INDIANAPOLIS (IN) - The Bulldogs will get their first true test of the season as they travel to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis and take on #5 North Carolina (3-0). InsidetheDawgPound takes a look at what to expect.
Time: 12:00PM EST
Venue: Imperial Arena (Nassau, Bahamas)
Know Your Foe
Record - 3-0 (0-0)
Coach - Roy Williams, 12th Season 309-89 (727-190 Overall)
Mascot - Tar Heels
Conference - Atlantic Coast Conference
Enrollment - 29,400
Tale of the Tape
North Carolina enters the Battle 4 Atlantis as one of the favorites alongside #3 Wisconsin. The Tar Heels are 3-0 having beaten North Carolina Central, Robert Morris, and Davidson. In their most recent game, North Carolina defeated Davison 90-72 led by sophomore forward Kennedy Meeks with 19 points, freshman wing Justin Jackson with 18 points, and junior guard Marcus Paige with 13 points and 4 assists. The Tar Heels entered the 2014-15 season as one of the favorites to win the national championship led by 12th year head coach Roy Williams. North Carolina has won their first three games by an average of 22 points per game.
Butler has started 3-0 for the 2nd straight year, this time under interim head coach Chris Holtmann. The Bulldogs have been extremely cohesive to start the year and have rallied around each other. Butler has won their first three games of the season by an average of 35 points per game, including their most recent game against Loyola (MD) by a score of 80-39. The Bulldogs were led by freshman Kelan Martin with 23 points (career-high) in 18 minutes, while Kellen Dunham added 13 points. The Bulldogs are now averaging 83 points per game this season, good for 24th in the country.
Players to Watch
Roosevelt Jones - Jones has done everything well to start the season. The redshirt junior is averaging 10.7 points, a team-high 7.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2 steals per game. He will have his hands full on both ends of the floor. It will be interesting to see who the Bulldogs have Jones defend. Will Butler look to lock down Meeks or Jackson, or will the Bulldogs put Jones on Marcus Paige and cut down on his facilitation.
Kellen Dunham - The last time these two teams met at the Maui Invitation, Dunham had his coming-out party. At the time, the freshman guard scored 17 points on 5/9 3PT shooting. Now a junior and Butler's most prolific scorer, Dunham will have North Carolina's full attention. He is averaging 19 ppg on 58.1% shooting including 66.7% from 3-point range.
Kelan Martin - Butler may need another performance like he had against Loyola (MD) to stay with the Tar Heels. The talented freshman scored a career-high 23 against the Greyhounds and was impressive from distance. Martin is the Bulldogs best threat off the bench and will need to provide a spark offensively and be disruptive defensively with his length.
Kennedy Meeks - The sophomore forward is scoring a team best 16.7 ppg while shooting 63.3% from the field. At 6-foot-9, Meeks will pose a challenge to Butler front court of Andrew Chrabascz, Tyler Wideman, and Kelan Martin. He is also crashing the glass well, averaging 11 rpg and can affect the game on the defensive end (1.3 bpg).
Marcus Paige - The key cog in the North Carolina attack is junior point guard Marcus Paige. The Bulldogs
Brice Johnson - One of the longest players in college basketball, the 6-foot-9 Johnson has improved over the course of his three season in Chapel Hill. Johnson is averaging 14.7 points per game on 62.1% shooting from the field. He also averages 7.7 rpg.
Keys to the Game
Rebounding - North Carolina's roster is full of 6-foot-6 plus athletes that can hit the glass and provide extra chances. The Bulldogs will need to key in on their defensive rebound, while also attacking the offensive glass intelligently, not to provide any fast break chances for the Tar Heels.
Secondary Break - One of Roy Williams' most famous concepts is his secondary fast break. While the Tar Heels may not get on the fast break consistently, they will employ the secondary break, where the defense is back defensively, but they push the ball to the hoop before the defense is fully set. The Bulldogs will need to clamp down on this aspect of the Tar Heels offensive and locate point guard Marcus Paige at all times.
Free Throws - It will continue to be an issue until the Bulldogs prove that they can continuously hit free throws down the stretch. The Bulldogs have yet to have a close game, but have averaged just 61.2% (41/67) from the free throw line. If it is a close game, it will be interesting to see what Butler does with Roosevelt Jones, who is shooting just 54.5% from the line.
56.0% - Butler's FG% this season, ranking 5th in the country.
89.7 - North Carolina's average points per game this season, ranking 12th nationally.
49.7 - North Carolina's average rebounding in the first 3 games of the season, ranking 3rd nationally.
48 - Butler has allowed just 48 points per game this season, which leads the Big East.
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