NCAA March Madness Preview – Butler Bulldogs

Butler Bulldogs

Big East (23-8, 12-6)

 by Joel Welser

It did not take long for Butler to prove that they can beat anybody on any given day. This is a Bulldogs squad that knocked off Northwestern, Arizona, Utah, Cincinnati and Indiana in November and December. Coach Chris Holtmann kept the good times going in the tough Big East too and Butler will be a team to watch in March.

Big Wins: 11/25 vs Arizona (69-65), 12/10 Cincinnati (75-65), 2/22 at Villanova (74-66)

Bad Losses: 12/7 at Indiana State (71-72), 12/29 at St. John’s (73-76), 1/28 Georgetown (81-85)

Coach: Chris Holtmann

Why They Can Surprise:

Butler rarely changes. This is a team that takes care of the ball, takes smart shots and plays solid defense. Tyler Lewis is a big reason why Butler continues to protect of the ball so effectively. He has not emerged as major scoring threat, but Savage will take care of the ball and find his teammates. Kelan Martin, Andrew Chrabascz, Kamar Baldwin and Avery Woodson will do much of the scoring. Martin leads the way with 61.1 points per game and he, along with Woodson, are the team’s top outside shooters. Chrabascz can knock down shots too, which makes it very difficult to defend the 6-7 senior. Baldwin is just a freshman, but he is a very interesting player. At 6-0, he is not big, but he has long arms and will use them to play great defense. He is not afraid to attack the basket either.

Why They Can Disappoint:

But the lack of size at Butler is a problem this year. Last season the Bulldogs boasted a very big backcourt and enough size in the frontcourt to get the job done. That is not the case anymore and the result has not been beneficial for Butler on the glass. Tyler Wideman has some decent size in the paint and players like Martin and Chrabascz are decent rebounders, but nobody is a dominate force on the glass and Butler does not have the size on the perimeter to make up for it like they did last season. The defense is good, but Butler can have trouble finishing their defensive play by grabbing the rebound. Eventually giving up second chance opportunities is going to catch up to this team.

Probable Starters:

Kethan Savage, Senior, Guard, 8.1 ppg, 1.5 apg

Kamar Baldwin, Freshman, Guard, 10.0 ppg, 1.4 apg, 3.6 rpg

Kelan Martin, Junior, Forward, 16.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg

Andrew Chrabascz, Senior, Forward, 11.0 ppg, 3.2 apg, 4.6 rpg

Tyler Wideman, Junior, Forward, 7.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg

Key Role Players:

Avery Woodson, Senior, Guard, 8.6 ppg

Tyler Lewis, Senior, Guard, 6.4 ppg, 3.9 apg

Nate Fowler, Sophomore, Center, 5.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg

Sean McDermott, Freshman, Forward, 2.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 76.9 (97th in nation, 5th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 68.6 (82, 3)

Field-Goal Percentage: 47.9 (31, 4)

Field-Goal Defense: 44.3 (204, 6)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (137, 5)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.8 (91, 5)

Free-Throw Percentage: 74.1 (51, 3)

Rebound Margin: 0.8 (161, 5)

Assists Per Game: 13.3 (192, 8)

Turnovers Per Game: 10.1 (7, 1)

Recent Postseason Appearances:

2016    NCAA Round of 64 win over Texas Tech

2016    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Virginia

2015    NCAA Round of 64 win over Texas

2015    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Notre Dame

2013    NCAA Round of 64 win over Bucknell

2013    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Marquette

2012    CBI     First Round win over Delaware

2012    CBI     Quarterfinal win over Pennsylvania

2012    CBI     Semifinal loss to Pittsburgh

2011    NCAA Round of 64 win over Old Dominion

2011    NCAA Round of 32 win over Pittsburg

2011    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over Wisconsin

2011    NCAA Regional Final win over Florida

2011    NCAA National Semifinal win over VCU

2011    NCAA National Final loss to Connecticut

2010    NCAA Round of 64 win over UTEP

2010    NCAA Round of 32 win over Murray State

2010    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over Syracuse

2010    NCAA Regional Final win over Kansas State

2010    NCAA National Semifinal win over Michigan State

2010    NCAA National Final loss to Duke

2009    NCAA Round of 64 loss to LSU

2008    NCAA Round of 64 win over South Alabama

2008    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Tennessee

2007    NCAA Round of 64 win over Old Dominion

2007    NCAA Round of 32 win over Maryland

2007    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Florida

*all team stats through 3/5

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