College Basketball Nation: Saints-Bulldogs 022010

Butler comes back, crushes Siena

February, 20, 2010
2/20/10
12:59
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- More to come later, but a quick, postgame analysis from Butler 70, Siena 53:

  • It's official: The Saints must win the MAAC tournament title to play in the NCAA tournament.
  • Impressive job by Butler winning without injured double-digit scorer and jack-of-all-trades Willie Veasley, and with minimal contribution from No. 3 scorer Matt Howard due to fouls. Gordon Hayward's versatility is very impressive.
  • Siena point guard Ronald Moore came in leading the nation in assists but had a miserable day offensively. He scored just one point, whiffing from the field (0-for-9). Star Edwin Ubiles wasn't much better, going 2-of-11 for four points.

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Siena leads Butler at halftime

February, 20, 2010
2/20/10
12:08
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Halftime notes from Siena 31, Butler 28:

  • After being on the ropes a bit early, Siena regrouped and used its pressure defense to shut down the Bulldogs in the final 10 minutes of the half. Butler scored five points in the final 10 minutes as a nine-point lead turned into a three-point deficit. Siena's three-quarter-court trap forced the Butler guards out of their comfort zone, and center Matt Howard (two points, no rebounds, three turnovers) was unable to get anything done against interior double teams.
  • While Butler was lighting it up from the outside with four early 3-pointers, the guy who kept Siena in the game early was guard Clarence Jackson. The Saints' fourth-leading scorer had 14 of Siena's first 18 points.
  • Butler clearly is missing the versatile contributions of swingman Willie Veasley, who is missing Senior Day with a sprained knee suffered earlier in the week. Veasley is a double-figure scorer, the team's third-leading rebounder, a capable 3-point shooter and a good defender -- the Bulldogs will need him at full speed come March.
  • Butler sophomore Gordon Hayward showed some flashes of the game that brought a few curious NBA scouts to Hinkle. The smooth forward had eight points, four rebounds and three assists in the first half. He handled the ball fluidly with both hands, made a pair of 3s and gave Butler its only real strength on the defensive glass.

Pregame thoughts on Siena-Butler

February, 20, 2010
2/20/10
10:52
AM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Greetings from my favorite building in basketball, a must-visit shrine for every hoops romantic. It's old, cavernous, almost completely lacking in modern amenities -- in a word, perfect. Close your eyes and you can see Bobby Plump hitting the winning shot for Milan in 1954.

  • An 11 a.m. tipoff isn't ideal for maximum student-section rowdiness, but the Butler students must have skipped breakfast to get here and get ready for their national TV opportunity. They are here, and they are ready -- including the guy in the banana bodysuit with a blue mustache painted on his face. Whatever it takes, young man.
  • As for the game: Talk about a clash of styles. The Butler Bulldogs are the sultans of the slowdown, with a Ken Pomeroy adjusted tempo that ranks 279th fastest nationally. The Siena Saints like to push it, with an adjusted tempo ranking of 38. Obviously, whichever team dictates tempo to its own comfort level stands a great chance of winning.
  • What the teams lack in style similarities, they make up for in balance. Siena has four starters averaging between 13.6 and 16.3 points. Butler has four between 10 and 15.9 per game.
  • Butler is always an accommodating host, but might not be too happy to see me here. Brad Stevens is 80-14 as coach of the Bulldogs, but 0-3 with me in the house.

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