Butler, NCAA Championship runner up, will continue their Chicago trip Saturday with a match against Loyola. The Rambler woes continue in the Horizon League as they dropped an ugly blowout, 69-48 to Valpo last night at the Gentile Arena. Not much good came out of yesterday's one-sided contest other than seeing some offensive life in senior Jordan Hicks. Valpo continued its hot streak and adjusted superbly in Loyola's new home.
To go along with the 0-8 conference record, Loyola has now lost it's past six games and the losses may have begun to catch up on Porter Moser. Porter is doing a fantastic job with the direction of the team and athletic program and will see a winning team during his tenure as the Ramblers head coach. Not this year, for sure.
Loyola (5-13, 0-8 Horizon) vs. Butler (11-9, 5-3 Horizon)
Date: January 21, 2012 - Gentile Arena
Game Time: 1:00 p.m. CT
TV: Comcast SportsNet Chicago, www.horizonleague.com
Radio: WLUW 88.7 FM , www.wluw.org
When the Horizon League is mentioned, one team usually comes to mind: Butler Bulldogs. Butler is the prototypical Mid-Major success story taken to a whole new level. What head coach Brad Stevens has been able to do during his time with the team will go down in the college basketball record books forever. All the glam aside, the Bulldogs haven't gotten off to the type of start they are capable of, but are still a top level basketball team. The 5-3 conference record doesn't really indicate bad play on behalf of Butler, but instead a sign of the Horizon League heading upward. Game after game, visiting teams repeat how tough of a conference this is and that each school is making strides to become even better. Heck, the NCAA Championship has had a Horizon League team in it the past two years!
The Bulldogs have won their past two, most recently edging out city team UIC, 57-49. Key wins on Butler's schedule this year are Stanford, Milwaukee, and Big Ten Purdue.
Player Spotlight: Center Andrew Smith, 6 foot 11 inches, will give the Ramblers all kinds of trouble in the post. With no starter taller than 6'8" for the Ramblers, guarding a big man like Smith is no easy task. Ryan Broekhoff and Kevin Van Wijk had a field day for Valparaiso in the paint, scoring at will last night. Smith is averaging 10.5 points per game for Butler and shoots over 50% from the field. Smith can consistently hit the three ball as well, notching a 38% average from behind the arc.
If anyone is deserving to pull off a big upset over Butler, it is the Ramblers. Loyola has held its own against the perennial powerhouse, losing both its home games by less than three points last season. In each game the Ramblers overcame deficits and made a late run, but fell just short in the end. 10 of the past 12 meetings have gone in favor of the Bulldogs and a win over the Indiana foe hasn't come to Rogers Park since 2006.
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