Duquesne plays at Butler tonight at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. That fact isn't lost on many of the Dukes who have been looking forward to this trip since the schedule came out.
For one thing, it is an opportunity to play against one of the best teams in Division I as the Bulldogs are ranked No. 15 and are 12-1 at home this season.
Butler (21-5, 8-3 Atlantic 10) features one of the top 3-point shooters in Division I in Rothel Clarke (84 of 196, 43 percent) and has four players averaging double figures. The Bulldogs are also known for their lock-it-down defense.
This is a chance to play against one of the premier programs -- Butler was the NCAA runner-up in 2010 and 2011 -- but the fact that the game is at Hinkle makes it even more special because of the building's history.
Duquesne (8-17, 1-10 Atlantic 10) vs. No. 15 Butler (21-5, 8-3), 7 p.m. today, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis.
- TV, Radio:
Root Sports, WPGB-FM (104.7).
Has lost 12 of 13 games. ... A freshman has led the team in scoring in each of past six games. ... Has had three freshmen start past three games. ... Has one Indiana native on roster -- freshman Jeremiah Jones is from Gary. ... Jones, Derrick Colter and Quevyn Winters, three freshmen, account for 45 percent of the scoring.
Has defeated then-No. 1 Indiana, Marquette, North Carolina and Gonzaga. ... Is 12-1 at home. ... Senior class is 52-9 at home. ... Is 81-12 at home under current coach Brad Stevens.
- Hidden stat:
Ten of Dukes' 17 losses have come against teams in the top 100 of the Pomeroy ratings percentage index (RPI).
Hinkle Fieldhouse, which used to be called Butler Fieldhouse, was built in 1928 and is the sixth-oldest college basketball arena still in use. Duquesne (8-17, 1-10) has played at Butler before in the early 1990s but this is the first time these two teams will meet as Atlantic 10 members.
Butler Fieldhouse was renamed Hinkle Fieldhouse in 1966 after longtime Butler coach Paul "Tony" Hinkle and has been declared a national historic landmark.
It also is where the movie "Hoosiers" was filmed. The movie was based on the 1954 Indiana state championship game in which a small school, Milan, upset a much larger school, Muncie Central, to win the title.
"I am really big on reading up about basketball history and love to study the history of the game, so this is a special trip for me because I know this history of the building," Duquesne freshman Quevyn Winters said. "I actually played there once before so I have seen it and it is pretty cool. But anybody that loves or knows basketball history would obviously want a chance to play in this arena.
"I think there have been a lot of great players over the years who have played in this arena and great games, and when you think of it in those terms, yeah, it is something special."
Winters, from Milwaukee, was at a college prospect showcase at Hinkle when he was a sophomore in high school and said the opportunity to play in that building was a great experience.
Playing the Bulldogs, however, may not be as much fun as taking a tour of Hinkle or reading about the Milan victory against Muncie. They are a team that, when healthy, can play with anyone in the country.
Butler has defeated Marquette, North Carolina, Indiana, Northwestern and Vanderbilt, teams from power conferences. The Bulldogs also beat Gonzaga, who is ranked No. 3 this week.
The Bulldogs have had some injuries. The latest being to 6-foot-11 center Andrew Smith (11.2 points per game), but they have won a lot of games on the strength of the way they defend.
"No question that is what they do well, they make it very hard to score," Winters said. "You watch them play and that is the thing that jumps out -- they play hard on defense and they really defend you for the entire possession and don't let up.
"We want to play the same way they do and become a great defensive team, but when you play against them you have to really do a good job of scoring when you have opportunities because they are not going to give up many."
Winters is one of three freshmen -- along with Derrick Colter and Jeremiah Jones -- who are slowly becoming the Dukes' best players as all three are among the team's top five scorers.
Often freshmen hit a wall late in the season because it is much longer than they are used to playing but Winters said that hasn't been the case. In fact, they have only gotten stronger as the season has progressed.
"I feel like we're getting better every game, we are starting to settle in, we are starting to understand the college game and make plays," he said. "I think actually we're fine in terms of fatigue or whatever, we could keep playing for a while and really, these next games, the final five games we play, will all be a learning experience for us and we will just keep trying to improve."mobilehome - duquesnesports
Paul Zeise: email@example.com and Twitter: @paulzeise.