INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Butler Bulldogs , courtesy of @ButlerMBB and Butler head coach Chris Holtmann, announced the 2015-16 men’s basketball non-conference schedule. Coming off a 23-win and nationally-ranked Top 25 season, Butler welcomes nine non-conference opponents to Hinkle Fieldhouse, in addition to all nine BIG EAST Conference foes who also will visit Indianapolis later in the season. The schedule also includes a trip to the 2015 Puerto Rico Tip-Off and a return to the Crossroads Classic.
“We are excited about this schedule,” said Holtmann, who enters his second season as Butler’s head coach. “We have put together a very challenging non-conference schedule and one that should prepare us for what we expect to be a grueling and highly competitive BIG EAST season. This will demand a great deal from us and we are excited about the challenge.”
The Bulldogs will take part in the 2015 Puerto Rico Tip-Off, joining a field that includes Miami, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri State, Temple, Texas Tech, and Utah. The Utes are coming off a Sweet 16 appearance, while Miami and Temple advanced to the NIT Championship Game and semifinals, respectively. The match-ups and game times for the Nov. 19-22 tournament are scheduled to be announced August 6.
Butler opponents visiting Hinkle Fieldhouse include Tennessee of the SEC. Butler looks for revenge against the Volunteers after dropping a contest in Knoxville last season. Rick Barnes is in his first season on the Tennessee sidelines after 17 years at Texas. His last game in charge of the Longhorns came against Butler in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament with the Bulldogs prevailing.
Other than the trip to Puerto Rico, Butler will only travel away from Hinkle on two occasions during the non-conference portion of its schedule. The first is a trip play the Cincinnati Bearcats Dec. 2. Cincinnati advanced to the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament and returns five starters from a season ago. The Bulldogs will also make the quick drive to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis to play the Purdue Boilermakers in the Crossroads Classic Dec. 19. Purdue was an NCAA Tournament team in 2015, losing in the second round to Cincinnati. Butler will look to improve on its 3-1 record at the Crossroads Classic.
The home slate also includes a health dose in-state foes Indiana State (Dec. 5) and IUPUI (Dec. 28). Two additional teams will play exhibition contests at Hinkle as the Bulldogs welcome Holtmann’s alma mater Taylor University (Oct. 31) and Saint Joseph’s (Nov. 7).
The Citadel comes to Hinkle Nov. 14. First-year head coach Duggar Baucom leads the Bulldogs. Prior to arriving at The Citadel, his VMI teams led the nation in scoring six times in an eight-year stretch. VMI also plays at Butler Dec. 7. The non-conference home schedule rounds out with SIU-Edwardsville (Nov. 28) and Southern Utah (Dec. 22).
Butler’s 18-game BIG EAST schedule will be released by the conference office in September. The round-robin format brings all nine conference opponents to Hinkle, while the Bulldogs will also travel to the other nine BIG EAST campuses. For the third consecutive season, BIG EAST play will begin New Year’s Eve.
Butler returns three starters and its top three scorers from last season’s 23-11 team that advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Senior guards Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones earned All-BIG EAST accolades, while junior forward Andrew Chrabascz also averaged double figures for the 2014-15 campaign. Junior point guard Tyler Lewis, a former McDonald’s All-American, is now eligible after transferring from North Carolina State. The Bulldogs’ depth will feature sophomore guard Kelan Martin,sophomore forwards Tyler Wideman and Jackson Davis, graduate transfer forward and guard Austin Etherington and Jordan Gathers, and freshmen big man and guard Nate Fowler and Sean McDermott.
Oct. 31 – Taylor University (**Exhibition)
Nov. 7 – Saint Joseph’s (**Exhibition)
Nov. 14 – The Citadel
Nov. 19, 20 and 22 – Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Nov. 28 – SIU-Edwardsville
Dec. 2 – at Cincinnati
Dec. 5 – Indiana State
Dec. 7 – VMI
Dec. 12 – Tennessee
Dec. 19 – vs. Purdue (**Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse)
Dec. 22 – Southern Utah
Dec. 28 – IUPUI
Chris Fultz is a senior writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter
Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer and the Butler Athletics beat writer for the Indiana Sports Report. Chris Fultz is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler University Athletics and has full media access.
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