Butler wrapped up the non conference play on Wednesday evening with an 81-69 win over Vermont. Andrew Chrabascz scored a season high 28 points while Kelan Martin topped 20 points for the 3rd consecutive game with 21 points as well as 8 rebounds. Tyler Lewis had a game high 7 assists.
Have a Night Andrew Chrabascz
Vermont had absolutely no answer for the Butler senior. Andrew Chrabascz had 28 points on 12-18 from the floor. A couple of missed FTs (2-4) are all that kept Chrabascz away from his career high. Every time Vermont threatened to make this one a game the Bulldogs made an effort to get the ball to Andrew, and he delivered. He started the game up with a couple of jump hooks over the right shoulder and that opened up his spin back to the left shoulder for the rest of the game.
Rebounding, Rebounding, Rebounding.
Butler won the battle on the boards in their first five games this season, including wins over high major opponents Vanderbilt and Northwestern. Since then, they have been outrebounded in 6 of the last 7, including Indiana State and Vermont. I don't know what the problem is, but Holtmann must address this before it gets out of hand in Big East play. This is the worst rebounding Butler team we've seen since 2003 (although that team did go to the Sweet 16).
Bulldogs Defending the Arc
Butler has held 3 straight opponents under 30% from the 3-point line, a collective 25.4%, after being lit up by Indiana State. They have stayed disciplined on drives and avoided over helping. Help defense is typically good, but if defenders help when they aren't needed they can give up an open three point look instead of forcing the ball handler to convert a tough shot at the rim. A team like Vermont probably has to get hot from 3 to beat Butler, and the Bulldogs didn't give them that opportunity.
Kelan Martin Breaks Into National POY Conversation
Chrabascz stole the show, but Kelan Martin had another great night. Martin scored 21 points on only 11 field goal attempts (6-11, 3-3 3pt, 6-6 FT) while grabbing 8 rebounds and blocking 3 shots. The star junior has now broken into the KenPom player of the year standings at the 10th slot. He also made Gary Parrish's player of the year rankings earlier today. Martin is a long ways back of Josh Hart as the best player in college basketball, but it's still pretty impressive to even be grouped in with some of these guys. Butler has never had anyone finish the season in the top 10 of the KenPom POY standings.
Bulldogs Conclude Successful Non-Conference Schedule
Nobody thought Butler was going to get through this portion of the schedule with only 1 loss. I was laughed at because of how optimistic I was about Butler coming into this season and even I didn't think an 11-1 record at this point was realistic. Butler has two top 10 victories away from Hinkle (Arizona, Indiana), another top 25 victory (Cincinnati), and three other quality wins (at Utah, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt). The Bulldogs have a resume that would earn them a 2 or a 3 seed if the season concluded today. There is still a lot of basketball to be played, but this is a dream scenario right now for Butler coach Chris Holtmann.
Speaking of more basketball to be played, the Bulldogs open up Big East play next Thursday at St. John's. The Red Storm have had a brutal season so far, but they did manage to put a 33 point beating on Syracuse at their place today. St. John's only won a single Big East game last season.