Butler (6-3) vs. Eastern Illinois (2-8)
Saturday, Dec. 11; 4PM
Hinkle Fieldhouse; Indianapolis, Ind.
TV: FS1 – @MattSchumacker_ & @JessSettlesHoop
Radio: 1430AM – @MarkMinner & Nick Gardner (@n_gardner)
Varsity Network Radio App, XM380, SiriusXM App 970
Full Notes (PDF) (PDF)
The Bulldogs return to Hinkle Fieldhouse for a Saturday afternoon tip with Eastern Illinois. Butler is 6-3 on the season and comes off an overtime win on the road at Oklahoma Tuesday night as part of the BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle.
THE SERIES: The Bulldogs were scheduled to host Eastern Illinois last season, but the game was canceled due to COVID issues within Butler’s program at that time. The two programs have met six times with Eastern Illinois holding a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series. The teams haven’t met since the 2000-01 season opener (Nov. 18). Butler won that contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse by a score of 90-73. That was Thad Matta’s lone season as the head coach of the Bulldogs; LaVall Jordan was the captain and Team MVP of the 2000-01 Bulldogs, a team that would advance to the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
Eastern Illinois Leads, 4-2
Streak: Butler, W1
At Hinkle: Butler Leads, 2-1
LaVall Jordan (at BU) vs. EIU: 0-0
First Meeting: Butler, 86-71 (12/23/77, at BU)
Last Meeting: Butler, 90-73 (11/18/00, at BU)
• Butler is allowing only 58.8 points per game so far this season, a mark that is 21st nationally.
• Butler owned a 43-30 rebounding advantage in the win at Oklahoma Tuesday.
• Chuck Harris scored a season-high 26 points in the win at Oklahoma.
• Bryce Golden has led the Bulldogs in rebounding in three straight games.
• Butler committed only five total turnovers during the second half and overtime periods combined at Oklahoma.
• Butler’s opponents are shooting only 28 percent from three-point range this season, which is 42nd nationally.
• Aaron Thompson is now third on Butler’s career assists list (474).
• Freshman DJ Hughes had career-highs of six points and six rebounds at Oklahoma in a career-best 23 minutes.
• Christian David has 12 rebounds over his last two games.
• Jair Bolden is shooting 43.6 percent from three-point range this season, a mark that is 49th nationally.
• Myles Tate (torn ACL 3/11) has been cleared to return to game action.
• Butler’s 10 turnovers vs. Saginaw Valley State Nov. 30 matched the team’s season-low.
• Jayden Taylor scored a career-best 21 points in Nov. 24 win over Chaminade.
• Ty Groce scored 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting in the win over Chaminade; the eight made field goals tied a career-high.
• Butler made 12 three-pointers Nov. 13 vs. Troy, the most by the team since hitting 12 against Nebraska in the 2019 NIT.
• Butler was picked to finish sixth in the BIG EAST Preseason Poll by the conference’s head coaches.
• Sophomore Chuck Harris was an honorable mention selection to the Preseason All-BIG EAST team by the conference’s head coaches.
• Butler’s 2021-22 roster includes six players who are entering their fifth or sixth season of college basketball.
• The Bulldogs return 10 of their 11 top scorers from a season ago.
• Butler’s roster returns 97.2 percent of its scoring and 96.2 percent of its minutes played from last season.
HOME SWEET HINKLE: Butler is 52-15 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in LaVall Jordan’s five seasons as head coach of the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have won 63 of their last 65 games at Hinkle Fieldhouse against non-conference opponents.
QUITE THE BATTLE: As part of the annual BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle, the Bulldogs picked up a 66-62 overtime road win Tuesday night at Oklahoma. Chuck Harris led the Bulldogs with 26 points. Butler trailed by 10 points at the half and by 13 early in the second half before clawing all the way back. After Oklahoma forced overtime with a three-pointer with two seconds remaining in regulation, the Sooners took a 62-58 lead in overtime before Butler scored the game’s final eight points.
ON THE DEFENSIVE: Butler is allowing its opponents only 58.8 points per game so far this season, a mark that is 21st nationally. The Bulldogs’ opponents have combined to shoot only 28.2 percent from three-point range, which is 42nd nationally.
BEHIND THE LINE: Butler is shooting 38 percent from three-point range, averaging 8.6 makes per game. The Bulldogs’ three-point percentage is 50th nationally. Butler shot only 32 percent from behind the arc a season ago.
YOUNG GUNS: Both Jayden Taylor and Simas Lukosius got the start in the regular season opener against IUPUI Tuesday night. Freshmen starting in their first Butler game is a rarity. Multiple freshmen starting their first collegiate game at Butler was last done in 2008 (Gordon Hayward, Shelvin Mack, Ron Nored). The only other freshman to start his first Butler game between 2008 and 2021 was Myles Tate in 2020.
TOUGH SLATE: In addition to a true round-robin format that has Butler playing all 10 BIG EAST foes both on the road and at home, the Bulldogs challenged themselves significantly with this season’s non-conference schedule. The slate included Michigan State Nov. 17 in the annual Gavitt Games and a road game at Oklahoma Dec. 7 in the annual BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle. The Maui Invitational (in Las Vegas) featured an opening-round match-up with 2021 Final Four team Houston. Butler and Purdue, which is No. 1 in this week’s AP poll, will meet Dec. 18 in the Crossroads Classic.
HAPPY RETURNS: Butler returns 10 of its top 11 scorers from last season. In all, Butler’s roster returns 97.2 percent of its scoring and 96.2 percent of minutes played from the 2020-21 season. Butler returns five double-digit scorers from a season ago and adds Ty Groce, a graduate transfer from Eastern Michigan. Groce led the Eagles in scoring last season, the sixth player on the Butler roster to average double figures in 2020-21. Butler has six players who will play their fifth season of college basketball during the upcoming campaign — Aaron Thompson, Bryce Nze, Jair Bolden, Christian David, Bo Hodges, and Ty Groce. Of that group, Nze, Bolden and Groce are in their sixth year of college after previously redshirting and now taking advantage of the additional season of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PRESEASON PICKS: The BIG EAST head coaches picked the Bulldogs to finish sixth in the league standings in the preseason poll that was announced as part of BIG EAST Media Day in New York City in October.
WHAT WILL HE DO FOR AN ENCORE?: Butler’s Chuck Harris was recognized as an honorable mention selection to the 2021-22 All-BIG EAST preseason team. Harris was one of three unanimous picks on the 2020-21 All-BIG EAST Freshman Team, joining Posh Alexander of St. John’s and Marquette’s Dawson Garcia (Garcia has since transferred to North Carolina). Harris led the Bulldogs in scoring during the 2020-21 season, becoming the first freshman to lead the team in scoring since the 1979-80 season (Tony Warren). Harris led the team in scoring in 17 of his 24 games played, scoring 20 or more points six times.
Harris became the third Bulldog to earn a spot on the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team since Butler joined the BIG EAST prior to the 2013-14 season. Kamar Baldwin was also a unanimous selection in 2016-17 and Andrew Chrabascz earned a spot on the 2013-14 team.
ON THE WAY: Connor Turnbull, a 6-10 forward/center from Missouri, has signed a national letter of intent to join the Bulldogs beginning with the 2022-23 season.
Turnbull, from Saint Paul, Mo., stars for Fort Zumwalt North High School, where he earned Missouri Basketball Coaches Association All-State honors for Class 6. As a junior, Turnbull averaged 14.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game, leading the team to a 27-4 record and the Class 6 state semifinals. He shot 34 percent from three-point range. Turnbull helped Brad Beal Elite to a runner-up finish at the 2021 Peach Jam as part of the Nike EYBL circuit.
BULLDOGS ANNOUNCED AS PART OF 2022 BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS FIELD: The Bulldogs will participate in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis for the third time as the 2022 bracket has been announced. Celebrating its 11th year of elite collegiate tournament play, the 2022 field will include Butler, BYU, Dayton, Kansas, North Carolina State, USC, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Butler was previously part of the Battle 4 Atlantis field in both 2014 and 2018. The Bulldogs went 2-1 in each event.