#51 Butler Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Butler Bulldogs

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #51
Conference Rank: #4 Big East

Butler Team Page#51 Butler Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Butler Basketball Tickets

Butler struggled through a very rough 2013-2014 campaign. They won just four games in Big East play and many were very close, disheartening losses. However, the return of Roosevelt Jones will make all the difference. He sat out the season with a wrist injury, but the 6-4 forward averaged 10.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a sophomore two years ago. For somebody who is considered a glue guy, those are great numbers. He is the type of player who can turn those close losses into close wins and get this Butler program back where they belong.

2013-14 Record: 14-17, 4-14
2013-14 Postseason: none
Coach: Brandon Miller
Coach Record: 14-17 at Butler, 14-17 overall

Who’s Out:
Losing Khyle Marshall is significant though. He was the team’s second leading scorer at 14.9 points per game and was one of the more efficient scorers in the Big East. The Bulldogs will miss the 6-6 forward’s scoring ability and his 4.8 rebounds per game. Elijah Brown spent his freshman season as the Bulldog’s sixth man, averaging 6.8 points per game. He will spend his sophomore season at New Mexico. Eric Fromm was a part-time starter during his senior season. He was considered the big man who could stretch the defense with his outside shooting ability, but that shooting ability took a slump last season. Role players Rene Castro, Michael Volovic, Nolan Berry and Devontae Morgan are also gone. None of those guys played in more than 18 games last season or averaged double figures in minutes.

Who’s In:
Second year coach Brandon Miller has brought in a decent freshmen class that includes forwards Jackson Davis, Kalen Martin and Tyler Wideman. Those three will compete for minutes, but the addition of Indiana transfer Austin Etherington has Butler fans more excited. The senior transfer is eligible immediately after earning six starts for the Hoosiers last season. Etherington probably will not come to Butler and light it up, but he is an experienced 6-6 forward who can provide experienced depth.

Who to Watch:
Roosevelt will step into the starting lineup and join returning starters Alex Barlow, Kellen Dunham, Andrew Chrabascz and Kameron Woods. Barlow runs the show and is an extremely efficient point guard. He averaged 3.5 assists per game and turned the ball over just 1.2 times per game. He is not a great scorer, but he can shoot the ball well enough to keep the opposition honest. Dunham will do most of the scoring for this team after leading the team with 16.4 points per game during his sophomore season. Dunham is the most prolific shooter on the team and will take most of the big shots for Butler. Chrabascz, a 6-7 forward, was playing great basketball at the end of his freshman campaign. He started just ten games on the year, but eventually turned into a quality interior scorer who can also knock down some long balls. Woods is the big man who will stay in the paint. He averaged 7.5 points per game and 9.0 rebounds. This team was disappointing on the glass during the 2013-2014 campaign, but that was not Woods’ fault. He is a superb rebounder and a very good interior passer. If Chrabascz takes the expected jump up in production from his freshman to sophomore season, this will be a very dangerous frontcourt.

Final Projection:
Depth in the frontcourt will have to be provided by the newcomers and Butler should be fine there. However, the backcourt depth is much less promising. Senior point guard Jackson Aldridge will again backup Barlow, but there are not any other options on the perimeter outside of walk-on Steven Bennett. Martin and Etherington can play small forward with Jones sliding to the shooting guard spot, but having a shooter off of the bench like Brown would be nice and Butler does not have one. Even without backcourt depth, this should be a much, much improved Butler team as long as everybody stays healthy. This is a junior heavy team, so even making the NIT would be a nice stepping stone between last year’s disappointment and a very promising 2015-2016 season.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Alex Barlow, Senior, Guard, 6.6 points per game
Kellen Dunham, Junior, Guard, 16.4 points per game
Roosevelt Jones, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Andrew Chrabascz, Sophomore, Forward, 6.3 points per game
Kameron Woods, Senior, Forward, 7.5 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.5 (237th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.6 (80, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.9 (238, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.7 (233, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (202, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.3 (252, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.1 (294, 10)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (176, 7)
Assists Per Game: 11.1 (285, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.0 (17, 2)


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