Pregame: Butler Bulldogs vs Princeton Tigers
The Princeton Tigers travel to Indianapolis to match up against the Butler Bulldogs for their first game of the season. Both teams made the tournament last year and have key players returning for what could be another very successful season for both squads. After Butler’s big win to open the season against Kennesaw State, this will be the Bulldogs’ first big test of the regular season.
Returning to Butler for their senior seasons are Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman. Martin, a preseason Naismith trophy contender dropped an impressive 20 points and nine rebounds in Butler’s season opener, and will be on a mission to prove himself and his team (projected to finish 8th in the Big East). Wideman, a 240 pound power forward, has been and will be Butler’s defensive anchor in the paint, as well as consistent rebounder.
Butler has some interesting new additions to the team as well, primarily in their backcourt. Junior transfer, Paul Jorgensen, has started for Butler in each of their exhibition games as well as their season opener, and has the size to defend stronger guards and can knock down the long ball. Freshman point guard Aaron Thompson has impressed early this year, showing poise while running Butler’s offense and dished out five assists coming off of the bench last game.
Princeton returns Myles Stephens and Devin Cannady, junior guards who both averaged double figures for the Tigers last season. Stephens also was the Ivy League defensive player of the year.
Last year’s Princeton team was built around defense, a skillset that they showed off by holding Notre Dame to just 60 points in their first round tournament loss last year, no easy task. This will be a great first test for a Butler team who lost major offensive impact players due to graduation last year.
The game will take place on Sunday Nov. 12 at Hinkle Fieldhouse at 6 p.m.
Players to Watch-
Kelan Martin is the key to Butler’s offense this season and now is his chance to prove it early. While last season he has other players like Avery Woodson and Andrew Chrabascz to lean on when teams shut him down, the scoring load will rest more on his shoulders this year and Princeton’s defense will be a good test early in the season.
Kamar Baldwin returns for his sophomore season at Butler, but with a new twist. With the loss of guards Tyler Lewis and Kethan Savage, Baldwin has been transitioned by new head coach LaVall Jordan to run more of the point than he had last season. Keep your eyes on Kamar to see how he looks in this new offensive slot.
Myles Stephens should be Princeton’s go to guy on both ends of the ball. A great defender, and with the ability to score the ball from inside and beyond the arc, Stephens should be an exciting player to watch for Tiger fans, and a key to their success.
Devin Cannady will likely be Princeton’s premiere three point threat this season. Shooting a strong 40% on more than six attempted long balls per game last year, coupled with the departure of senior shooter Steven Cook should give Cannady the 100% green light. Look for the long ball from the senior shooting guard.
Photo Credit: Butler Basketball Twitter