Coming off of a big win for the Las Vegas Invitational tournament championship against Arizona, the Butler Bulldogs travel to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Runnin’ Utes.
Butler looked phenomenal in the Las Vegas Invitational. Against both Arizona and Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs overcame huge post players to go on to win. Butler starting big men Andrew Chrabascz and Tyler Wideman (and Nate Fowler off the bench) have been efficiently scoring (shooting 42%, 61%, and 77% respectively) and rebounding against players that are at times six inches taller than them. The post players have dominated against Vanderbilt’s 7’1” Luke Kornet, Arizona’s 7” Lauri Markkanen and Dusan Ristic and 6’11” Chance Comanche. Butler forward Andrew Chrabascz even won Tournament MVP at the Las Vegas Invitational despite this long and talented competition.
Arizona is also undefeated (4-0), but their season has been a bit less challenging. So far, the Utes have put up a scoring margin of +37 and have played an easy schedule. Every game for the Utes has been a home game, this one is no different. Utah has hosted Northwest Nazarene, Concordia (Oregon), Coppin State, and most recently UC Riverside.
Each of these games have have resulted in a 40+ point victory for Utah, except for the UC Riverside who put up a bit more of a fight, losing 85-67.
With a team that really has not played any high quality teams, it is hard to predict how they will play against a certainly high quality Butler Bulldog team.
Butler will be once again up against some big bodies in Utah’s Tyler Rawson and Jayce Johnson (6’10” and 7’ respectively). The pair averages over 16 points and 20 rebounds per game.
6’4” senior guard Lorenzo Bonam leads the Utes in scoring with nearly 16 a game. Utah as a whole struggles from behind the arc, shooting around 32% against less than stellar defense. The team is fairly good from the freethrow line, shooting 71%.
The Bulldogs are hot right now and should be able to handle this Utah team. Butler is more experienced and flat out better on both ends of the floor.
Players to Watch:
Kelan Martin is still Butler’s leading scorer and dominates the stat sheet night in and night out. Expect a big game from the junior forward.
Kethan Savage is back with the team after missing all but the first exhibition game and the matchup against Arizona. The senior guard is coming off of back spasms and pneumonia and will be slowly integrated back into Butler’s lineup.
Lorenzo Bonam is the Utes’ highest scorer. He is not a great shooter, rather an all around type of scorer. He will have to try to carry the load for Utah against Butler’s best defenders.
Jake Connor is the biggest deep shooting threat for the Utes. The 6’3” sophomore is at a solid 42% from beyond the arc and 50% from the field. Watch out for the young guard as he could boost Utah’s scoring production in a hurry from the bench.
Photo credit: The Butler Collegian.com