Preview: Louisville at Butler

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (2-0) AT BUTLER BULLDOGS (1-1)

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GAME OVERVIEW

Game Time: 2:00 pm ET

Location: Hinkle Fieldhouse: Indianapolis, IN

Television: ESPN3 will stream the game, with Jim Barbar (play-by-play) and Mark Adams (color) calling the action.

Radio: WKRD (101.7 FM) / SIRIUS (195) will broadcast the game, with Jim Kelch (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (color) calling the action.

Officials: Jamie Luckie, Mike Eades, Mike Roberts

Favorite: Louisville by 4

Series History: Louisville and Butler are tied in the all-time series, 5-5 (3-2 in Louisville, 2-2 in Indianapolis, 0-1 neutral). The Cardinals posted an 88-73 victory the last time the two faced each other on Nov. 16, 2010, in Louisville.

Last Meeting: Louisville won 88-73 on Nov. 16, 2010, at the KFC YUM! Center

BUTLER OVERVIEW

Conference: Horizon

2010-2011 Record: 28-10 (13-5)

Preseason Conference Pick: 1st (10 teams)

Returning Starters: 2.5 (Nored started 23 of 36 games but came off the bench at the end of the season)

Head Coach: Brad Stevens, Fifth Year (118-26)

Probable Starting Lineups:

Louisville (2-0) Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown

F 14 Kyle KURIC 6-4 195 Sr. 10.0 4.5 Evansville, Ind.
F 24 Chane BEHANAN 6-6 250 Fr. 12.0 12.5 Cincinnati, Ohio
C 10 Gorgui DIENG 6-11 235 So. 6.5 7.0 Kebemer, Senegal
G 3 Russ SMITH  6-0 160 So. 3.5 2.0 Briarwood, N.Y.
G 5 Chris SMITH 6-2 195 Sr. 8.5 5.0 Millstone, N.J.

 

Butler (1-1) Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown

F 22 Khyle MARSHALL 6-6 212 So. 7.0 2.5 Davie, Fla.
F 44 Andrew SMITH 6-11 240 Jr. 18.5 9.5 Indianapolis, Ind.
G 5 Ronald NORED 6-0 174 Sr. 7.0 3.0 Homewood, Ala.
G 20 Chrishawn HOPKINS 6-1 161 So. 17.0 4.0 Indianapolis, Ind.
G 33 Chase STIGALL 6-3 197 Jr. 5.5 3.0 New Castle, Ind.

 

Quick Team Preview

The national runner-up each of the last two years, Butler returns two starters from its 28-10 squad from a year ago: Center Andrew Smith (6-11, Jr., 8.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg in ‘10-11) and guard Chase Stigall (6-4, Jr., 3.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg).

Butler produced its sixth consecutive 20-win season in 2010-11 and has averaged 29.2 victories over the last five seasons, fourth best in the nation.

The Bulldogs lost their first exhibition game this season, 53-50 to Northern State (South Dakota) on Nov. 2 and their regular season opener at rival Evansville (Indiana) 80-77 in overtime on Nov. 12. 

Located in Indianapolis, Ind., Butler is the alma mater of Ohio State men's basketball coach Thad Matta, Baylor men's basketball coach Scott Drew, and Bobby Plump, the hero of the 1954 Milan High School state championship team of which the story for the 1986 movie Hoosiers was based. That state championship scene was filmed in Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse, which served as the site of the Indiana state championship from 1928-1971, with the exception of the 1943-45 war years..

Situational Stephan Van Treese Nickname:

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Scrappy Van Hinkle (20 year)

NOTABLE

--Peyton Siva is doubtful to play due to a sprained left ankle and it's unclear who will replace him at the point. Likely to see a point guard-by-committee situation, splitting reps between Russ Smith, Chris Smith, Elisha Justice and everyone else sans Gorgui Dieng

--U of L has opened the season with a pair of good defensive performances, limiting both of its opponents to just 48 points each. The last time UofL has yielded fewer than 50 points in three straight games was in 1958 (47, 43, and 49 for Stetson, Alabama, and Wittenberg, respectively, from Dec. 11-17).

--In its four games to date, including the two exhibition games, UofL has an average +12.5 rebounding margin, including a 17-rebound advantage over UT Martin in its opening game (46-29). The Cardinals had just three games with a double-digit rebounding edge during its successful 2010-11 season, with a high of +19 against Gardner-Webb (45-26).

--The Cardinals have had some unfortunate health and eligibility issues in the early stages of this season. Junior forwards Rakeem Buckles (recovering from torn ACL in right knee on Feb. 27) and Stephan Van Treese (left patellar tendon strain) have both missed all of practice since the Cards began on Oct. 14. Buckles participated in his first individual instruction session on Nov. 9 and the Cards are hopeful for a return by mid-December. Van Treese had his first individual workout on Nov. 14, has returned to practice and is available for game duty.

--Junior forward Mike Marra suffered a torn ACL in his left knee against Lamar on Nov. 13 and will miss the remainder of the season. He will have surgery soon to repair the damage and normal recovery time is 9-12 months. Marra had recently made it back on the court after being out from Oct. 25 through Nov. 9 due to a degenerated disc in his back.

--Louisville has a collective 21-10 all-time record against current members of the Horizon League, having faced six of its 10 members (Butler 5-5, Cleveland State 4-0, Detroit 6-2, Loyola-Chicago 4-2, Valparaiso 1-1, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 1-0). Before U of L and Butler played last season, Detroit had been the last Horizon League team the Cardinals faced, with UofL winning 56-48 on Dec. 24, 2005 in Freedom Hall.

--Overall, the Cardinals have a 30-17 record over the last five years on their opponent's home court. Louisville has won 20 of its last 34 on the road, including six against Top 25 ranked opponents.

--This game represents the latter portion of a home-and-home series between Louisville and Butler.

Ridiculously Detailed Game Play Prediction(s): Butler keeps the game close by defending the perimeter and baiting Dieng into foul trouble early. The Bulldogs take a five-point halftime lead on a breakout performance by sophomore forward Khyle Marshall. Louisville gains momentum in the second half by draining back-to-back threes by Kuric and Chris Smith. Russ Smith has three assists and thirteen field goal attempts...and ices the game with free throws. Gorgui blocks four shots and Van Treese Scrappy Van Hinkle dunks once, grabs four rebounds and notches two steals in his season debut. Behanan does not obtain a double-double. The announcers make a big deal out of this. Buckles is best dressed of the street clothes crew, but still looks amateurish compared to Program Assistant and former Cardinal point guard Andre McGee's tailored suit game. The announcers fail to recognize McGee's aesthetic bench presence. Don't you dare do the same, ESPN3.com audience.

Score Prediction: Louisville 65, Butler 59

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