Q&A with the Butler beat writer

I sent David Woods of the Indianapolis Star some questions about Butler and he sent me some about Davidson heading into Saturday’s game up at Hinkle. His questions and my answers are over on his blog. My questions and his answers are here:

*** Gordon Hayward: What’s he do well? What’s he do really well? What’s he do just okay?

Hayward, at 6-9, is very versatile wing player. He shot 3-pointers at 45 percent last season and probably had his best game against Davidson, scoring 20 of his career-high 27 points in a span of 10 minutes. He accelerated his rate of improvement by helping the U.S. team win a gold medal in the under-19 World Championship at Auckland, New Zealand. He made the five-man all-tournament team there. Hayward could still be more assertive, especially if he’s the best player on the floor, as he will be in almost every Butler game. He is not yet adept at driving to the basket, although he is getting better at it. And he has become better at rebounding and blocking shots.

*** How many points is Hinkle worth?

Hinkle is great home court, and perhaps worth five or six points. A crowd of 3,000 can sound like twice that many. I'd expect about 6,500 for Davidson. But just about every team is better at home. One odd thing about Hayward is that all of his best games have come on the road. He has never scored more than 18 in a game at Hinkle.

*** One of the major reasons for the consistency of success at Davidson -- the major reason -- is the consistency at the top of the coaching staff: Bob McKillop. He’s going into his 21st season. Not the case at Butler. What’s the secret up there?

Barry Collier revived Butler’s program in the 1990s, and the defense-first, team-oriented system he introduced has remained intact. Collier was succeeded by one of his assistant coaches, Thad Matta. Then Matta was succeeded by an assistant, Todd Lickliter. Then Lickliter was succeeded by an assistant, Brad Stevens. Stevens began with Matta in 2000-01, so Stevens has been a constant throughout the decade. Collier is now the athletic director at Butler and a resource for Stevens.

*** To echo one of your questions: What should Davidson be worried about heading into this game?

If the Bulldogs are making their 3-pointers, they are nearly impossible to beat. But they didn’t shoot well from the arc in their two exhibition games. Their staple is defense.

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