INDIANAPOLIS (IN) - Butler (9-3) has faced two of the past three opponents from the State of Tennessee and the Bulldogs face another on Sunday afternoon against Belmont (8-4). InsidetheDawgPound takes a look at what to expect.
Time: 6:00PM EST
Venue: Indianapolis, IN (Hinkle Fieldhouse)
Know Your Foe
Record - 8-4 (0-0)
Coach - Rick Byrd, 29th Season (697-360 Overall)
Mascot - Bruins
Conference - Ohio Valley Conference
Enrollment - 6,900
Tale of the Tape
Belmont is in the midst of its 29th season under coach Rick Byrd. The long-time head coach has led the Bruins through the transition to Division 1 and has helped sustain success over the past 3 decades. This season the Bruins have had a few difficult losses including losing twice to Wright State, Evansville, and VCU. Belmont snapped a 3 game losing streak with a win over Fairfield in their last outing 73-61. The Bruins were led by junior guard Craig Bradshaw who scored 15 points on 6/8 shooting. Sophomore wing Evan Bradds added 13 points. For the season Bradshaw leads the team in scoring at 20.6 points per game, while Bradds adds 13.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
The Bulldogs have started the season 9-3 under interim head coach Chris Holtmann. The Bulldogs snapped a two game losing streak to Tennessee and Indiana with a win over the University of Tennessee-Martin 64-37 on Monday night. Butler was led by sophomore forward Andrew Chrabascz who scored 17 points on 7/8 shooting. Junior Kellen Dunham added 15 points. Dunham leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 16.8 points per game, while freshman Kelan Martin adds 10.5 points per game off the bench. The Bulldogs are finishing up their non-conference slate against Belmont and will start Big East play on New Year's Eve against Villanova on the road.
Alex Barlow - Sr. - 5'11" 187 lbs - 7.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.4 spg
Kellen Dunham - Jr. - 6'6" 185 lbs - 16.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 43.8% 3PT
Roosevelt Jones - Jr. - 6'4" 227 lbs - 10.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.4 apg
Andrew Chrabascz - So. - 6'7" 225 lbs - 9.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.4 apg
Kameron Woods - Sr. - 6'9" 200 lbs - 7.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Craig Bradshaw - Jr. - 6'3" 210 lbs - 20.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.3 apg
Reece Chamberlain - Sr. - 6'1" 180 lbs - 8.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.0 apg
Taylor Barnette - So. - 6'3" 185 lbs - 11.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.0 apg
Evan Bradds - So. - 6'6" 200 lbs - 13.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.4 apg
Amanze Egekeze - Fr. - 6'8" 215 lbs - 6.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.3 apg
Player to Watch
Kellen Dunham - Dunham is the focal point of the Butler offensive attack. The junior guard has turned into a complete scorer and is averaging 16.8 points per game. He continues to shoot the ball well from distance where he is converting on 43.8% of his 3-point attempts. Look for Dunham to be aggressive and get more open looks against Belmont with Roosevelt Jones' ability to penetrate.
Andrew Chrabascz - The sophomore forward had one of the best games in his Butler career against UT-Martin. He scored 17 points on 7/8 shooting and grabbed 2 rebounds. This was his second consecutive double-digit scoring game and 4th of the season. He has been aggressive attacking the basket and has used great footwork to maneuver around the rim.
Austin Etherington - The junior transfer from Indiana has been extremely quiet over the past 3 games. He has a combined 2 points and 6 rebounds in 23 minutes. He is shooting 25% from 3-point range and 45.5% from the field overall. Etherington really needs to get it going for Butler off the bench as a consistent threat from the perimeter in order to provide some depth for the Bulldogs.
Craig Bradshaw - The Tennessee-native is scoring at a torrid pace to start the year. He is averaging 20.6 points per game while shooting 53.3% from the field and 45.6% from 3-point range. He gets to the free throw line an average of 4.6 times per game and is converting on 75.6% of those attempts. Butler will have its hands full containing Bradshaw from scoring on the perimeter.
Amanze Egekeze - The freshman center has started his career well for the Bruins. He is a stretch big man that is 11/19 (57.9%) from 3-point range. He is averaging 6.1 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He has finished in double figures in 2 of his past 4 games.
Keys to the Game
Avoid Looking Ahead - Butler is eagerly looking forward to the Big East schedule. After a letdown and disappointing 2013-14 conference finished, Butler is looking for redemption and a return to prominence and will head to Philadelphia to take on nationally ranked Villanova on New Year's Eve. However, Butler has a solid test in Belmont before they can focus on the Wildcats and they need to take the challenge seriously.
Taking Advantage of Belmont on Defense - Belmont is allowing 69.3 points per game, ranking 248th in Division 1. The Bulldogs are scoring 71.7 points per game, ranking 102nd. Kellen Dunham and company should have plenty of space and opportunities to score. Look for this game to be played at a faster pace than Butler normally will play at and the Bulldogs need to still play under control, even with the increased accessibility to the basket.
56.2 - Butler's scoring defense this season, which leads the Big East and is 16th in the country.
9.3 - Kameron Woods' rebounding average, which leads the Big East.
30.5 - Butler's average margin of victory in its 6 home games this season.
71% - Belmont's FT shooting percentage this season.
73.3 - Belmont's average scoring output this season, ranking 74th in the country.
14 - Belmont's average turnovers per game this season.
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