Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix Record: 14-5 (4-3 away)
Conference: Horizon (6-1)
RPI: No. 79 (vs. Butler #9)
Sagarin’s: No. 64 (vs. Butler #14)
Best Wins: @UWM (W 77-75), Clev. St (W 80-65)
Notable Losses: @Loyola (L 62-60), Rollins College (D-II) (L 75-58)
Notes: In recent years, Wisconsin-Green Bay has failed to live up to preseason expectations. This season, though, GB has bucked the trend thanks in part to the top offense in the League. “They run a lot of set plays, so you’re not going to master what they do,” UWM Coach Rob Jeter told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You’ve got to challenge on the shot, because they can make them.” Indeed they can. The Phoenix lead the HL in both field goal and 3-point field goal percentage (Butler is 2nd). Five players on the team average 9+ points per game. Surprisingly, the team’s leading scorer—Ryan Tillema—comes off the bench. Since missing the first 12 games of Green Bay’s season with an injury, the versatile Tillema is averaging 16 points.
Other stats: Scoring margin: +7.5 Rebounding margin: +0.6 Free Throw Percentage: 79% Turnover ratio: +1.89 3-point percentage: 39%
Starters UWGB PG Fletcher, Rahmon 5’10 165lbs SO PPG: 9.3, RPG: 2.4, APG: 3.8 Butler PG Nored, Ronald 6’0 170lbs FR PPG: 3.5, RPG: 2.9, APG: 2.6 Fletcher is coming off a successful freshman campaign and has avoided a sophomore slump. He appears undersized but he’s speedy and strong. He shoots extremely well for a guard (51 percent) and has a knack for slicing to the rim. Meanwhile, it’s been a tough go for Nored lately. He went scoreless in the Dawgs’ two-game trip to Chicago. It’ll be nice for his confidence if he can see a couple shots fall against GB.
Advantage: UWGB UWGB SG Cotton, Troy 6’1 180lbs JR PPG: 11.4, RPG: 2.7, APG: 1.2 Butler SG Mack, Shelvin 6’3 185lbs FR PPG: 13.1, RPG: 3.8, APG: 3.7 Cotton is a sharp shooting guard from the Milwaukee city conference. Don’t expect him to have an impact inside the perimeter, though. Seventy percent of his shots come from behind the arc. Mack’s road trip was spectacular. After lighting up Loyola for 20 points, Mack Attack came two assists and two rebounds short of a triple-double against UIC. He’s shown the ability to bust games open in Butler’s favor by scoring in bunches.
Advantage: Butler UWGB F Schachtner, Mike 6’9 215lbs SR PPG: 11.2, RPG: 4.7, APG: 0.9 Butler F Hayward, Gordon 6’8 180lbs FR PPG: 13.0, RPG: 6.6, APG: 1.9 Schachtner’s numbers are a bit down this season, but he’s still a threat to erupt on any given night. He has one of the best mid-range jumpers in the Horizon, and GB will run a number of sets to get him open at the elbows. Meanwhile, courtesy of Butlersports.com: “Gordon Hayward is the only player in the Horizon League who ranks in the "Top 10" in the league in scoring (9th, 13.0), rebounding (4th-tie, 6.6), field goal shooting (7th, .468), three-point field goal shooting (1st, .476), free throw shooting (4th, .781), three-point field goals (3rd, 2.3), steals (7th, 1.8) and blocked shots (8th, 0.9). Hayward also ranks second in the league in defensive rebounds (5.1).” Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008-09 Horizon League Newcomer of the year! Also see Gordon Hayward here.
Advantage: Butler UWGB F Evans, Terry 6’5 195lbs SR PPG: 9.9, RPG: 5.4, APG: 2.8 Butler F Veasley, Willie 6’3 190lbs JR PPG: 8.6, RPG: 4.1, APG: 1.4 Evan’s is arguably the most athletic player in the Horizon League. He has an incredibly long wing span and will soar for dunks and block shots into the stands. Other times, he does incredible stuff like this. All of this might not matter if he is guarded by Veasley. (Look for Willie to match up with Tillema or Schachtner as well). You won’t see a better defense clinic than the one Willie put on in Chicago. He held the HL’s first and third leading scorers to a combined nine points in two games. Sick.
Advantage: Push UWGB F Berry, Randy 6’9 225lbs JR PPG: 7.3, RPG: 5.9, APG: 0.8 Butler C Howard, Matt 6’8 220lbs SO PPG: 13.8, RPG: 6.6, APG: 1.1 Berry is UWGB’s top post presence and rebounder. Howard was quiet at UIC due to foul trouble and UIC’s zone. Look for Howard to get a lot more touches against the next zone defense Butler sees.
Advantage: Butler Bench UWGB G/F Tillema, Ryan 6’8 215lbs SR PPG: 16.0, RPG: 4.3, APG: 1.8 F Tang, Chop 6’6 220lbs JR PPG: 8.7, RPG: 4.2, APG: 1.1 G Eaton, Brent 6’5 200lbs FR PPG: 3.4, RPG: 0.6, APG: 0.4 Butler G Hahn, Zach 6’0 170lbs SO PPG: 4.9, RPG: 1.7, APG: 1.0 F Jukes, Avery 6’8 215lbs JR PPG: 4.4, RPG: 2.1, APG: 0.4 G Vanzant, Shawn 6’1 175lbs SO PPG: 3.0, RPG: 1.9, APG: 1.1 Tillema is the total package. His game is similar to Gordon Hayward’s in that he has size and is a deadly outside shooter. What sets him apart from Hayward (for now) is that he is confident taking it to the rim. Butler will need a better effort from its bench than it got at UIC. One point will do it. (They laid a big goose egg in the scoring column against UIC).
Advantage: UWGB Final Analysis: This is Butler’s biggest conference game to date. And it might be the toughest HL opponent the Bulldogs face all season. Green Bay is experienced and lethal on offense. Butler can survive a big game from one of GB’s top scorers, but must not let more than one GB player get hot. On the offensive side, a repeat performance from UIC will spell a big L for the Bulldogs. Don’t expect another 17-point half, though. Matt Howard will have a big game in a close win.
Prediction: Butler 71, Green Bay 65
YOUR TURN: Are you going to watch the game? Who do you think will win? Why is Green Bay nicknamed after a mythical bird? Let’s hear it.