Indianapolis - Butler released its non-conference schedule last week and it is a very friendly slate for the young Bulldogs with just 2 true road games, while hosting 6 opponents in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler will also will have 4 neutral site games while participating in the Crossroads Classic and Old Spice Classic.
The schedule is certainly favorable for the development of a young team. The Bulldogs will not have a true road game outside of Indiana until they travel to Xavier on January 4.
InsideTheDawgPound takes a look at the non-conference schedule breaking down each month and rating them on a scale from 1-10, where 1 is the easiest and 10 is the toughest.
11/9 - Lamar 8:00pm FOX Sports 2
11/16 - Princeton 8:00pm FOX Sports 2
11/19 - Vanderbilt 6:00pm FOX Sports 1
11/23 - @ Ball State 2:00pm
11/28 - Old Spice Classic (Orlando, FL) Washington State 2:00pm ESPN2
11/29 - Old Spice Classic (Orlando, FL) TBD
Analysis: The Bulldogs will start out with three straight games at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler will host Lamar, Princeton, and Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt before heading to Ball State for its first road game. Then the Bulldogs travel to Orlando to participate in the 2013 Old Spice Classic.
Currently Butler's most difficult games in the month of November with be either Washington State or Vanderbilt, but the true test could come in the 2nd round of the Old Spice Classic taking on either Oklahoma State or Purdue.
Washington State is also rebuilding, but returns second leading scorer Royce Woolridge, junior guard DaVonte Lacy who averaged 10.5 points per game last season, and 6-10 center D.J. Shelton who finished second on the team in rebounding. The Cougars finished 13-19 and lost in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Rating: 5 (Potentially 6 depending on game in Old Spice Classic)
12/1 - Old Spice Classic (Orlando, FL) TBD
12/7 - North Dakota 6:00pm FOX Sports 1
12/9 - Manchester 8:00pm FOX Sports 1
12/14 - Crossroads Classic (Indianapolis, IN) Purdue 6:00pm BTN
12/21 - @ Evansville 3:05pm
12/28 - NJIT 1:00pm FOX Sports 2
Analysis: Butler's non-conference schedule in December looks much like it did in November. The Bulldogs will play three home games, one road game, and two neutral site games. Butler will begin the month finishing up the Old Spice Classic. They return home for two games against North Dakota and Manchester. The Bulldogs will then travel to downtown Indianapolis to take on Purdue, who they could be facing for the second time depending on the results of the Old Spice Classic, before traveling to Evansville. Butler then wraps up the non-conference schedule against NJIT before heading into Big East play on New Years' Eve.
Butler's schedule in December is extremely weak. It may get more difficult if the Bulldogs were to play in the Old Spice Classic final against Memphis. If that doesn't happen, Butler will have a very manageable schedule.
Butler plays an improving Purdue squad that finished last season 16-18 and returns one of the best returning big men in college basketball in A.J. Hammons. The 7-foot Hammons averaged 10.7 points and 6.1 rebounds last season.
Arguably its most difficult test could be traveling to Evansville to take on the Purple Aces. While Evansville didn't make the NCAA Tournament last season, they did finish 21-15 and an impressive 15-3 at home.
Rating: 4 (Potentially 5 depending on game in Old Spice Classic)