The Butler Bulldogs are nothing if not inventive. Time and time again this season, they've managed to come up with new and creative ways to let large leads turn into crushing defeats. Up 41-31 with 13:54 remaining, the Bulldogs looked to be building an unassailable lead in an utter slop-fest against Marquette. Then came four turnovers in seven possessions to get the Golden Eagles right back in it.
The home team would lead until the 4:26 mark in the second half, but three more turnovers on three straight possessions gave the game up for good. All told, Butler turned the ball over 20 times en route to a 69-62 defeat at the Bradley Center.
Once again, the freshmen showed some flashes of ability that should give Butler fans hope. Andrew Chrabascz has certainly earned the starting role with his ability to put the ball in the basket. 10 points, but only two rebounds that indicate the 6'7", 225 pound big man still has some glaring weaknesses going up against Big East forwards. Elijah Brown has gotten his scoring ability back in shape, but was also a victim of first-year mistakes. His five TOs were a big part of what went wrong in the second half. Even forgotten Nolan Berry had a great two minutes. Subbing in for Eric Fromm due to foul trouble, Berry notched a quick five points.
For a team that fundamentally lacks scoring options (worst offensive efficiency in the Big East), its hard to understand coach Brandon Miller's thought-process not getting these guys more minutes early in the season. Even now, he seems to be married to a seven-man rotation (not including Berry's brief emergency spell) that sees Alex Barlow, Kellen Dunham, and Kameron Woodsrun around for 35 minutes plus a game.
Starting Chrabascz is a nice nod toward the future and appreciation for the team's most efficient offensive player (by far), but at some point it'd be nice to see Berry start to get ten minutes a game while testing out what Devontae Morganor one of the backup point guards can do in extended stretches. None of the bench guards have looked good so far, but the only way to get better is to play and the season's already lost.
Butler travels to Georgetown on Saturday. The Hoyas went through a tough stretch in late January but seem to have their confidence back following wins against Michigan State and St. John's. After that is a trip back home to face the hated Xavier Musketeers.