BUTLER MBB RELEASE
Butler (#10 Seed, 20-13) vs. Arkansas (#7 Seed, 23-11) NCAA Tournament - First Round GAME 34: Friday, March 16 | 3:10 p.m. ET Detroit, Mich. | Little Caesars Arena TV: truTV | Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel & Allie LaForce Radio: 107.5 FM & 1070 AM | @MarkMinner & @n_gardner @ButlerMBB | ButlerSports.com
THE SERIES: Butler and Arkansas have met only once previously as men's basketball opponents...and it was more than 87 years ago. The Bulldogs took a 37-21 win in Indianapolis on Jan. 2, 1931. It was Tony Hinkle's fifth season as Butler's head coach. Butler Fieldhouse was less than three years old at the time; it was renamed Hinkle Fieldhouse in 1966 in honor of Hinkle, who coached basketball for 41 seasons at Butler, while also serving as the university's athletics director, football coach and baseball coach during different portions of his career. * Fifteen of Butler's 33 games so far this season have come against teams in the 2018 NCAA Tournament field. * Senior Kelan Martin earned All-BIG EAST First Team honors, one of three unanimous selections by the league's head coaches. Martin led the BIG EAST in scoring during conference play at 23.6 points per game. * Kamar Baldwin's 32 points against Seton Hall in the BIG EAST semifinals were a career-best. It marked the second 30-point game of his career. * Butler committed only six turnovers against Seton Hall in the BIG EAST quarterfinals, the tenth time this season with single-digit turnovers. * Butler is 18-1 this season when shooting a better percentage than its opponent (the Bulldogs out-shot Villanova, 48.1-47.5, but lost in the BIG EAST semifinals). * Kelan Martin is nine points shy of 2,000 for his career. * Tyler Wideman leads the BIG EAST in field goal shooting (.685). * Butler has 20 wins for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons. * The Bulldogs have made the NCAA Tournament field in 10 of the last 12 seasons. Seniors Wideman and Martin are the third Butler senior class to play in four straight NCAA Tournaments. * Butler is 13-1 this season when allowing its opponent less than 70 points. TOURNEY TALK: Butler is in the NCAA Tournament field for the 16th time overall, including 10 of the last 12 seasons. This is also Butler's fourth consecutive tournament appearance as seniors Tyler Wideman and Kelan Martin join the graduating classes of 2010 and 2011 as the only classes in Butler history to play in four NCAA Tournaments. Butler enters the 2018 NCAA Tournament with a record of 23-15 in its prior 15 appearances. Butler is one of six BIG EAST teams to earn an NCAA Tournament berth. A PERFECT 10: This is the second time in program history that Butler has been a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The other time was 2001 when Butler defeated No. 7 seed Wake Forest, 79-63 (after famously being up 43-10 at halftime) before losing to No. 2 seed Arizona, 73-52. LaVall Jordan was a senior on that 2000-01 team. He had 15 points and seven rebounds in the game against Wake Forest. MOTORING BACK TO DETROIT: Barry Collier, now the Director of Athletics at Butler, led the Bulldogs to the 1997 NCAA Tournament as the program's head coach. That appearance was the first since 1962 for Butler. The Bulldogs were a No. 14 seed in 1997, losing 86-69 to No. 3 seed Cincinnati. That game was played in Detroit. Butler and Detroit were both members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference/Horizon League from the 1980-81 through 2011-12 seasons. FOND MEMORIES: In his only season as the head coach at Milwaukee, LaVall Jordan entered the 2017 Horizon League Tournament at Little Caesars Arena as the No. 10 seed. The Panthers then proceeded to win three games in the tournament before losing to Northern Kentucky in the championship game. WELL DESERVED: Senior Kelan Martin earned All-BIG EAST First Team honors, one of three unanimous selections by the league's head coaches. Martin led the BIG EAST in scoring during conference play at 23.6 points per game. Since the BIG EAST reconfigured prior to the 2013-14 season, only one player has eclipsed Martin's conference-games only average from this season: consensus National Player of the Year Doug McDermott in 2013-14 (27.7ppg). Martin previously earned second-team honors as both a sophomore and a junior. Martin has four 30-point games this season, all coming against BIG EAST opponents. He also has 19 games of scoring 20 or more points, including 12 of the team's 18 conference games. The 6-7 forward now has 1,991 career points. With his 35 points March 3 at Seton Hall (including tying a season-best 25 in the second half), he passed both Matt Howard and Dunham to move into third place on Butler's all-time scoring list. His 687 points during his senior campaign are already fourth on Butler's single-season list. KAMAR-VELOUS PERFORMANCE: In Butler's 75-74 win over Seton Hall in the BIG EAST quarterfinals, sophomore Kamar Baldwin scored a career-high 32 points. Baldwin made 12 of his 20 attempts from the field. The 32 points bettered his previous mark of 31, set at Georgetown in the BIG EAST opener this season (Dec. 27). Those were two of his five performances this season against BIG EAST opponents when Baldwin scored 25 or more points. GAME-WINNER: Senior Tyler Wideman's offensive rebound and putback with less than four seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner in Butler's 75-74 win over Seton Hall in the BIG EAST quarterfinals Thursday at Madison Square Garden. In Butler's two BIG EAST Tournament games, Wideman made all eight of his attempts from the field. He scored 10 points in each contest. A GENTLEMAN...AND A SHOOTER: Tyler Wideman was selected as the recipient of the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award by the league's head coaches. Wideman is the third Bulldog (in Butler's five seasons as a BIG EAST member) to be selected as the conference's Sportsmanship Award recipient. He joins Kellen Dunham (2016) and Alex Barlow (2015). Wideman has been an exemplary performer for Butler on and off the court. Off the court, the senior forward has been an intern at a local Jewish Community Center, working with preschool kids, retirees and Special Olympians. He also volunteers with teammates to conduct basketball clinics for children with special needs. On the court, Wideman is averaging 9.4 points and 5.1 rebounds. He ranks first in the BIG EAST in field goal shooting, making 68.5 percent. He is fifth in blocked shots on Butler's career list and is on pace to shatter Butler's single-season and career field goal percentage marks. Wideman made a career-best eight free throws (on eight attempts) March 3 against Seton Hall. On the season, Wideman is shooting 83 percent at the line (and 86 percent in BIG EAST play). The 86-percent mark is sixth in the conference. As a freshman, Wideman shot 41.5 percent at the free throw line. FIGHT IN THE DAWG: Butler's win in the BIG EAST quarterfinals over Seton Hall included erasing a 14-point, first-half deficit. Earlier in the season, Butler overcame a 15-point deficit with 3:46 to play in regulation in an overtime win over Ohio State, and posted a 20-point comeback in an overtime win over Georgetown in the BIG EAST opener. TIGHT GRIP: The Bulldogs committed only six turnovers against Seton Hall in the BIG EAST quarterfinals. The Bulldogs are averaging only 11.2 turnovers on the season, which is second in the BIG EAST. That number drops to 10.6 per game in BIG EAST play, also second in the BIG EAST. Butler has 10 games this season when the Bulldogs have committed single-digit turnovers; eight of those have come since the calendar turned to 2018. Butler has a +3.0 turnover margin this season, which is second in the BIG EAST and 30th in the country. Kamar Baldwin>, at 1.5 steals per game, is fifth in the country in swipes. CONNECTED TO EVERYONE: One player shares ties to both Arkansas and Butler. Rotnei Clarke scored 1,306 points in three seasons (2008-11) at Arkansas. He holds the school's single-game scoring record with his 51-point performance against Alcorn State in 2009, which also included a record 13 3-pointers. After sitting out one season as a transfer, Clarke led Butler in scoring (16.9 points) and helped the Bulldogs get into the 2013 NCAA Tournament. His 115 three-pointers in his only season as a Bulldog are the second-best mark in Butler's single-season history. THREE IN A ROW: Butler is one of just 13 programs to win at least one game in each of the last three NCAA Tournaments. Joining the Bulldogs with at least one win in 2015, 2016 and 2017 are the following: Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oregon, Villanova, Virginia, Wichita State, Wisconsin, and Xavier. SEEING 20/20: Butler is currently 20-13, posting its 12th 20-win season in the last 13 years. Entering the 2017-18 season, the Bulldogs were one of only 18 programs that had posted at least 11 20-win seasons during that 12-year stretch. TOUGH DRAW: North Carolina won the 2017 NCAA title, marking the sixth time in Butler's 15 tournament appearances that the Bulldogs' NCAA run has ended at the hands of the eventual national champion or national runner-up. YOU WANT THEM ON THAT LINE; YOU NEED THEM ON THAT LINE: Butler went 11-for-13 (85 percent) at the free throw line in the BIG EAST semifinals loss to Villanova. Butler has shot 80 percent or better from the line 16 times this season, including seven of the last 11 games. As a team, Butler is shooting 77 percent from the free throw line this season. That percentage improves to 79 percent in BIG EAST play. Butler is in the Top 20 nationally in free throw shooting. EFFICIENCY MATTERS: Tyler Wideman leads the BIG EAST in field goal percentage in both all games (.685) and in conference play (.656). As a team, Butler is 18-1 this season when shooting a better percentage from the field than their opponent. BEING A PEST: Freshman Aaron Thompson had a career-best three blocks March 3 at Seton Hall. The 6-2 guard also tied a career-high with three steals. It was his second straight game with three steals.