Game Preview: #23 Butler vs. Youngstown State

February 25th, 2009

Youngstown State Penguins

Record: 11-16 (4-8 away)
Conference: Horizon (7-9)
RPI: No. 228 (vs. Butler #20)
Last Five: 4-1

Tip Time: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

Other stats:
Scoring Margin: -1.9
Rebounding margin: +1.4
3-Point %: 33.6
FT%: 64.8

Notes:

With just three victories in their first 10 Horizon League games, Youngstown State found themselves in a familiar position: the bottom half of conference. Same ole Penguins, right? In the words of a certain college football commentator, not so fast my friends. YSU has responded winning four of five HL games, including wins over 2nd-place Green Bay and 4th-place Milwaukee. In their first match up with Butler, YSU stormed back from a 14-point second half deficit but couldn’t finish the comeback, losing 71-79.

Starters

YSU PG Mays, DeAndre 6’2 185 JR
PPG: 11.1, RPG: 4.1, APG: 3.4
Butler PG Nored, Ronald 6’0 170lbs FR
PPG: 3.9, RPG: 3.0, APG: 2.7

Mays is an athletic Junior College transfer from Dallas. He’s made an instant impact for the Guins with his scoring and passing. Meanwhile, Nored was marvelous against Davidson. He’s inconsistent on offense, but has shown some spark lately with drives to the rim. Oh, and ask Steph Curry how good he is on defense.

Advantage: YSU

YSU SG Bright, Kelvin 6’4 185lbs JR
PPG: 11.8, RPG: 2.5, APG: 1.4
Butler SG Mack, Shelvin 6’3 185lbs FR
PPG: 12.0, RPG: 4.0, APG: 3.5

Bright is another JC transfer who has turned the YSU into a competitive team. He scorched Butler for 27 in their first meeting, but doesn’t do much outside of scoring. On the Butler’s side, Mack couldn’t break out of his shooting slump against Davidson. However, he was more active than he has been in a number of games. He scored 22 against YSU in December.

Advantage: Butler

YSU F Parks, Tom 6’6 200lbs SO
PPG: 4.3, RPG: 1.5, APG: 0.5
Butler G Hayward, Gordon 6’8 180lbs FR
PPG: 13.9, RPG: 6.4, APG: 1.9

Parks is no Cherokee. He’s more of a role player than a game changer. The same can’t be said for his counterpart. Butler’s Gordon Hayward is, without question, a game changer, and he showed the nation why against Davidson. Apparently, reader’s of this blog really like him. So does this guy.

Advantage: Butler

YSU F Martin, Sirlester 6’7 210lbs JR
PPG: 9.4, RPG: 7.6, APG: 1.3
Butler F Veasley, Willie 6’3 190lbs JR
PPG: 8.7, RPG: 4.2, APG: 1.3

Sirlester is active down low. He’s the Penguin’s best rebounder and is scoring almost 10 PPG. Watching Butler every game, it appears Veasley has lost his touch from 3-point range. But he’s still shooting 35 percent.

Advantage: Push

YSU C Liles, Jack 6’7 240lbs SR
PPG: 8.3 RPG: 5.5, APG: 0.9
Butler C Howard, Matt 6’8 220lbs SO
PPG: 14.0, RPG: 7.0, APG: 1.2

Liles fouled out in the first meeting with Butler after getting punished by Matt Howard. Here’s an interesting fact: Howard had just one foul at Youngstown and scored 23 points. Hmm, interesting concept.

Advantage: Butler

Bench

YSU
G/F Sulskis, Vytas 6’7 220lbs SO PPG: 10.0, RPG: 3.4, APG: 1.9
G Blocker, Dallas 6’9 235lbs JR PPG: 4.4, RPG: 1.4, APG: 1.3
F Parks, Tom 6’6 200lbs SO PPG: 4.3, RPG: 1.5, APG: 0.5

Butler
G Hahn, Zach 6’0 170lbs SO PPG: 5.6, RPG: 1.4, APG: 0.9
F Butcher, Garrett 6’7 190lbs FR PPG: 2.4, RPG: 1.5, APG: 0.2
G Vanzant, Shawn 6’1 175lbs SO PPG: 3.8, RPG: 1.7, APG: 1.0

Sulskis is a real threat off the bench. He’s scored in double digits in six of the last seven games. For Butler, the loss of Avery Jukes continues to hurt. Nobody wants to talk about it, but what happens in a close game if Howard and Butcher foul out? That could be a major problem come HL and NCAA tournament time.

Advantage: YSU

Final Analysis: YSU is one of the hottest teams in the HL. Their lone loss in the last six games was by four points at Cleveland State. Unlike past years, the Penguins believe they can win at Hinkle. This won’t be an easy game. Butler is slumping a bit in the HL and need to reclaim their conference swagger.

Prediction: Butler 74, YSU 68

Your thoughts: Let’s hear what you have to say about the game!