For Brad Stevens, scheduling games for his Butler men's basketball team appears to be all about relationships.
The Bulldogs were set to begin their 2012-13 season with an exhibition game against his alma mater, DePauw University, which is coached by Stevens' former college coach Bill Fenlon. However, that was altered Thursday, and another familiar face will compete at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Butler announced that it will now face Marian University on Oct. 27 because of a scheduling conflict by the Tigers. The Knights are coached by a former Butler coach and player, Todd Lickliter.
“DePauw had a conflict and was unable to play on our scheduled date,” Stevens said in a release. “So we've agreed to move them back a year, and we'll play them in the 2013-14 season. We've replaced them this year with Marian.”
The game will bring Lickliter back to Hinkle Fieldhouse, where he served as Butler's head coach for six seasons. He compiled a 131-61 record, three Horizon League championships and three trips to the NCAA Tournament with the Bulldogs. He led Butler to the Sweet 16 in 2002-03 and 2006-07. He was named head coach at Marian this past summer.
The game with Marian will be Butler's first 2012-13 competition. The Bulldogs return three starters and 11 letterwinners from last year's 22-15 squad, which advanced to the semifinals of the postseason College Basketball Invitational. Among the returnees are leading scorer Andrew Smith (10.9 ppg) and leading rebounder Roosevelt Jones (6.0 rpg). Stevens also has four newcomers, including Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke. A 6-0 guard, Clarke was the leading scorer for the Razorbacks two years ago. Stevens, who served as an assistant coach under Lickliter, is beginning his sixth season as Butler's head coach.
Butler will play two exhibition games against local foes before opening the regular season Nov. 10. After the Marian contest, the Bulldogs will host Indianapolis on Nov. 3. Butler will open the regular season in Hinkle Fieldhouse against Elon.