Big East Preview: Butler, With ButlerHoops.com

Editor, Dave Klinger (Photo: Marquette Athletics)

College basketball season is quickly approaching. In an effort to preview it, we spoke with ten bloggers or writers, each covering a different Big East men’s basketball team. Today, we have a conversation with Butler Hoops, a blog covering–you guessed it–Bulldogs basketball. Get to know your enemy by reading their answers below. Lastly, we asked them to rank the Big East.

Other previews: XavierGeorgetownCreightonVillanovaDePaul, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Providence, Marquette

2015-16 Record: 21-10 overall, 10-8 conference

Postseason: 9-seed in NCAA Tournament, lost to Virginia in Round of 32

Why will Butler win?

BH: Butler’s biggest strength will most likely be their forward play. They return positions 3-5 from last year, and all 3 players were extremely effective. Kelan Martin is one of the best scorers in the conference and will attract NBA scouts to Hinkle Fieldhouse. Andrew Chrabascz never seems to get enough of credit, but he was second in the conference in Offensive Rating (128.4) last season. Center Tyler Wideman had a breakthrough sophomore season as one of the better “blue-collar” big men in the Big East. This could also be one of the largest ever Butler teams with a couple of near 7 footers coming off the bench in Nate Fowler and top-100 freshman Joey Brunk.

Why will Butler lose?

BH: The key for Butler this season is going to be their guard play, and I’m not quite sure what they are going to get. They have several intriguing options, but no one who has proven themselves in the Big East. The only returning guard is senior Tyler Lewis, who began the year as Butler’s starting point guard but eventually lost that job and never really seemed to find his confidence. They have two good transfers in Kethan Savage and Avery Woodson as well as freshman Kamar Baldwin who scored somewhere near 2,500 career points in high school, but it’s hard to know exactly what the Bulldogs are getting.

What is Butler’s ceiling and floor?

BH: I realistically see Butler finishing between 2nd and 6th. I think they are clearly below Villanova but better than Providence, Marquette, St. John’s, and DePaul. I expect them to be in the 2-4 range and safely in the tournament, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are 5th or 6th and once again on the bubble come March.

Who should I be afraid of…and why?

BH: The focus of every opponent’s scouting report will no doubt be Kelan Martin. Martin is the leading returning scorer in the Big East and his role in the offense is only going to grow after the departures of Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones. Martin finished 6th in the Big East in scoring yet only played 28 minutes per game, fewer than anyone else who finished top 10. The junior is an extremely versatile scorer who can score efficiently from all 3 levels and find a matchup advantage against nearly anyone. He’s one of the few players in the country who can score efficiently from mid-range, shooting 43% from the floor on 2-point jump-shots last season.

Rank the Big East.

BH:

1. Villanova

2. Xavier

3. Butler

4. Seton Hall

5. Creighton

6. Georgetown

7. Marquette

8. Providence

9. St. John’s

10. DePaul

Tweet us your thoughts at @mubbnation, or comment below.

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