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Scouting Report: Butler Bulldogs (By: Correspondent, Corey Elliot)


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submitted Today, 09:24 AM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Corey Elliot   social_twitter.png@CoreyElliot

I’ve covered the Bulldogs a few times this season and, even without Brad Stevens at the helm, this program still believes it’s capable of the same type of March madness magic. The type of belief many wish Texas possessed.

Even without that belief, the Bulldogs are a talented team on paper. On Thursday afternoon, Texas fans need to be on the lookout for these three Butler players:

Kellen Dunham, 16.7 PPG
Reminds me of: A.J. Abrams (2005-2009)
I have seen Dunham, running full speed on a fast break, abruptly stop and pop a 3 pointer. Sometimes he doesn’t even get through his full shooting motion before he releases. He’s that quick, and that accurate, which combine to make him that dangerous. He shot 41% from 3 point range this season. Dunham is as quick off the dribble as he is off of a screen. He has the same ability to drive and stop and pop for a jumper and it’s even more accurate than his touch beyond the arc. He shot 44% from the floor this season. Butler doesn’t necessarily live and die by the 3 pointer, but they jack up a lot of 3 point shots and it has every bit to do with how streaky they can be. I’ve seen Butler up by four points and two minutes later they’ve extended that lead to 13. Texas cannot dig itself in a hole, chasing points, because the Bulldogs are likely going to do that on their own at some point.

Alex Barlow, 9.2 PPG
Reminds me of: Cory Joseph (2010-2011)
It’s not that I don’t have a lot to say about Barlow, or that I think he’s any less impactful than Dunham, I just don’t feel like typing the exact same thing I wrote about Dunham. Barlow is every bit as dangerous as Dunham from beyond the arc, shooting 38 percent from 3 point range. Barlow can drive and he can pop and shoot just as fast as Dunham. He shot 41% from the floor this season.

Roosevelt Jones, 12.6 PPG 5.4 RPG
Reminds me of: P.J. Tucker
Roosevelt Jones is no threat from beyond the arc. But his physicality and size make him a tough match up to defend off the dribble and that could be a problem for Jonathan Holmes. I think Jones is a bit faster than Holmes. His game is different. He likes to drive, toss up a floater or go all the way to the rim, and he’s proficient at both. On defense, Jones will make it difficult for Holmes to get his shot. However, I think Jones is slightly overvalued, but only because I feel that Dunham is the beginning and end of Butler’s success offensively. If Dunham can’t get going, Jones will have to try and create more for himself—which he’s good at—but against the Longhorns’ size, that won’t be easy. Best case scenario for Texas: Dunham can’t get anything to fall early, Jones tries too hard to pick up the slack and finds himself and Butler struggling to attack Texas’ size.

The Matchup
Texas is going to be too much for Butler inside the 3 point line – Prince Ibeh, Myles Turner and Cameron Ridley are going to be too much for Butler physically. It isn’t even a matter of Texas forcing them to drive, or settle for inside shots, as opposed to 3’s. Offensively, Butler will have few answers for Texas’ offense if that offense runs through the three aforementioned Longhorns.

Texas’ difference makers outside of those three will be Isaiah Taylor and Demarcus Holland. Both guards are quicker than Barlow and Dunham and have a threat to get their own against a smaller Butler team.
Butler is going to try to put Texas in a hole early, making Texas chase points rather than running its offense through the big men in the paint. If Texas gets in a game of catch up with Butler it won’t bode well for the Longhorns chances to extend their season beyond Thursday.

If Texas eliminates Dunham’s looks from beyond the arc and can hold the Bulldogs around 30 percent from 3 point range, I think Texas wins. If the Longhorns make Butler work for their points inside, it’s not going to be a good day for the Bulldogs. 

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