Pregame: #18 Butler Bulldogs vs Central Arkansas Bears

Butler Bulldogs take on the Central Arkansas Bears at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday at 4 ET on FS2

The undefeated Butler Bulldogs take on the 1-5 Central Arkansas Bears in their first home game since their thrashing of Norfolk State nearly two weeks ago. Since then, the Dawgs have pulled off impressive victories against Vanderbilt and Arizona to win the Las Vegas Invitational Championship, as well as a solid victory against Utah to solidify their #18 ranking.

The Bears second leading scorer is point guard Jordan Howard. He is their biggest three point threat and averages over 16 points per game. Butler should be able to stop him, but the Dawgs have had problems stopping high scoring point guards in the past (see University of Northern Colorado’s Jordan Davis with 25 points in Butler’s home opener). The offense runs off of his play so he is a key factor for Central Arkansas on Saturday.

The biggest opponent that Central Arkansas has played is currently #17 Wisconsin. That game was the Bears’ first contest of the season and they lost 79-49. In that game, the Badgers held Jordan Howard to 10 points on 2-11 shooting. If Butler can play defensively anything like what their ranking neighbor did in early November, the Dawgs should be able to keep the Bears offense at bay.

Other than their scoring, Central Arkansas’s weakness in this game will be giving the ball away. On average the Bears commits over 16 turnovers per game and allows 83 points to their opponents. Butler’s defense should tear the Bears apart.

This game is a walk in the park for this experienced Butler team. It should be a good opportunity for the young bench to gain some experience as well. Players like Henry Baddley and Joey Brunk who don’t see much action in big games should log more minutes in this matchup. It will also be a good opportunity for newly healthy redshirt senior Kethan Savage to be integrated back into play.

The Bulldogs should win handily and improve to 8-0 on the season.

Players to watch

Butler

Kelan Martin has yet to put up anything less than double digits in the scoring column this season. Especially against a weak defensive team, he is likely to put up big numbers.

Joey Brunk put up 10 points against the weak defense of Norfolk State earlier this month. In the game he was 100% from the field and sunk 4-5 free throws. The 6’11” freshman doesn’t usually log many minutes but he should get to see the floor against Central Arkansas. Look for Brunk to try to assert himself offensively as well as alter shots near the rim defensively.

Central Arkansas

Jordan Howard is the Bears’ second leading scorer and free throw shooter, and leads the team in three pointers made and steals. Most of Central Arkansas’ offense runs through the junior point guard, so he will have to make an impact in the game if they are looking to hang with the Bulldogs.

Derreck Brooks is a senior guard for the Bears. His experience has lead him to 53% three point shooting and averaging over 17 points per game- which makes him the team’s leading scorer. He also is an exceptional rebounder for standing at around 6’6”, with the second most boards on the team. He also leads the team in blocks. Brooks could be a spark if the Dawgs shut down Howard on the offensive end.

 

Photo credits: Zaspany.com

Jackson Borman
I am from St. Louis, Missouri, and Butler University's Class of 2020. I played Basketball at Lindbergh High School, but because of my 5'10" wingspan and even lower shooting percentage, I've decided to stick to writing.

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