#49 Butler Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Butler Bulldogs

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #49
Conference Rank: #5 Big East

Butler Team Page#49 Butler Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Butler Basketball Tickets

This is where the strength of the Butler program takes over. Not long after the Bulldogs officially joined the Big East, Coach Brad Stevens split for the NBA. Butler did what they always do and hired from within to promote Brandon Miller to the top coaching spot. This is still a team that will play smart basketball and share the ball extremely well. That will never change no matter who is standing on the sidelines at Hinkle.

2012-13 Record: 27-9, 11-5 (Atlantic 10)
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Brandon Miller
Coach Record: 0-0 at Butler, 0-0 overall

Who’s Out:
But there is another surprising change that, at least for now, could prove more important than the change of conference and the change of coach. Roosevelt Jones is out for the year with a wrist injury. He was supposed to be the floor leader after averaging 10.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in 2012-2013. Any way you look at it, this is a huge loss, but it is even worse because of the expected losses the Bulldogs also have. The two players that averaged more points per game than Jones, Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith, are also gone. Clark totaled nearly 17 points per contest and was one of the best long range shooters in the country. It was Smith who provided the interior scoring. Chase Stigall and Emerson Kampen provided a few quality minutes, mostly off of the bench.

Who’s In:
Coach Miller is not going to have to get too much out of his freshmen, but there are minutes to be had off of the bench and this is a talented group who is capable of filling the void. Steven Bennett, Michael Volovic, Elijah Brown and Rene Castro will bolster the backcourt. Brown is a smart shooting guard who is developing into a tough player. He can score in a variety of ways and will at least provide a nice spark off of the bench. Castro, a 6-2 point guard, could work his way into the regular rotation if he can help the Bulldogs improve on their disappointing 13.2 turnovers per game. The frontcourt is where Butler really needs some bodies and the hope is Nolan Berry and Andrew Chrabascz can at least eat up a few minutes and a few fouls as freshmen.

Who to Watch:
Despite all of the losses, Butler does have a pretty experienced probable starting five. Alex Barlow, a former walk-on, started 23 games as a sophomore and averaged 1.9 assists. He is not going to be a major scoring threat, but Barlow can run the offense efficiently. Much of the scoring will fall on the shoulders of Kellen Dunham. The 6-6 sophomore averaged 9.5 points even though he usually gave way to Clarke, Jones and Smith when it came to scoring. Dunham is a great outside shooter, but now he will have to start using his size to attack the basket and emerge as a multi-faceted scoring threat. Khyle Marshall will be the new leader of the team in Jones’ absence. The 6-6 senior forward is amazingly efficient when it comes to scoring, knocking down nearly 57 percent of his attempts in 2012-2013. Marshall is not a shooter, but he will be a consistent double figure scorer. Kameron Woods was the first big man off of the bench a year ago and could step into the starting power forward spot if Coach Miller has to play big with Marshall at the three. Woods is the best rebounder on the team and will block a few shots here and there. Erik Fromm will be the big body under the basket. He is also the one returning forward who can step outside and knock down the long ball. That is exactly what Smith did and Fromm will be a fine replacement for Butler’s lost center.

Final Projection:
No other returning player averaged double figures in minutes last season, but that does not mean talent is lacking. Jackson Aldridge has spent a couple years down the bench, but the Australian has the potential to turn into a quality point guard. Devontae Morgan, a 6-3 combo guard, played in just 18 games as a freshman, but with depth needed at the two guard position, Morgan will get an opportunity to provide an offensive spark off of the bench. Andy Smeathers has had some big games over the last couple of years even though he totaled a mere 48 minutes in 2012-2013. Butler has a history of finding those players down the bench when they need production. Right now they need at least a couple players to step up and play a big role off of the bench. In some cases the freshmen may be more talented, yet do not be surprised if it is Aldridge, Morgan or Smeathers come into their own and give Coach Miller some quality depth to work with.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Alex Barrow, Junior, Guard, 2.3 points per game
Kellen Dunham, Sophomore, Guard, 9.5 points per game
Khyle Marshall, Senior, Forward, 9.6 points per game
Kameron Woods, Junior, Forward, 4.5 points per game
Erik Fromm, Senior, Forward, 3.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.3 (119th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.9 (102, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.0 (85, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (117, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (118, 9)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.7 (123, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.6 (171, 10)
Rebound Margin: 7.3 (11, 1)
Assists Per Game: 12.9 (150, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (169, 9)


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