DePaul takes on Butler: The Preview

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The Bulldogs Travel to a Half Empty Wintrust to Face the Blue Demons

The Setup

DePaul plays the Butler Bulldogs on Saturday, 1/20/2018 at 1:00 pm Central at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago’s South Loop, in front of thousands of blue seats.  It will be carried on FS1 (Channel 237 on Comcast) and on the Score (Radio 670).

Butler comes into the game with 13 wins and 7 losses overall, with a 3-4 record in Big East games after losing at Providence.

DePaul is coming off of a disastrous, impotent offensive performance , their worst offensive game of the year, against Marquette.Gambling Corner

Vegas opened at Butler -4.5 but as of this morning, it is Butler at -5. The over/under is 148. Kenpom.com favors Butler by 4.

Recent History

Butler swept DePaul last season.  Since the forming of the new Big East in 2014, the Bulldogs hold a 7-1 series lead.  Last time DePaul beat Butler was January 9th, 2014 in a double overtime thriller at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Fun Facts about Butler

Founded in 1855 as NorthWest Christian University, founder Ovid Butler imparted his abolitionish values of diveristy, inclusiveness, and equality.

Progressive from the Beginning

The university was the first in Indiana and the third in the U.S. to admit both men and women.  The university charter called for “a non-sectarian institution free from the taint of slavery, offering instruction in every branch of liberal and professional education.” 

Hinkle Fieldhouse

They play at Hinkle Fieldhouse, completed in  1928 as the then-largest basketball arena in the nation.  Just like when the Blue Demons opened the Wintrust Arena, Butler opened Hinkle Fieldhouse against Notre Dame on March 7, 1928.  Of course, Butler beat the Irish in 1928, unlike the Demons in 2017, who choose to grant mercy on all comers in a true Vincentian way.

Ghost Story

Evidently, there is a ghost in the basement of Robertson Hall, where theatrical productions use to take place.

Creator of the Orange Basketball

Coach Tom Hinkle (Hinkle Fieldhouse people) evidently created the orange basketball.

Their Mascot Has His Own Blog

Really, Butler Blue the 3rd has a blog; he does.  Along with a twitter handle @butlerblue3.  However, you will get much more basketball content from lazybluedemon.wordpress.com  and more interesting tweets from @lazybluedemon.

Religious affiliation:  Non-Sectarian (Only Non-Catholic Big East School)

The Current Flavor of Bulldogs

These guys are a dominant offensive team, that does not get to the line much.  They generate most scoring through 2 pointers.  They sport the 28th most efficient offense in D1 basketball.  They shoot 34.4% from 3pt. land which is 194th best in the land, slightly below average for a D1 team.  However, they shoot 75.6% from the free throw line (44nd best) and 54.5% from 2 point land (42nd best)  They do not turn the ball over much, 19th best rate.

DePaul defense is slighty better than Butler’s, which is interesting, and makes this game winnable.

Who should Scare the Blue out of Us?  No one really.

This is a balanced team.  The players with the highest usage do not blow me away with their offense efficiencies.

High Usage Guys

Kelan Martin is a 6’7″ power forward who plays both inside and outside.  He take 30% of all shots for Butler.

Kamar Baldwin  a 6’1″ point guard, who takes 28% of the shots.  Most of his shots are from inside the 3 point line.

Tyler Wideman

Has one the best names in college basketball.  6’8″ 240.  He shoots from point blank and overpowers his opponents, shooting 71.2% from the field.

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Great Name for a Big Man, make that a Wideman

3 Point Specialists

Paul Jorgesen shoots most of his shots outside the arc.  He is shooting 38.9%

Sean McDermott, when he shoots, he shoots mostly from 3 land, at a rate of 39.6%

How does DePaul Matchup?

Let’s go to the tail of the tape.

Offense

The Bulldogs shoot the 3 at a below average rate (34.4%).  The Demons are one of the worst in the land at shooting 3s (31.7%).  Butler does not get to the line (329th).  DePaul gets there more, but way below national averages, so hopefully this will be a quick, clean game.  Butler does not turn the ball over (19th) nor do the Bulldogs have the ball stolen (27th).  DePaul is getting worse in both categories (122nd and 195th). The Demons rebound on the offensive end better (much better).  However, the Indy boys shoots better from 2 point area.  DePaul’s offensive was God-Awful last game.  Truly, truly pathetic.  Cain and Strus started out 0-15 combined.  You have to think DePaul will shoot a little better (especially since Butler are not known for the defense.)

Advantage:  Butler

Defense

Butler plays mostly man defense.  The Indy Boys are great on the defensive glass limiting 2nd chance opportunities.  DePaul is national average at defensive rebounding.

The Bulldogs and Demons should give seminars on how not to play 3-point defense.  In what might be a first, the Demons are going against a worse 3 point defense then they are.  Butler allows 37.9% (297th) from beyond the arc, while DePaul defense comes in at 37.3% (280th).

DePaul is 53th at stopping the 2 point shot, while the puppies are D1 average.

The Demons create slightly more turnovers.

Advantage:  DePaul  

In Conclusion

Marin Maric will have a definitive height advantage on the offensive side, so I would expect him to be a focal part of the offense.  Hopefully he remembers his pivot foot and cuts down on his turnovers.  The key difference in the two teams is that Butler has a more balanced offense.  They have more offensive contributors.  Butler could scheme towards Strus to force the Demons to use Cain or Cyrus to beat them.  Not sure if you noticed, but Cain is shooting 35.6% from 2 point land and 27.5% from 3, while Cyrus shoots just 40% from 2 point land, and shoot too few 3 pointers to establish a pattern.  That does not sound good.  Hopefully Jalen Butz is healthy enough to play, because he’d be a perfect foil to Wideman.

Butler beats teams through limiting second chance points on Defense, while taking care of the ball and making high percentage shots on offense.  Is it possible that DePaul has success on the offense board?  Is it possible that DePaul’s high usage guys don’t go 0-15 to start the game?  Is it possible that DePaul’s inside defense contests the high percentage shots of Butler, and make the Bulldogs miss?

The answers are all a definitive yes.

Winnable game for the Demons.  Maric, Strus and McCallum lead the Demons to a 2 point victory.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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DePaul is Going to Win!  Yeah, That’s the ticket!

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