Creighton might be the Big East's best team right now, but its hard to deny that the Providence Friarsare the hottest. Providence, the only conference opponent to knock off the Blue Jays so far, handled theButler Bulldogs down the stretch with superior rebounding and typically dead-on free throw shooting. The Bulldogs have now lost six of seven in the Big East.
Butler Breakdown (Player Grades)-
Alex Barlow (C) saw his steal/foul ratio (one and four) drop back to Big East norms after a good game against Marquette. He finished with six points and four assists and one steal while playing all 40 minutes. Kellen Dunham (C-) isn't going to get another open look for the rest of the season with the dearth of offensive options around him, so Butler fans will have to watch his three point percentage continue to drop. He scored 17 and did a decent job getting to the foul line, which should be automatic points for him.
Khyle Marshall (C+) was the only Butler starter to shoot better than 50% from the floor. He scored 15 but only grabbed two rebounds. Another player who disappointed on the glass was the usually reliable Kameron Woods (D). Woods' three boards is his lowest output of the year and a key reason why Kadeem Batts was able to dominate with 17 rebounds for Providence.
Its hard to make an argument for starting Erik Fromm (D) anymore. One of seven from the floor, just three boards of his own, and a clearly better option (on offense at least) waiting in the wings. Andrew Chrabascz (C+) scored eight in just 13 minutes off the bench and provided the spark down low that Butler has been missing all season on offense. Of course, his defense was once again a bit of a liability, fouling out in that short time on the floor. Chrabascz didn't snag a rebound in that time either. Coach Brandon Miller said after the game that he was happy with the team's offensive performance, but that Butler's defense and rebounding let them down. Not sure I agree with that, less than a point per possession won't win many Big East games, but Miller's mindset seems to be pointing towards keeping Chrabascz on the bench until he's a clear upgrade over Fromm on D as well.
Elijah Brown (C+) was the only other reserve to see playing time for Butler. He turned it over a couple times and only shot the ball twice, but I think that a four rebound, two assist performance in 22 minutes shows some growth for Brown. If he's going to contribute for Butler this year and in the future, the high school gunslinger has to be packed away in favor of a more mature, patient player. He seems to be making the effort at least.
Butler heads back home to face 0-5 St. John's on Saturday before a stretch of three more road contests.