Indiana vs. Butler Gameday

HoosierNation.com previews the matchup pitting Indiana (6-2) and Butler (6-4), which tips off Friday at 6 p.m. at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Game Particulars: Indiana vs. Butler
No. 18/17 Indiana (6-2) squares off with Butler (6-4) at 6 p.m. Friday at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Indiana owns a 35-12 edge in the all-time series, including a 62-50 win in the most recent encounter in 2003. Butler did hand the Hoosiers a 66-64 setback the last time they met at Conseco, upsetting the Hoosiers in the 2001 Hoosier Classic finale.

IU is coached by Mike Davis, who is in his sixth year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 102-69 career mark. Indiana has been to the postseason in four of Davis' five seasons (three NCAA invitations). Butler, meanwhile, is coached by Todd Lickliter, who owns an 88-45 record in five-plus seasons at Butler. Lickliter has led Butler to two NCAA Tournaments (2002, 2003) but his last two Butler squads failed to earn postseason invitations and went a combined 29-29.

The game will be televised by ESPN Plus, with Mike Adamle (play-by-play) and John Laskowski (color commentary) calling the match-up.

Indiana 2005-06 Schedule

Butler 2005-06 Schedule

PROBABLE STARTERS
#18 Indiana (6-2)
PG- Lewis Monroe (6-5, 192, Sr.) – 4.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.9 apg
SG-Marshall Strickland (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 13.9 ppg, 2.5 apg, 54.3% 3 pt. %
WG – A.J. Ratliff (6-2, 183, So.) – 5.2 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 0.2 apg
PF - Robert Vaden (6-5, 225, So.) 13.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.5 spg
C - Marco Killingsworth (6-8, 270, Sr.) – 19.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.9 apg, 65.3% FG%

Butler (6-4)
PG- Avery Sheets (6-0, 170, Sr.) – 9.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.2 apg, 39.6% 3 pt. shooting
SG- A.J. Graves (6-1, 155, So.) – 14.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.4 apg, 37.5% 3 pt. shooting
WG- Bruce Horan (6-5, 227, Jr.) – 9.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.3 apg, 41.5% 3 pt. shooting
PF- Brandon Polk (6-6, 210, Sr.) 14.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 53.6% FG shooting
C – Brandon Crone (6-6, 225, Jr.) – 12.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.4 apg

Indiana 2005-06 Statistics

Butler 2005-06 Statistics

INJURY UPDATE
Indiana – D.J. White, Sean Kline and A.J. Ratliff have all returned to the lineup, but James Hardy is now sidelined indefinitely. IU Coach Mike Davis said Wednesday the 6-7, 215-pound forward is out with a hamstring injury, and he'll likely be off the practice floor for 2-3 weeks.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Who Dictates the Matchups? – Indiana's size advantage is significant. Butler starts a trio of guards who are generously listed at a hair over six feet, while their frontline consists of a pair 6-6 forwards. If the Hoosiers opt to play D.J. White and Marco Killingsworth on the frontline together, the Hoosier duo will each have a couple of inches and 30-40 pounds on their foes. So, will the Hoosiers go with a smaller lineup to try to make sure it matches up well with the perimeter-oriented Bulldogs, or will they go big and try to force Lickliter to play frontline reserves such as Julian Betko and Brian Ligon more than he'd like? Butler fared well against a big Michigan team, dropping a close 78-74 game and only getting out-rebounded 28-26. But Michigan's frontcourt of Courtney Sims and Graham Brown doesn't pose the same sort of threat. Sims can score points in bunches, but Brown isn't much of an offensive weapon.

Perimeter Defense - Statistically speaking, these are two of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country. Butler shoots 39.1 percent from behind the arc and averages 8.8 made 3-pointers per game, while Indiana shoots 47.1 percent from deep and is averaging 10 3-pointers per game. Their tasks on the perimeter, though, will be different. Butler will have to recover quickly to match-up with Indiana's shooters on the perimeter. Whether Butler plays man-to-man or zone, it will have to either collapse on the IU big men or double team them, so when they kick it back out Butler will have to find IU's shooters quickly. Indiana, meanwhile, doesn't have the same issues of double teaming in the post, but IU's guards have to be aware that the Bulldog guards are a threat to shoot from 25 feet and in. Horan, Graves and Sheets are all tremendous long-range shooters, and all are Indiana natives, meaning they'll be looking for a big effort against the Hoosiers. Nearly 40 percent of Butler's scoring comes on 3-pointers, so Indiana has to minimize the open looks the Bulldogs get.

Will Indiana match Butler's intensity? - Indiana can expect the same sort of effort from Butler that it got from Indiana State earlier this month. Can Indiana match it for 40 minutes? They'll need to, particularly on the defensive end. Indiana has the size and athletes to make it extremely difficult for Butler to get much going on the offensive end. To do that, though, Indiana's guards will have to be ready to fight through screens and chase the Bulldog shooters all over the floor. If they're willing to do that, Indiana will be able to win this game comfortably. If they don't put forth that kind of effort, Butler is more than capable of keeping this game close.

Does Indiana protect the ball? - If there's one thing that's bothered IU Coach Mike Davis in recent weeks, it's the number of turnovers the Hoosiers have been committing. Indiana turns the ball over more than 15 times per game, and Davis has pointed out on a handful of occasions that a large percentage of those miscues have been of the unforced variety. Butler, meanwhile, has been very adept at creating turnovers on the defensive end. Butler's foes are committing 16.2 turnovers per game, and the Bulldogs are averaging seven steals per game. Those kinds of miscues can also be costly on the other end of the floor. Butler doesn't run much, but when it gets the opportunity to push the pace after a long rebound or a turnover, they're willing and able. That often times leads to good looks from the trailing shooters, which is something Indiana needs to avoid.

QUOTABLES
"They're a very good basketball team. They're similar to Indiana State, maybe a better overall shooting team. They have three or four guys that can shoot outside. It will be a tough game. It will be a difficult game for us to win if we don't concentrate and play hard. Hopefully our guys won't be thinking about going home for Christmas. It's going to be a tough game for us."– IU Coach Mike Davis.

"They're a really, really good shooting team. They have three guys on the perimeter that shoot the heck out of that thing, and we have to do a good job of getting out and contesting. No open, uncontested looks. We can't afford that. They have an inside guy in Polk who does a nice job of getting your attention in the post, hoping they can draw you and then they can kick it out to those shooters. Crone, he's a little like Vaden in that he's a difficult matchup for you because he can step out and shoot it, or he can put it on the floor." – IU Assistant Head Coach Donnie Marsh.

"Butler is another dangerous in-state game. A really good team. They can shoot the ball, and they're going to come in and battle us. We'll have to bring our ‘A' game. We know how hard they are going to play. Indiana State played us hard every second they were on the court, and Butler is going to do the same thing. They really want to win this game, and I think we're going to need to want it more."-Marshall Strickland.

"Another thing they do is they've done a great job of controlling tempo in every game they've played. They run on opportunity. If it's a long rebound and they have numbers they'll go. Otherwise, they'll try to control the tempo. We have to do a good job of dictating the tempo of the game, getting it to where we want it, and see if they can play at that level." – IU Assistant Head Coach Donnie Marsh.

DID YOU KNOW…
Indiana has knocked down at least 10 3-pointers in 38 games during Mike Davis' 171-game tenure, and the Hoosiers are 30-8 in those games. Indiana has reached the mark five times this season (Nicholls State, Florida A&M, Western Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Charlotte) and has won each game….Marshall Strickland needs 16 points to pass Dean Garrett for 51st on IU's all-time scoring list (854 points)…Strickland is also closing in on some legendary Hoosiers on the school's all-time 3-pointers made list. With 148 career 3-pointers, Strickland stands ninth and needs three to pass Jay Edwards for eighth, and 11 to pass Calbert Cheaney for seventh…Marco Killingsworth is averaging 24.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in IU's three nationally-televised games (vs. Duke, Kentucky and Charlotte), and 16.8 points in local broadcasts…Indiana ranks in the top five nationally in four offensive categories: field goal percentage (2nd-.537), 3-point percentage (2nd-.471), assists (2nd-20.6) and 3-pointers (4th-10.0)…Robert Vaden has started 37 consecutive games, the longest streak at IU since Jared Jeffries started 70 straight from 2000-02)…Seventy is the magic number for Butler Coach Todd Lickliter, whose Butler teams are 49-5 when they score 70 or more, and 39-40 when they don't…Butler held Elon University to 12 first-half points in Monday's 86-40 victory, the fewest points an opponent has scored in a half against the Bulldogs since the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament when they led Wake Forest 41-10 at intermission…Bulldog senior Bruce Horan has hit at least one 3-pointer in 57 straight games.

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