Today marks the start of the new season for Butler after many well-documented changes. After all, the Bulldogs will be playing in a new conference, with a new coach, with new players (and Roosevelt Jones out), and a new mascot (well, kinda). Will it be a down season for a team that has had eight straight 20 win seasons? We really don’t know yet, but as the saying goes, the Dawgs will take it one game at a time.
The first game? Lamar. No, not the Kardashian, drug-problem one. Butler squares off against the one that mightily struggled last year going 3-28 in the Southland conference. (You can read all about Lamar here.)
So, based off this, assume a win today. But, what should we look for in the game tonight? Here’s my list:
1. What will we see out of the defense?
The two exhibitions made it evident that Butler’s defense hasn’t reached its peak yet. The adjustments to the new hand-check rules don’t help. Look for the defense to steadily improve over the season, hopefully starting tonight.
2. Can we rebound, specifically Khyle Marshall?
As the Front Row Hoopcast pointed out, Marshall has not been picking up many rebounds. In the Depauw exhibition, especially early in the game, the Dawgs struggled on the boards. The bigs need to have a dominating night inside.
3. Will the offensive outburst continue?
The Bulldogs have found different ways to put the ball in the basket with a multitude of different players. Kellen Dunham and Elijah Brown have, in my opinion, exceeded expectations on the offensive side of the ball. When they are playing well, the offense tends to be more in synch and efficient.
Butler by 24. Season opener, at home, against Lamar. That sounds like a good formula for a win and solid start to the season.