For those who are not sports savvy, glancing at a basketball recap and seeing a bunch of numbers and figures can be intimidating.
Luckily, this article can help those people to understand the meaning behind the numbers and to explain the game itself.
At the top of the box score, the team names are listed, usually along with their overall records and—in college basketball—conference records.
The second team listed is the home team.
At the top of every box score is the scoring breakdown. If the only thing someone wants to know is which team won the game, he or she should look no further than the top of the page.
The scoring is broken down into halves—first half, second half and then the total score.
Next the players are listed with their respective jersey numbers and game statistics. The first five players listed were that team’s starters.
Every subsequent player is a player who logged playing time by coming off the bench.
To the right of a player’s name are his or her playing position (Pos) and his or her individual statistics.
From left to right, the statistics that are recorded are: minutes played (Min), field goals made versus field goals attempted (FG), 3-point baskets made versus 3-point baskets attempted (3PT), free throws made versus free throws attempted (FT), offensive rebounds (REB-O), defensive rebounds (REB-D), total rebounds (REB), assists (ASST), steals (STL), blocks (BLK), turnovers (TO), personal fouls (PF) and total points (PTS).
“Not every number matters a lot, but a big disparity or a large number for an individual are the ones that stick out,” David Woods, the Butler men’s basketball beat writer for the Indianapolis Star, said.
One thing to keep in mind is that a 3-point attempt counts as a field goal attempt, but a field goal attempt is not a 3-point attempt.
At the bottom of a box score is the team totals, where each player’s individual stats are added and displayed.
Here it is easy to view and determine a team’s shooting percentage. A squad shooting around 40 percent from the field is considered average, while the average marks for 3-point baskets and free throws are 35 percent and 75 percent, respectively.
At the very bottom of every box score are other facts about the game, including if any player or coach received a technical foul, the officials who refereed the game and the attendance.
For more practice on reading box scores, check out some similar to the one below on the Butler athletics website, www.butlersports.com.
The Butler men’s basketball team is headed back to the Final Four despite a January and February full of experts spouting opinions to the contrary.
The doubters had their reasons.
First, Gordon Hayward left. Then, senior Willie Veasley couldn’t be replaced. And surely losses at Louisville, Xavier and a three-game losing streak that culminated at Youngstown State had proven the Bulldogs (27-9) were no longer among the nation’s elite.
But Butler has again done what they seem to do so well—prove others wrong.
Four NCAA tournament wins and millions of busted brackets later, the No. 8 seed Butler has punched a ticket to Houston, where they will play the No. 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth Rams.
“It’s a tribute to the Butler system,” sophomore center Andrew Smith said. “When you lose a great player like Gordon Hayward, people are going to underestimate you, but we’ve been able to turn it around.”
It took a full team effort to get Butler back to the Final Four. Roles had to be realigned and new obstacles had to be overcome.
Senior forward Matt Howard and junior guard Shelvin Mack have been at the front of the pack.
While many nationwide have continued to focus on Howard as a ‘turtleneck sock-wearing,’ nerdy Ichabod Crane,” he has continued doing what he loves to do most—win basketball games with his “brothers.”
Howard is averaging 16.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game during the 2011 NCAA tournament. He also had game-winning shots in the Bulldogs’ second- and third-round wins.
Mack has been right with Howard in the upper eschelons of tournament statistics. His 21.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game during the March tournament run earned him the Southeast Region MVP.
This season, Smith has given some room for Mack and now Howard to work on the perimeter.
A 6-foot-11-inch graduate of local Covenant Christian High School, Smith has successfully played the post position in February and March. He doesn’t always blow up the stat sheet, but he does provide size against large opponents and allows teammates to play to their strengths.
Defense has been a huge part of the Bulldogs’ return to the Final Four with senior guard Shawn Vanzant and junior guard Ronald Nored being the keys to that effort.
Their ability to guard the perimeter and corral quick point guards, like Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor and Florida’s Erving Walker, have forced deep, difficult shots from opponents and allowed other parts of the scouting report to be executed.
Bench play has also been key in this year’s deep tournament run. When Smith got into foul trouble, Mack rolled an ankle or a spark was needed, the bench was there.
Junior forward Garrett Butcher, senior guard Zach Hahn, freshman guard Chrishawn Hopkins and freshman forward Khyle Marshall have been the support system in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans.
Each had a performance that got the Bulldogs through tough times.
Butcher defended the middle against Old Dominion. Hahn kept things close against Florida in the first half.
Hopkins dished out a no-look assist and then made a 3-pointer in the second half against Florida. Marshall grabbed seven offensive rebounds against the Gators.
The bulk of the work has been done by Howard, Mack, Smith and Vanzant, but a handful of other Bulldogs have each had their part in overcoming a wave in the NCAA tournament’s open sea.
And of course, Butler head coach Brad Stevens has been the glue to bring the pieces together.
“I think he’s one of the best in-game coaches in country,” Nored said. “He does a good job of analyzing teams by numbers first and then getting a feel for how they play.
“He shows us that the little details add up to the big picture.”
Rams: The New “Giant Killers”
Somehow, Stevens, 34, won’t be the youngest head coach in the game.
Shaka Smart, 33, leads the Rams—the “hottest” team in the country and yet still a team that barely made it into the field of 68.
They share more than youth, though. Both have a strong passion for the game, according to Hahn.
The Rams (28-11) have a five-game winning streak, but all of those wins are in the NCAA tournament and against “bigger,” or more major, conferences.
Consider the prestige of the Rams’ victims during this year’s tournament: No. 11 seed Southern California (Pacific-10), No. 6 seed Georgetown (Big East), No. 3 seed Purdue (Big Ten), No. 10 seed Florida State (ACC) and No. 1 seed Kansas (Big 12).
Butler is not from a major conference, but that shouldn’t temper VCU’s ability to play as the underdog. No experts expected the Rams to be where they are now, much like none of them picked Butler to be winner of the Southeast Region.
Stevens called humility a core principle of the Butler program, and that should keep the Bulldogs from overlooking a team that others have in March.
The five days prior to the national semifinal may be what Stevens and the Bulldogs need to prepare for the otherwise surprising Rams.
The matchup epitomizes March Madness and the seemingly changing landscape of college men’s basketball, one in which conference affiliation, media exposure and training facilities aren’t determining factors of how deep a team can go in the tournament.
One of these two unlikely foes—Butler or VCU—will be playing in the national championship game Monday night in Houston against a team from a major conference (Kentucky or Connecticut).
The Butler-VCU national semifinal game tips Saturday at 6:09 p.m.
A 74-71 overtime victory against the No. 2 seed Florida Gators makes the Bulldogs champions of the NCAA tournament’s Southeast Region.
After the game, junior guard Ronald Nored even shouted those same famous words, which preceded senior guard Zach Hahn shouting, “Your dogs are back, woof woof!”
Butler advanced to its second consecutive Final Four, just one year after losing the national championship game by two points.
“I’m incredibly proud of these guys,” Butler head coach Brad Stevens said. “They carried their coach today in a big way. I got out-coached today big time, but our assistants did a great job and our players did a great job.
“We’re really lucky that they’re Butler Bulldogs.”
Florida and Butler were both previously undefeated in NCAA Regional Finals—Butler 1-0 (2010) and Florida 4-0 (1994, 2000, 2006, 2007)—so something had to give.
The Gators caved and the Bulldogs advanced to Houston where they will face the winner of the VCU-Kansas game tomorrow night.
Defeating a tested Florida men’s basketball program wasn’t the only history Butler made.
Butler won its first overtime game of the season, having lost the first three.
Butler is also the first non-Bowl Championship Series school to make consecutive Final Fours since UNLV in 1990 and 1991.
To make such history, Butler had to overcome a lot to punch a ticket to Houston.
Florida senior center Vernon Macklin had 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting in the game, and senior forward Alex Tyus had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton was hard to stop in the second half and scored 17 points on the Bulldogs.
“I was asked earlier do you talk about going to the Final Four, or trying to win a national championship game, and the answer is no,” Stevens said. “We talk about how to guard a cross screen, which we didn’t do very well, and how to guard on-ball screens, which we didn’t do very well at the start.
“But we stayed together, stayed the course, figured it out, and just played resiliently.”
Senior forward Matt Howard and junior guard Shelvin Mack echoed Stevens’ thought, both saying that the win was a team effort.
“We talked about not having any regrets,” Howard said. “If we’re talking about offensive rebounding, don’t have any regrets not going [for the ball].”
Butler countered with positives of their own, Mack’s shooting, team defense and the bench being the most pivotal of them all.
Mack led all scorers with 27 points, which he accumulated on 8-of-20 shooting with four 3-pointers. His 1,490 career points surpassed Jon Neuhouser’s and are now 11th on Butler’s all-time scoring list.
The Bulldogs also held Florida to 25-of-57 (43.9 percent) shooting making this the Gators’ first 2011 NCAA tournament game in which they did not shoot at least 45 percent.
Gators’ All-American senior forward Chandler Parsons was held to five points, and junior guard Erving Walker shot 1-of-10 from the field, making only one of his seven 3-pointers attempted.
That lone made shot gave the Gators a one-point lead with 141 remaining in regulation but was answered 20 seconds later by a Mack long-distance shot
Butler also received strong play from its bench.
Freshman guard Chrishawn Hopkins epitomized Butler’s great bench play.
During a timeout with 7:37 left in regulation, Brad Stevens told his team, “Score, get a stop, then score.” Hopkins listened and facilitated.
After sophomore center Andrew Smith passed an offensive rebound to Hopkins, the freshman made a no-look pass to Howard for a layup.
Then following a missed Boynton jumper, Hopkins received a pass from a driving Mack and sank a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs within four points.
From then on, momentum belonged to Butler, who was then in process of overcoming an 11-point deficit.
Freshman forward Khyle Marshall also had an impact off the bench and was especially necessary as Smith got into foul trouble and eventually fouled out. Marshall scored 10 points and grabbed seven offensive rebounds against the longer and older Gators.
Butler out-rebounded Florida 41-34, and Marshall’s seven offensive rebounds were nearly half of the team’s 16.
“I thought we had some great effort plays from our freshmen,” Howard said. “Our bench was good for us today.”
Marshall even created a key three-point play late in the second half after one of his offensive grabs.
“It was remarkable—a high, high basketball play,” Stevens said. “Very few guys can do it. He was so quick off the floor and so high.”
The play was indicative of the Elite 8 game’s physical nature.
“I think it was two teams really playing hard and playing aggressive,” Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. “Really, I think they won the battle when the ball was up in the air, and I think that was the difference in the game.”
“[Butler] had great, great heart tonight.”
One such hustle play game when Butler led 72-71 with 19 seconds remaining. Boynton missed a 3-pointer and players from both teams came down with a rebound, resulting in a jump ball which favored the Bulldogs.
From then, Butler had a tactical advantage in the game. Two Mack free throws created the eventual final score and the final seconds melted away after Nored got a defensive rebound and threw the ball toward the court’s opposite end.
Butler will know its next opponent once the Rams and Jayhawks face off. That semifinal game will be played Saturday at a time yet to be determined.
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