Paul Jorgensen dribbles the ball up the court. Collegian file photo.
JOSH MULLENIX | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Who: Butler vs. Furman
When: Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
How to Watch/Listen: FS2 and 1430 AM
As a buffer between the Gavitt Games and the PK80 Tournament, the Butler men’s basketball team welcome the Furman Paladins to Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs are coming off a 79-65 loss in their first road game of the season against the Maryland Terrapins. Butler looks to bounce back in their first ever meeting with the Paladins. Here’s what to look for as the Dawgs attempt to find their stride before heading to Portland.
Butler Guards vs. Furman Guards
Guard play early in the season has been a concern. Kennesaw State’s James Scott dropped 26 points from the guard position, Princeton’s Amir Bell tallied up 22 points, and Maryland’s Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 25 points. Three games. Three guards with more than 20 points.
The Bulldog backcourt won’t have a night off against the Paladins, either. Furman returns a veteran backcourt led by two players, Devin Sibley and Andrew Brown, who both shot better than 43 percent from beyond the arch. Devin Sibley returns as the team’s leading scorer from last season and is averaging 23 points through two games this season. A good performance from Butler’s guards will be a good prerequisite before heading to the PK80 with the potential of facing guards such as Duke’s Grayson Allen and Trevon Duval.
Confidence Confidence Confidence
Butler struggled against Maryland on Wednesday. The Bulldogs trailed from the 10:17 mark in the first half and could never recover. The Maryland game was a great chance for the Bulldogs to get a signature non-conference win and could not get it done. Luckily, they have another chance to get an impressive win before Big East play starts at the PK80.
However, the Bulldogs need to build a little confidence. Only one Bulldog that shot five shots or more against Maryland was over 50 percent from the field. Only 36 percent of all Butler shots found the net. The Bulldogs have a chance to get a win in front of the home crowd against a team they should beat no matter what to build some confidence before hopping on a plane to Portland to play the likes of Texas and possibly Duke. There are more chances to get a good non-conference win in the coming weeks, but a nice, dominant win against Furman might be helpful after a loss at Maryland.
Guarding without fouling
Foul trouble has been a problem for the Bulldogs early in the season. Tyler Wideman was in foul trouble early against Maryland and Kamar Baldwin has had four or more fouls in two of the three games this season. The Dawgs have committed 17 fouls or more in every game this season and have given up 48 points at the foul line. Forcing Furman to earn their points instead of giving them opportunities at the free throw line and defending without fouling will give Butler a chance to dictate the pace of the game.
T-Lew back in Hinkle
It’s been a bit of a homecoming for former Butler players early in the season. Hinkle got to welcome Shawn Vanzant back when Butler played Lincoln Memorial. Another familiar face returns to Hinkle on Saturday. Former Butler guard Tyler Lewis will be back at Hinkle as part of the Furman coaching staff.