


butler final four

The Hoosiers analogy was used about 37.4 million times during the NCAA Tournament, but what a story it was.  Mid-major Butler making a run to the National Championship in their home city and coming inches away from a half-court heave of walking away with the title.  With a solid core returning from last season, Brad Stevens is ready to prove that last year was no fluke for the Bulldogs.

The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” ranks the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors.  Click here if you missed teams #21-#99.

By: David Kay

Butler Bulldogs (1st, 18-0 in Horizon, 28-4 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
C: Andrew Smith (So)/Erik Fromm (Fr)/Emerson Kampen (So)
F: Matt Howard (Sr)/Khyle Marshall (Fr)/Garrett Butcher (Jr)
G: Shelvin Mack (Jr)/Grant Leiendecker (Sr)
G: Shawn Vanzant (Sr)/Chrishawn Hopkins (Fr)/Chase Stigall (So)
PG: Ronald Nored (Jr)/Zach Hahn (Sr)

Gone: F-Gordon Hayward, F/C-Avery Jukes, G/F-Willie Veasley

brad stevens butler

2010-2011 Outlook:
Butler does not pull in five-star high school players or have top ten recruiting classes but Brad Stevens finds players who fit the system and understand how to play their roles.  The Bulldogs lose three of their eight rotation players including Gordon Hayward, but return plenty of talent.

The strength of this team will be their veteran backcourt led by returning starters Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored.  Combo guard Shawn Vanzant will move from the bench to the starting line-up while sharpshooter Zach Hahn brings his deadly perimeter touch off the bench.

Up-front, Matt Howard has a non-stop motor and junkyard dog style of play that allows him to effective in the paint.  A key for Howard will be avoiding foul trouble which too often plagued him last season.  Seldom used a year ago, 6-11 Andrew Smith will move to the starting line-up which should help take some of the responsibility off Howard in terms of guarding opposing team’s bigs.

Freshman Khyle Marshall is the closest thing Butler has this season to replace Hayward’s versatility.  At 6-7, Marshall is not the outside threat or polished offensive player that Hayward was but does possess the length and athleticism to be a factor on the defensive end.  Fellow newcomers Erik Fromm and Chrishawn Hopkins figure to also work their way into the rotation this season.

Winning at least a share of the last four Horizon League titles, more of the same will be expected this season.  But for the rising Butler program, that yearly accomplishment will not be enough.  This is a team that now expects to be a national contender and under the direction of one of the brightest young coaches in the game, should see that type of success for years to come.

Player to Watch: Shelvin Mack, G
Coming off a summer in which he received rave reviews for his play with the U.S.A. Select Team, Mack hopes to carry that into this season.  He is a physical guard who can shoot it, handle the rock, or play off the ball.  Mack was at times over-shadowed a year ago by Hayward but will be in the spotlight as the team’s go-to player this season.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/16 at Louisville
11/23 at Siena
12/4 vs. Duke (in East Rutherford)
12/9 at Xavier
12/18 vs. Stanford
12/22 vs. Utah (Diamond Head Classic)
12/23 vs. Florida State/Hawaii
12/25 vs. Baylor/San Diego/Mississippi State/Washington State

Other 99 in 99’s:
#21 Virginia Tech
#22 Tennessee
#23 Gonzaga
#24 Texas
#25 San Diego State
#26 Xavier
#27 West Virginia
#28 BYU
#29 Georgia
#30 St. John’s
#31 N.C. State
#32 Florida State
#33 Marquette
#34 Temple
#35 Vanderbilt
#36 Arizona
#37 Murray State
#38 Dayton
#39 Notre Dame
#40 Mississippi State
#41 Utah State
#42 Maryland
#43 Richmond
#44 UNLV
#45 Seton Hall
#46 Wichita State
#47 Washington State
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#50 Minnesota
#51 New Mexico
#52 UConn
#53 Northwestern
#54 UCLA
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#58 Louisville
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#61 Creighton
#62 Clemson
#63 Cincinnati
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#66 Charlotte
#67 UTEP
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#70 Colorado
#71 Weber State
#72 Alabama
#73 Bradley
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa


  1. I wish the best for Butler but they aren’t gonna be as good without Hayward, he was almost a hero in the title game. He showed on that half-court shot that he has talent, he might have missed it, but hit the rim, he missed it by an inch.

  2. *he might have made it

  3. Losing Veasley will be a giant loss as well.

Speak Your Mind