After a full slate of Big East games on Friday, the Butler Bulldogs will look to keep the conference's schedule rolling in a home showdown with The Citadel on Saturday. We've been spending the offseason breaking down Butler's outlook for the season, and starting today, we'll get to see what head coach Chris Holtmann's team has in store for fans this season. Here's three things to watch in today's season-opening contest:
1. What will the big man rotation look like?
It's been a hot topic all summer, but it's going to be interesting to see how Holtmann handles minutes for his guys down low. Junior Andrew Chrabascz (returning from a concussion that kept him out of the team's second exhibition game) and sophomore Tyler Wideman are locked in as the team's starters on the block, but freshman Nate Fowler might benefit from playing big minutes early on before the competition level ramps up later on in the season. All reports indicate that those three should be getting the bulk of the minutes, but watch for sophomore Jackson Davis to try and make his presence known off of the bench quickly. Davis is still raw, but he's instant energy off the bench, and has the most athletic upside of nearly anybody on the roster. Throw in sophomore guard Kelan Martin and graduate forward Austin Etherington, who both will play minutes at the four in smaller lineups, and Holtmann will definitely have some options to play with down low.
2. The Tyler Lewis Train keeps a-rollin'
Lewis, making his regular season debut in a Bulldogs uniform after transferring from N.C. State before the 2014-15 season, was terrific in the pre-season, averaging 11 points in both exhibition games and dropping a team-high eight assists against Saint Joseph's (Ind.). I won't beat a dead horse about how much Lewis opens up the floor for Butler, but the ball movement the team can achieve when he's in the lineup is uncanny. Look for him to jump out to a hot start right away as he cements himself as one of the best guards in the conference.
3. The Swan Songs Begin
It may have seemed difficult to replace graduates Alex Barlow and Kameron Woods this summer, but it'll be even tougher to fill the shoes of Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones after this season. The senior duo, who both finished on the All-BIg East 1st Team last year, will be potentially the most potent offensive duo in the conference, and their swan song year will kick off with today's contest. It's hard to picture a Butler team without either of these two, but you have to assume this team has high hopes for their final season.