Texas Tech meets Butler tomorrow in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. To get a better understanding of the Red Raiders’ opponent, Wreck ‘Em Red spoke with http://www.buhoops.webs.com/buhoops.html editor Dave Reuth for an insider’s look at the Bulldogs.
WER: Describe the perfect game for Butler in terms of style and how the Bulldogs want a game to be played. If Butler dictates the flow of the game on Thursday, what will the game look like?
"DR: The perfect game would involve Butler hitting shots early and often and getting out to a quick lead. Kellen Dunham and Kelan Martin are locked in from three-point range, Roosevelt Jones is getting into the lane and makes Reggie Miller ask “Are you kidding me?” at least once after he converts a shot in the lane off the wrong foot that originated from his waist, and Butler is getting defensive stops and rebounds, and converting them into transition points the other way."
WER: I love watching Roosevelt Jones play. Explain to Texas Tech fans what makes him such a unique player and how important he is to Butler’s team.
"DR: The most common description I’ve seen is that Rose has an “old man’s game”, like that guy at the local YMCA that dominates but no one can really explain how he does it. He’s 6-4, 225 lbs., runs the point, doesn’t have a jump shot to speak of, and his lone career made three-pointer was a 3/4-court buzzer beater before halftime at Marquette earlier this season.More from Wreck'Em RedTexas Tech football: Red Raider fans need to know about these MountaineersTexas Tech football: Red Raiders land first commit for class of 2025Texas Tech football: Why have the Red Raiders struggled on the road under McGuire?Texas Tech football: Why the Red Raiders can compete for a Big 12 titleTexas Tech football: Plenty of questions remain as conference play arrivesHe has a variety of release points and angles that he shoots from, so you don’t always know when the ball is going up, or from where. He drives his frame into the lane and takes what the defense allows. He can put up a floater over the top of the defense, work his way to the rim for a layup or a scoop shot, or collapse the defense and pass to an open teammate.He has the highest assist rate on the team and is generally matched up defensively on the opponent’s best perimeter player. Gregg Doyel wrote a feature on Jones last week that sums him up quite well: Link"
WER: The Bulldogs are a team that is not overly athletic (except sophomore forward Kelan Martin) and they seem to play a very physical style of basketball. Yet they score 80 points a game. How are they able to be so physical yet score so much? That is a rare combination.
"DR: This Butler team is much more offense-oriented than those of years past. They’re playing at a higher tempo this season, but still aren’t exactly a run-and-gun team. They will look to push the ball in transition when the opportunities are there, but are content to run their half court sets. Beyond tempo, I would say the uptick in scoring is a function of taking great care of the basketball, shooting well from three-point range, getting to and converting at the foul line, and attacking the offensive glass."
WER: Where is Butler vulnerable? I’ve noticed that opposing guards have had success getting into the lane. Is that BU’s biggest defensive struggle? If not what is?
"DR: They have definitely struggled defensively, particularly with on-ball defense. Quicker, more athletic guards have indeed found success getting into the lane, collapsing the defense, and kicking out to open perimeter shooters. This team doesn’t quite have the defensive cohesiveness that prior Butler squads have been known for, so it increases the pressure on the offense to keep pace, and on nights when the shots aren’t dropping, that has usually meant defeat."
WER: Give our readers two players that you consider swing players in Thursday’s game. In other words, which role players can turn the game in Butler’s favor if they play well?
"DR: I’ll go with one starter and one reserve. Andrew Chrabascz (pronounced “SHRAB-iss” in case anyone was wondering) is a 6-7 forward who is comfortable scoring both in the paint and from three-point range. He’s had an up-and-down season, but when he’s making meaningful contributions on the floor, be it scoring, passing, or rebounding, Butler has played much better, and when he’s struggled, so have the Bulldogs.Tyler Lewis started at point guard through mid-January before suffering a concussion in practice and missing four games. He has come off the bench since his return, and plays a more traditional pass-first point guard role when he’s in compared to Jones. He transferred to Butler after two seasons at NC State, so he will be returning to his home state and playing in an arena with which he’s quite familiar. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have a big game off the bench and dish out a couple of highlight reel assists."
WER: Finally, give us your prediction for the game. Vegas has Texas Tech as a 2.5 point underdog. How do you see the game playing out?
"DR: I think it will be a close game. If Butler can get above 70 points, I like the Bulldogs’ chances; if their shots aren’t falling, that bodes well for the Red Raiders. I’ll be a homer and say 74-71 Butler."
Wreck ‘Em Red thanks Dave Rueth for his insight about the Butler Bulldogs. Check out his work at http://www.buhoops.webs.com/buhoops.html .