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Villanova - Butler Preview

VUSports previews the Villanova vs. Butler showdown scheduled for Wednesday night in Indianapolis ...

#1 AP Villanova faces #18 Butler at historic Hinkle Field House on Wednesday night at 6:30 (TV: FS1, Radio: 610 (WTEL AM) or VUSports Live Chat).  Villanova aims to advance to 3-0 in Big East play and maintain first place in the conference.  The Bulldogs can tie the Cats at 2-1 in conference play by grabbing the win.

Kenpom predicts a 70-69 win for Villanova with a 54% chance of the Cats coming away with the win.  ‘Nova leads the all-time series, 7-0 which started in 1996 with a Wildcat win over Butler in San Juan Puerto Rico.  The two teams have met six time in Big East play with the Cats winning them all.  The three ‘Nova wins at Hinkle have come by a cumulative total of 11 points.

Butler is off to an excellent start to the season (#8 RPI and #16 kenpom) with Top 50 wins over Northwestern, Arizona (Neutral), Cincinnati, and Providence as well as a win at Utah and neutral  court wins over Indiana and Vanderbilt.  Butler’s losses came at St. John’s and at Indiana State (both losses were one possession games).

The Bulldogs have a great blend of offense and defense.  They shoot the ball well, don’t turn the ball over much, and get balanced scoring contributions, of 7.8 or more PPG, from six players.  Defensively, they turn over their opposition and defend the three-point arc well.  The Cats and Dogs play at a similar tempo - so don’t expect to see a significant clash in style of play (though Villanova does prefer to shoot a higher percentage of shots from three-point range).  Butler is very good at shutting down passing lanes and forcing players to create more offense one-on-one - Villanova has players with the ability to make good offensive decisions and are not as likely to be taken out of what they do as some other teams.

Taking a look at the Four Factors for each team:

VUSports (data per Kenpom.com)

a few things stand out:

  • Both teams shoot the ball with a high degree of efficiency
  • Both teams take care of the basketball and avoid turnovers - Butler creates more turnovers
  • Neither team grabs offensive rebounds at a high rate - statistically, ‘Nova should be able to control their defensive boards if sufficient effort is exerted
  • the Villanova defense doesn’t create turnovers but makes up for that somewhat by not fouling much

other stats of interest:

  • The Cats have a 78.9% to 70.5% edge in FT shooting
  • Butler shoots the ball very well from two-point range and the Cats allow teams to shoot a high percentage from two - expect Butler to attack the rim with cutters and passing
  • Butler gets about 10% more bench minutes than the Cats

Butler player thumbnails:

Kelan Martin (6-7, 220, Jr., 30.4 MPG, 18.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 2.6 TPG, 38.4% 3PFG, 84.1% FT, 104.4 ORtg)  Given the way Martin has been stroking the three-ball, it may be preferable to get him shooting off the dribble.  Martin is a versatile scorer and takes a lot of shots when he is on the floor.  He draws a lot of fouls and converts when he gets to the line.  A good rebounder.  Statistically ranked as the 10th best player in the country by kenpom.

Andrew Chrabascz (6-7, 230, Sr., 31.9 MPG, 11.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 46.7% 3PFG,  118.5 ORtg)  A versatile, cerebral, player that can shoot the trey, score off the bounce, post up and hit the open man with timely passes.  Strong with the ball, makes good decisions, and vocally leads the defense.  Draining threes at a very high clip so far this season.

Tyler Lewis (5-11, 170, Sr., 24.6 MPG, 7.8 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 4.8 APG, 41.7% 3PFG, 57.4% FG,  134.4 ORtg) Lewis has been a much more efficient offensive player for Butler than he was last season - because he is making his own shots at a quality rate.  He is also doing a nice job of distributing the basketball and a better job of staying in front of his man as an on-the-ball defender.

Tyler Wideman (6-8, 240, Jr., 23.0 MPG, 9.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 0.9 BPG, 69.4% FG,122.8 ORtg)  Plays a mans game in the paint.  It should be interesting to watch him battle with Darryl Reynolds and Eric Paschall down low.  Wideman sets a mean screen, rebounds and blocks shots.  He does a lot of the dirty work for Butler while also finishing well around the rim when he gets an open look.  He can hit shots out to mid-range with some efficiency but doesn’t venture outside the arc to shoot.

Kamar Baldwin (6-0, 170, Fr., 21.9 MPG, 7.8 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.9 SPG, 40% 3PFG, 53.6% FG, 105.2 ORtg)  Baldwin has been a very pleasant surprise contributor as a Frosh for the Bulldogs on both ends of the floor.  He gets in passing lanes, he knocks down the open trey, and he can get to the rim some off the bounce.  Prone to turnovers.

Avery Woodson (6-2, 190, Sr., 18.8 MPG, 8.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.1 APG, 41.5% 3PFG, 54.5% FT, 121.4 ORtg)  The Senior has provided some quality bench minutes for Butler.  He is not shy about looking for his own shot when he gets run.  Woodson is shooting the three-pointer well and that is the focus of his offensive game.  He has a very lo turnover rate and that contributes heavily to his high offensive efficiency rating.

Sean McDermott (6-6, 190, Fr., 17.5 MPG, 3.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 37.9% 3PFG, 112.8 ORtg)  Earns some minutes on the wing.  Rangy and versatile but inexperienced.  

Kethan Savage (6-3, 205, Sr., 13.4 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 41.7% 3PFG, 38.9% FG, 38.5% FT, 88.9 ORtg)  Can play either guard spot.  Has struggled shooting from two-point range and from the free-throw line.  Has ball security issues at times but contributes as a defender.

Nate Fowler (6-10, 240, So., 11.4 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 71.4% 3PFG, 73.7% FG, 147.9 ORtg)  Good offensive rebounder.  Shooting the ball well so far this season but does not shoot a high volume.  

Here is a link to shot charts for key Butler Bulldog players and additional pre-game analysis from ONIN2TO: CLICK HERE

Injury: Phil Booth is expected to miss the game for Villanova.


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