Brandon Miller

Makeover of Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse nearing completion

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For many of the programs that have seen their revenue grow due to a switch in conferences, the renovation of current facilities (and even the building of new facilities) tends to be one of the side effects. However even with the added revenue there’s still the need for fundraising in order to complete those projects, because regardless of conference affiliation donors willing to help finance projects are of great importance.

At Butler donors stepped up in a big way when the school asked for donations for its project to renovate Hinkle Fieldhouse, with the school having announced back in January that it had surpassed its goal of raising $16 million. At that time more than $17.1 million had been raised for the project, which is intended to make Hinkle more modern while also preserving its history.

Thursday Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News provided a look at some of the changes, which include a four-sided scoreboard and brand new locker rooms.

The seating area is being renovated so that there’ll be only a few bleachers remaining and the chairback seats installed are more comfortable and modern. That will cost the arena, which previously held 10,000 for basketball, some seating capacity.

Butler also has built new weight rooms, training rooms and therapy areas for use by the basketball team and other Bulldogs athletes.

For some traditionalists the changes to Hinkle may be something they’re hesitant to embrace but in this current era of college athletics sparkling facilities have an impact on multiple aspects of a program, including recruiting and even non-conference scheduling. The changes being made to Hinkle give head coach Brandon Miller something to pitch to recruits as he looks to build Butler into a program that can compete for Big East championships.

With Roosevelt Jones lost for the season before it even began Butler struggled in its debut season in the Big East, finishing the 2013-14 campaign with a 14-17 record (4-14 Big East). Leading scorer Kellen Dunham (16.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg) returns, but the Bulldogs will have to account for the loss of second-leading scorer Khyle Marshall (14.9, 4.8) in 2014-15.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: