Pregame: Butler Bulldogs vs Maryland Terrapins
Butler is going on the road for the first time this season to Maryland to take on the Terrapins. Both teams are 2-0 in this young season.
Butler’s last win was an impressive victory against Princeton at Hinkle Fieldhouse. In that game senior star Kelan Martin scored a team leading 20 points and guards Kamar Baldwin and Aaron Thompson both notched 15 of their own to overcome a tough Princeton defence.
Maryland’s last game was an absolute routing of the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks. They won that contest 96-43, and every player on their roster saw the floor, with 5 Terrapins reaching the double digit mark. This will be the first testing matchup for Maryland of the season.
The star of this Maryland team, and prospective first round NBA draft pick is Justin Jackson. So far this season the sophomore forward is averaging nine points, 10 rebounds, and a steal and a block per game. His length makes him a menace on the defensive end, and could spell trouble for the Dawgs.
Also performing well for the Terrapins so far have been have been sophomore guards Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter. Cowan is averaging nearly 16 points through the first two games, getting his work done primarily on the inside. His weakness is shooting from the outside; last year he shot 32% from beyond the arc and this season he is 0-5 from three. Huerter is a more versatile scorer, getting it done all over the floor and causing some trouble on the defensive end as well.
Butler’s biggest challenge will be keeping Jackson and the rest of the Terrapins off of the glass and defending the rim. Martin and senior forward Tyler Wideman’s interior defense and work on the boards will be key to coming out of Maryland with a victory.
This game is a part of the Gavitt Tipoff games and is scheduled to start at 8:30 ET on Wed. November 15.
Players to Watch-
Tyler Wideman, the senior big man for the Bulldogs, is the team’s second highest scorer (12 ppg) and leads the team in free throw percentage. On the defensive end he is a physical presence in the paint. While he has only averaged three rebounds per game this season, Wideman will play an important role in this game protecting the basket and rebounding the basketball.
Aaron Thompson has emerged clearly as the best freshman on this year’s Butler team and one of the best guards in general. Averaging 11 points per game and leading the team in assists coming off of the bench is no small feat. While his shooting touch leaves a little to be desired, he gets to the rim nicely and is a great distributor already. Keep your eyes on Thompson to make an impact in this game as well.
Justin Jackson will be a big time player all year and definitely in this game. His size makes him a force on the defensive end and his offensive ceiling has NBA GMs salivating. While he hasn’t been effective scoring the ball so far this season, the talent is there, and this might just be the game where he breaks out.
Photo credit: Jimmy Lafakis Twitter