As the title implies we will be taking a look at our Big East opponents and what they will be looking like heading into the coming season.
To say Butler got off to a hot start would be an understatment. They rolled through the non-conference with a 12-1 record with wins over Minnesota, Stanford, Florida and Purdue. The lone loss came at Baylor by only one point. They continued to look dangerous at the start of conference play as they imposed their tempo on opponents to get up to 3-0 in Big East play. Then came the trip to Seton Hall that ended with THE Jared Rhoden dunk. Next was an embarassing road loss to DePaul and a less embarassing road loss to Villanova. Butler then traded wins and losses before a 3 game losing streak sat them at 7-8. They brushed aside DePaul and St. John’s before winning the last game of the season to push them to 10-8 in Big East play.
It’s no secret that Kamar Baldwin was the guy for Butler last season. He could take games over and single-handedly carry his team to victory much to the dismay of his opponents. Sean McDermott was very much the secondary option on offense but when he excelled the Bulldogs would usually win. He also got baptized by Jaylen Butz and it was hilarious. Jordan Tucker featured as a 3 and D guy and has forgone his final year of elegibility.
Butler loses most of their offens but they do return several decent pieces to the team. Aaron Thompson is a steady point guard who distributes and plays good defense but cannot shoot a jumpshot to save his life. Bryces Nze and Golden return as Butler’s main inside presence. Both rebound pretty well and shoot decently from inside. Butler also welcomes transfer Jair Bolden from South Carolina where averaged 8ppg and shot 41% from 3. Also coming in is freshman Scooby Johnson who plays at both the 3 and the 4. He hs the versatility to step out but can also mix it up in the paint. The rest of the freshman class consists of 3 star recruits who will likely feature off the bench.
No one expected much from Butler last season and they more than overachieved expectations. It’s hard to see the same surprise this year though. No Baldwin and no McDermott leaves Butler without much scoring and the exit of Tucker leaves them without a player who attempted more than 45 3s last season. The addition of Bolden gives them a decent shooter but they will need more than one good shooter to get the Bryces any space in the post. Anything can happen, but don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs struggle this season.