Saturday evening marks the beginning of the college basketball season for the Butler Bulldogs as they will go head to head with the Southland Conference’s Lamar Cardinals.
Coached by Pat Knight, the son of Indiana University coaching legend Bob Knight, the Cardinals are coming off of a very rough 3-28 season in which they were only able to garner up one conference win. This year’s team will again be young and have been picked to finish 10th in the conference by the coach’s poll.
Three of the five starters from last season return for the Cardinals but they have also added a large number of junior college transfers with five new players on the roster. This will be their first chance to acquire some Division 1 playing time and that usually comes with some learning curves along the way.
The returning leading scorer for the Cards is sophomore Rhon Mitchell, coming off of a season in which he averaged 10 points and five rebounds per game. In the lone exhibition for this team, though, he scored just six on 1-6 shooting as fellow sophomore Donnell Minton led the way with 18 points.
Look for those two, along with newcomer Donovan Ross, to lead the team in scoring tomorrow and looking to carry the offense.
- Lamar ranks at number 341 of 351 teams in KenPom.com’s preseason rankings. They finished second to last a year ago with an offense that struggled to score and only averaged 60 points per game on 30% shooting from beyond the arc.
- Lamar won its only preseason exhibition by a score of 66-62 over McMurry. They shot 40% from the field overall but continued to struggle from the three-point line, shooting just 28.7%.
- The Cardinals’ defense is what won the exhibition game for them as they forced 18 turnovers and an under 40% shooting performance from the opponent.
Saturday’s game will take place at 8 PM at Hinkle Fieldhouse and will be televised on Fox Sports 2.