Butler rallied in the 2nd half to defeat Ball State on Saturday. InsideTheDawgPound takes a look…
Old Spice Classic Preview: Butler
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Conference: Big East
Home Venue: Hinkle Fieldhouse
Head Coach: Brandon Miller (1st season, 4-0)
Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2013
2012-13 Record: 27-9, 11-5
2012-13 Postseason: NCAAs, Round of 32 loss to Marquette
2013-14 Record: 4-0 (results below in order)
- W, 89-58 vs. Lamar
- W, 70-67 vs. Princeton
- W, 85-77 vs. Vanderbilt (OT)
- W, 59-58 at Ball State
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
G Alex Barlow (5-11, 187, Jr.)
G Kellen Dunham (6-6, ,185, So.)
F Khyle Marshall (6-6, 216, Sr.)
F Kameron Woods (6-9, 200, Jr.)
F Erik Fromm (6-8, 223, Sr.)
BY THE NUMBERS
Leading Scorers: Khyle Marshall & Kellen Dunham, 15.8
Leading Rebounder: Kameron Woods, 9.0
Leader in Assists: Alex Barlow, 3.3
Team Points Per Game: 75.8
Points Conceded Per Game: 65.0
STATE OF THE TEAM
(As written by InsideTheDawgPound.com's Jordan Goetzke)
Butler enters the Old Spice Classic, under new head coach Brandon Miller, unbeaten at 4-0. Despite the unblemished record, the Bulldogs come into the tournament with a lot to prove. They have won three of four games by 10 points or less, including an overtime victory over Vanderbilt, while playing just one game away from Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Achilles' heel this season has been free throw shooting. The Bulldogs have traditionally shot the ball well from the free throw line, including 69.4% last season. This season Butler is connecting on just 59.2% of their free throws, which has resulted a failure to put teams away down the stretch.
Butler also continues to try to find itself on offense. The Bulldogs have traditionally had guards that have driven their offense with long-distance shooting, but that isn't the case at this point. They are shooting just 32.4% from 3-point range, which ranks 214th in the country. Sophomore shooting guard Kellen Dunham is tied for the team lead in scoring at 15.8 points per game but is shooting only 36.5% from the field. Freshman guard Elijah Brown, Butler's second best scorer from the perimeter, is averaging 8.8 points per game and shooting just 38.7%.
With the guards struggling to score consistently from the perimeter, Butler has turned to the frontcourt for increased offensive rebounding and to stabilize the offense. Senior forward Khyle Marshall is tied for the team lead in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game, while shooting 63% from the field. He is also feasting on the offensive glass, averaging 3.2 offensive rebounds per game (7.8 total).
The most consistent player has been junior Kameron Woods. The 6-foot-9 forward has had a presence not only on offense, but on the defensive end as well. Woods is averaging 11 points, 9 rebounds (2.8 offensive), 2 blocks, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals. Woods size and length could be Butler's key to contending in the Old Spice Classic, as well as in the Big East.
Even with the question marks on offense, Butler continues to find ways to win, most notably with their defense. The Bulldogs are forcing 15 turnovers per game, while committing just 8.5. Their ability to take care of the ball has been a staple for Butler teams over the past decade and continues to be a key to their success.
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