Junior guard Chuck Harris makes a layup in the exhibition game against Tiffin on Oct. 29. Photo by Claire Runkel.
MATTHEW CRANE | SPORTS CO-EDITOR | email@example.com
For their first regular season game, the Butler men’s basketball team will take on the University of New Orleans Privateers. After playing two exhibition games against Tiffin and Davenport, the Dawgs have had a chance to get back into the flow of playing meaningful basketball and should be ready to get the regular season underway.
Graduate students Manny Bates and Eric Hunter Jr. have brought veteran experience to the team shown by their solid performances in the exhibition games. Sophomore Simas Lukosius has shown early flashes of a potential breakout season off of sensational shooting and led the team in scoring through the two games.
Here’s what you need to know for Butler’s regular season opener.
Who: Butler vs. New Orleans
When: Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
How to watch/listen: FS1/WXNT 1430AM
Home court advantage
The Bulldogs have won the home opener for the past 23 consecutive seasons dating back to 1999. Last season, the Dawgs opened against IUPUI in a hard-fought 56-47 win to continue the streak.
The Bulldogs will be meeting the Privateers for the third time in program history. Butler won the previous matchups between the two teams with the most recent win being a 79-53 victory at Hinkle during the 2019-20 season. The leading scorer in this game was former standout Bryce Nze with 18 points and three other Dawgs scored in double-digit figures.
This matchup will begin a short homestand stretch with the team playing three of their first four games at home. Butler sits at a 64-2 record over its last 66 non-conference home games.
The Bulldogs enter the 2022-23 season with 42.3% of their minutes returning from last season. As was shown in the exhibition games, learning a new offense and working on team culture can take some time for players to get fully accustomed to playing with new teammates. While the team has yet to fully be firing on all cylinders, the season opener can become a step in the right direction to getting on track. The team’s shooting from the 3-point line has yet to match the hot shooting from elsewhere on the court, with the team unable to reach the 30% mark from long distance in the exhibition games.
For New Orleans, they return 50.6% of their minutes from last season and are bringing 10 new players into the fold. The Privateers return three starters and eight members from last year’s team. Gone are last season’s leading scorer Derek St. Hilaire and leading rebounder Troy Green. The duo also averaged the most minutes checking in right under 34 minutes per game. A player to monitor in the matchup will be junior forward Tyson Jackson. He is the returning leading scorer at 8.7 points per game and led the team in field goal percentage at 58.9%.
The Privateers are projected to finish third in the Southland Conference after last season’s 18-14 record led them to the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament.
The Bulldogs will be missing a few players by the time tip-off rolls around, especially in the frontcourt.
Senior forward/center Jalen Thomas will miss the beginning of the season as he recovers from a pulmonary embolism. Thomas is expected to have a full recovery and might be able to return during the Big East portion of the schedule.
Senior guard/forward Ali Ali remains without a timetable as he still has not been fully cleared for basketball-related activities. Ali suffered a concussion at practice and underwent nasal surgery on Oct. 26.
Senior forward/center John-Michael Mulloy did not play in either exhibition game and has been recovering from an ankle injury.
Junior forward Myles Wilmoth played in the first exhibition game but was held out of the game against Davenport with an arm injury.
With the number of players out, expect Bates to shoulder the load for the frontcourt again and play heavy minutes. Sophomore forward D.J. Hughes will also see some added minutes off the bench. Expect to see the same starting five as the Davenport game with Hunter Jr., Chuck Harris, Jayden Taylor and Lukosius joining Bates in the lineup.