Indiana Hoosiers get caught playing Butler’s game, fall to in-state foe

The No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers have become known for going on scoring tears — particularly on fast breaks — when they can create even the slightest cushion against opponents.

In-state rival Butler never let Indiana have that chance Saturday.

The Bulldogs (8-2) asserted themselves physically against the Hoosiers (9-1), per the custom of Brad Stevens-coached teams, and knocked off the nation’s top-ranked team 88-86 in an overtime thriller at Bankers Life Fieldhouse as part of the now annual Crossroads Classic.

Butler led by as many as seven before a furious rally by Indiana, fueled by Victor Oladipo’s defense. Freshman guard Yogi Ferrell, who only seconds before had committed a costly turnover, hit a huge 3-pointer before regulation expired to tie the game at 76-76. It was Butler guard Alex Barlow, however, who would have the contest’s final clutch moment, tossing a floater over Indiana’s Jordan Hulls for the game-winner.

The Bulldogs didn’t just step it up late, though. They made sure all game long they’d have this opportunity.

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#45 Butler Bulldogs: College Basketball 111 in 111

butler bulldog cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The Butler Bulldogs pre-season began on a rough note with expected starting point guard Chrishawn Hopkins getting dismissed from the team.  Still, Brad Stevens has enough talent on the roster to bounce back from a less than stellar year in the Horizon League and be extremely successful in transitioning to the Atlantic 10 Conference.

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#28 Butler Bulldogs: College Basketball 111 in 111

butler cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Maybe I haven’t learned my lesson and should be ranking the Butler Bulldogs higher after back-to-back trips to the National Championship game.  However, Brad Stevens loses three of his top four scorers and has a lot of inexperience on his roster.

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Butler Bulldogs 79, UIC Flames 52: Rapid Reaction

butler blue

If you read a lot of March Madness bracket projections (as college hoops nerds such as I often do) you might have noticed the Butler Bulldogs beginning the day as one of the last college basketball teams into the field of 68.

So with a road trip to UIC and a home game against Loyola waiting to finish up the conference slate, it was imperative the Bulldogs win big over Chicago’s two Horizon League teams. The first part of the mission was accomplished as Butler crushed UIC 79-52.

UIC led this game for most of the first half, but around 6:30 mark, Butler took over, never looked back and grabbed a 40-27 lead into halftime. They did what they had to in order to keep improving their RPI, winning big.

Because of the opponents’ winning percentage component of the RPI, it was essential that they beat UIC, a team that now stands at 7-15, 2-15 in conference by a very large margin.

By Paul M. Banks

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