Butler Collegian sports staff men’s basketball predictions

Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics.

MATTHEW CRANE | SPORTS CO-EDITOR | mcrane@butler.edu

The Bulldogs come into the season with an experienced coaching staff and veteran college basketball players mixed with young returning talent. The transfers will help push the team back in the direction that Butler basketball is used to being at, competing in the Big East and fighting to play in the NCAA Tournament. The front court being bolstered by Manny Bates and Jalen Thomas will bring the energy that the team has lacked in previous seasons.

Look for Chuck Harris to return to form and for Simas Lukosius to break out and continue playing like he did towards the end of last season. This team is a dark horse and should not be taken lightly. Expectations will be bullish, but do not be surprised to see the team largely exceeding them and ending up in the top half of the conference. 

JIA SKRUDLAND | SPORTS REPORTER | jskrudland@butler.edu 

Last season, the Bulldogs finished 6-14 in conference play putting them on the verge of being dead last. After an underwhelming showing, the shakeup on the coaching side and the offseason additions should bring Butler back to the “basketball school” reputation. 

The veteran experience of the transfers can help bring back the winning culture to Butler basketball as every transfer had seasons with an above .500 winning percentage. Chuck Harris and Simas Lukosius showcased their talent and significance to the team, so anticipate them to make an immediate impact on the team. Under the new direction of Thad Matta and his staff, this season looks promising for the Bulldogs to shock basketball fans.  

CALEB DENORME | SPORTS REPORTER | cdenorme@butler.edu

Year one of the great Thad Matta’s return to Butler will be a spectacle that you will not want to miss. The Bulldog hero returns after a stint at Ohio State and a brief sabbatical from coaching to lead Butler’s men’s basketball team once again. How Butler performs in the Big East this year will determine if it is a successful year or a first season flop for Matta.

The Bulldogs have a litany of talent throughout their roster that Matta will look to bring out this year. Watch for big man Manny Bates to control the paint this year and inflict pain on the other team, wearing them down throughout the games. Another player to watch is graduate transfer Eric Hunter Jr. from Purdue. Hunter was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team in the 2020-21 season, so expect him to bring the juice on that end of the court. This season has the makings of big things for Butler, but it is also important to have expectations in check. One can dream of a late round NCAA tournament run though, right?

NICK ORR | SPORTS REPORTER | nporr@butler.edu

The Bulldogs come into the 2022-23 season with high hopes for a successful season. The Bulldogs finished the 2021-22 season with a disappointing 14-19 record, which led to the Bulldogs parting ways with LaVall Jordan. Butler icon Thad Matta was brought in to help lead the Bulldogs. 

The Bulldogs are looking for breakouts from Chuck Harris and Simas Lukosius, as well as immediate impacts from their transfers. Butler was active in the transfer portal, bringing in Manny Bates and Eric Hunter Jr. Both Bates and Hunter are seen as pieces that can help bring the Butler program back to Big East contention. With the new additions on the roster, expect Butler to surprise a lot of people and finish near the top of the Big East standings. 


Heading into the 2022-2023 season, the Butler men’s basketball team has the potential to turn a few heads. The Bulldogs will be led by new head coach Thad Matta — who will return to the same position he had when he first began his head coaching career. However, with a relatively weak non-conference schedule, the Big East conference play is going to be crucial in determining whether this team can make it to the Big Dance. 

To help the team reach these aspirations, Butler welcomed the largest recruiting class the university has ever seen — quite literally. The team added five new players with three of them listed at six-foot ten or higher. The class is headlined by grad transfer Manny Bates, who will help create a presence under the net that the Bulldog fans have never seen. Pair him with star guard Chuck Harris and potential breakout candidate Jayden Taylor, and you have one of the deadliest trios in the Big East. Matta has never finished with a season record below .500 in his entire career, and I expect that record to continue as Butler finishes in the top five of Big East and secures a ticket to the NCAA Tournament. In Matta we trust!

JAKE KAUFMAN | SPORTS REPORTER | jfkaufman@butler.edu

The 2022-23 Butler men’s basketball season has a real chance to be one of the better ones in recent history. The team kept most of their most important pieces and added some great new ones through recruiting and through the transfer portal while signing one of the best coaches in college basketball. Chuck Harris struggled during his sophomore season, but will likely bounce back and play his best with him having the luxury of additional shot creators on the floor. Jayden Taylor and Simas Lukosius showed real flashes throughout their first seasons and should only get better. 

Butler’s roster looks a bit different this year. The school added graduate transfers Manny Bates and Eric Hunter Jr., the second of which has a ton of NCAA Tournament experience with Purdue. They addressed one of their biggest issues last season by adding three players over six-foot ten and added proven veteran upper class men to go along with their solid collection of younger talent. A top four finish in the Big East is very possible, and like Ethan, I would be shocked if we finish under .500 with Thad Matta at the helm. This is going to be a very fun season! 


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