by Joel Welser
Big Wins: 11/24 vs Texas Tech (81-71), 12/1 Ohio State (65-46), 12/15 vs Florida State (79-68),
Bad Losses: 12/8 at Wright State (42-43), 1/17 at Cleveland State (52-56), 2/23 Drake (64-71)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, Sweet Sixteen loss to Florida
Coach: Brad Stevens (First NCAA appearance)
Mike Green, Senior, Guard, 14.1 ppg, 4.0 apg, 5.8 rpg
A.J. Graves, Senior, Guard, 17.0 ppg, 2.5 apg, 2.2 rpg
Julian Betko, Senior, Guard, 4.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Drew Streicher, Senior, Guard, 4.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Matt Howard, Freshman, Forward
Willie Veasley, Sophomore, Guard, 2.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Pete Campbell, Senior, Forward, 8.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
The Bulldogs have won game after game thanks to their stifling defense and efficient offense. On par with traditional Butler defenses, this group is not flashy. They will not have many steals leading to fast breaks or magnificent blocks that ignite the Butler faithful, but it is straight up tough defense. When they have the ball, Butler only turns it over about ten times per contest.
Having great shooters like A.J. Graves and Pete Campbell certainly helps the efficient offense. Graves averages 13.9 points per game and Campbell adds 10.8. Both hit about three long balls per contest and take a vast majority of their shots from long range. If the shot is not falling, Graves and Campbell will struggle to find another way to put points on the board. However, luckily for the Bulldogs, Graves and Campbell rarely have off days.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Mike Green, a 6-1 point guard, leads the team in rebounding and that is not good. Green is a dynamic scorer, a great floor leader and a very good rebounder for his size, and that says more about the lack of forwards than it does about Green’s ability to rebound. Campbell, a 6-7 forward, spends most of his time on the perimeter and Drew Streicher, who plays at the four spot, is really a wing and does not help out much in the rebounding department. The addition of Matt Howard has helped the overall rebounding of the team, since Howard is a forward who actually hangs out in the paint, but Green still leads the team. With Butler’s style of play, they are going to suffer on the boards, but the more they can control the damage, the better.
Who To Watch:
Julian Betko and Streicher, a former walk-on, will not put up big numbers, but both will be starting. Like just about everybody else at Butler, they can hit the outside shot, but their defense is what keeps them in the lineup. As long as they play solid defense, score a few points, grab a couple boards and dish off an assist or two, Betko and Streicher have done their job. Willie Veasley does not have the size of Betko and Streicher, but the 6-3 wing is a better rebounder and will see plenty of minutes off the bench.
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