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Big East Breakdown: #7 Butler

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Butler is hoping for a bounceback season in 2nd year of Big East play

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Last Year: 14-17 (4-14) No Postseason

Key Losses: Khyle Marshall 14.9 pts, Elijah Brown 6.8 pts (Transfer), Erik Fromm 5.5 pts, Rene Castro 3.3 pts (transfer), Nolan Berry 1.9 pts (Transfer)

Key Returnees: Kellen Dunham 6'6" SG/SF 16.4pts, Alex Barlow 5'11 SR PG/SG 6.6 pts, Andrew Chrabascz 6'7" So PF/C 6.3 pts, Kameron Woods 6'9" Sr C/PF 7.5 pts, Jackson Aldridge 6'0" SR PG 1.6pts,

Key Additions: Roosevelt Jones 6'4" RS Jr G/F (Returned from injury 10.1pts in his sophomore year), Austin Etherington 6'6" Grad SF 2.0 pts (Graduate Transfer from Indiana), Kelan Martin 6'6" F, Jackson Davis 6'8" PF, Tyler Wideman 6'8 PF

Breakdown:

Butler had a rough first season in the Big East, managing to win just four BE games (two of those against Seton Hall, the other two coming against Marquette and DePaul). To be fair, three of their BE losses were OT games at home including one to our own beloved Hoyas. The Bulldogs were able to hold their own on defense, posting a defensive efficiency of 66 which was the 3rd best in the league, but just didn't have enough options on the offensive end of the court to win games with the worst offense in the BE.

In the offseason Butler's roster experienced a makeover. They got rid of almost their entire freshman class save Andrew Chrabascz. This was ultimately for the best, as the other players were originally recruited to play in lesser leagues and Butler replaced them with a stronger recruiting class including three forwards which will give Butler some much needed size. They also added two transfers in Austin Etherington from Indiana who is eligible right away, and former McDonald's All American Tyler Lewis who transferred from NC State but will sit out this year. Most importantly, the Bulldogs get back the services of Roosevelt Jones, who arguably would've been Butler's best player last year had he not broken his wrist in the preseason.

While the freshman losses are not big, the Bulldogs do lose a fair bit in the form of seniors Khyle Marshall and Erik Fromm two valuable frontcourt players. Butler is pretty thin overall with only 10 scholarship players available. Etherington also broke his foot in the off-season but is already back playing so he shouldn't miss anytime.

Chrabascz should have a breakout sophomore campaign. I think he can be a 3rd team or Honorable Mention type performer. He put 24 points on us in our matchup in the Verizon Center and posted a great 124.5 Ortg last year. Woods will pair with him up front who was by far the Bulldogs' best rebounder. Butler's frontcourt will be buoyed by the additions of Wideman and Martin, who should be able contribute right away like Chrabascz.

The backcourt will be lead by Kellan Dunham, the first team All BE preseason selection and a dead-eye shooter. Asked to carry the load last year, he averaged 16.4pts a game, but his efficiency took a dip from his freshman year due to his being the focal point of the offense. The return of Roosevelt Jones should help Dunham's numbers. Jones is a great glue player that will improve Butler across the board. He's not a shooter, but can drive, assist, and rebound. He may even see some time at point this year. The other PG on the roster is Alex Barlow. Barlow is a solid ball controller as well as a capable three point shooter. Etherington should be a valuable back up at SF when Dunham needs a break.

Overall I'm high on this Butler team. There are concerns with the coaching situation with Brandon Miller taking an indefinite unidentified medical leave. However interim coach Chris Holtmann was the head coach at Gardner Webb and was the Coach of the Year in his conference prior to taking the assistant coach job at Butler. If anything,this may turn out to be a coaching upgrade for Butler.