Butler's offensive makeover

Rotnei Clarke and offensive rebounding have remade the Bulldogs

Updated: December 16, 2012, 12:24 PM ET
By John Gasaway | Basketball Prospectus

Rotnei Clarke, Will SheeheyAP Photo/Michael ConroyRotnei Clarke has given Butler another reliable option on the offensive end.

Take a bow, conventional wisdom. Coming into this season, you said Butler would be really good because the only thing this weak-on-offense team lacked in 2011-12 (perimeter shooting) would now be supplied by Arkansas transfer and Oklahoma high school scoring legend Rotnei Clarke.

That is precisely what has come to pass. Clarke is indeed the Bulldogs' featured scorer, and he's hitting 45 percent of his 3s. And the Bulldogs as a team over their past three games -- against IUPUI, Northwestern and Indiana -- have drained 46 percent of their attempts from out there, a burst of marksmanship that can be termed only as John Groce-like. (Butler can certainly appreciate that term of approbation.)

That 3-point shooting, helped along by a dominant display on the offensive glass, proved to be the difference on Saturday, as the Bulldogs edged the No. 1-ranked and previously unbeaten Hoosiers 88-86 in an overtime thriller at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. On an afternoon when his players sent Indiana to the line no fewer than 38 times, Brad Stevens needed his team to make every last one of those 11 3s (on 24 attempts). Think of it this way: If Butler goes "just" 10-of-23 from beyond the arc, it loses.