Cleveland State 55

(21-12, 12-6 Horizon)

(11) Butler 70

(29-3, 16-2 Horizon)

    9:00 PM ET, March 11, 2008

    Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

    1 2 T
    CLEV 34 2155
    #11BUT 38 3270

    Top Performers

    Cleveland St: J. Bullock 21 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Stl

    Butler: M. Green 24 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Cleveland St.-Butler Preview

    Butler isn't sure what to expect from Cleveland State on Tuesday night.

    The top two teams in the Horizon League split a pair of close games in the regular season, each winning on its own court. Now, the tiebreaker will decide the conference tourney championship and an automatic spot in the NCAA tournament.

    No. 12 Butler (28-3) is likely a lock for an at-large bid already, even with a loss, but Cleveland State (21-11) almost certainly needs a victory to advance.

    Playing Butler is motivation enough.

    "When we lost to Butler here, we haven't lost since then," Cleveland State coach Gary Waters said of their second regular-season game last month. "Our team made a pact that we were going to get to the league championship and beat Butler. That's all we talk about."

    The Vikings are in the Horizon finals for the first time. Butler, which lost in the tourney championship to Wright State last year, has won four conference titles and has finished second five other times.

    "We still haven't played a great game," said Butler guard Mike Green, whose 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists led the Bulldogs to a 66-50 semifinal win over Illinois-Chicago on Saturday night.

    The problem lately has been rebounding, especially on the defensive boards, and Cleveland State was the second-best offensive rebounding team in the conference during the regular season.

    "We gave up 19 offensive rebounds (to UIC)," Green said. "And you're not going to win most nights when you give up 19 offensive rebounds. Like coach (Brad Stevens) said, we're going to go back to the drawing board and we're going to get better."

    Cleveland State, seeded second behind Butler in the conference tournament, advanced with a 78-73 win over Valparaiso in the semifinals. The Vikings had only five offensive boards but grabbed almost every Valparaiso miss and had a rebounding advantage of 34-27.

    "I'm not sure what their game plan is, but we'll be ready for them," Butler's Pete Campbell promised.

    "This is March; this is what the whole season is building up to. All the hard work we've put in, this is where we need to capitalize."

    Cedric Jackson scored 22 points and J'Nathan Bullock added 19 in Cleveland State's semifinal win over Valpo.

    "I feel comfortable," Jackson said of the rematch with Butler. "All we have to do is stick to what we do best and take our time and execute on offense and defense and we will be OK.

    "Knowing our past history, it feels good to be where we are right now ... but we still have business to take care of," Jackson said.


    School Info

    Conference Horizon Big East
    Nickname Vikings Bulldogs
    Type Public Private

    2007-08 Season

    Jan 17, 2008 @CLEV 56, BUT 52Recap
    Feb 16, 2008 @BUT 51, CLEV 46Recap
    » Mar 11, 2008 @BUT 70, CLEV 55Recap