Fresh off of two huge wins, the Butler Bulldogs are one of the hottest offensive teams in the country through the first week of the season. Missouri State, whom the Bulldogs defeated 93-59 in the quarterfinals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Thursday, was at least a step up from The Citadel in terms of competition level, but Kellen Dunham and company have more than taken care of business against weaker opponents on both ends of the floor. While it's easy to write off the large margins of victory due to the quality (or lack thereof) of their early schedule, Butler has shown some really smooth offensive sets that should bode well as they continue their run through the Tip-Off against a stronger Temple team. Given what we've seen in their first two games, here's three things to watch in today's game:
1. Will the offensive hot streak continue?
Following their record-breaking victory on Saturday, the Bulldogs shot over 60 percent from the field for the second straight game on Wednesday, adding to a 47 percent outburst from behind the three-point line. It speaks volumes of how balanced the offensive game has been that Dunham, far and away the best offensive threat this team has, only put up four shots against Missouri State, nailing all four en route to 11 points. It's been well documented how much better the ball movement has been this season with the addition of junior transfer guard Tyler Lewis, and while he's certainly the best passer on the roster, everyone seems to be getting in on the action as the offense get creative to throw defenses off their scent. Nine different players registered assists in Wednesday's victory, led by Lewis (10), but it's the blend of back-door cuts, trailing three's, slash-and-kicks and more that have been so impressive. The offense is rolling, which is a very welcome sight for a team that has struggled at times in past years to fill up the basket.
2. Are we witnessing the sophomore emergence of Kelan Martin?
After dropping a double-double against The Citadel to kick off the season, Martin tied with junior forward Andrew Chrabascz for a team-high 18 points on Wednesday. He's missed just three shots all year, greatly improving his efficiency (something he struggled with last season), and he's starting to turn heads as Butler's top option off of the bench. Because of Martin's size, the Bulldogs can deploy him anywhere between shooting guard and power forward, and when he shifts down low in smaller lineups, it spreads the floor very wide, especially when Chrabascz holds down the center spot. We knew Martin was a better shooter than he showed last year, but we might be witnessing a big emergence here if the sophomore keeps this up.
3. Can the Bulldogs contain Devin Coleman?
Coleman has been Temple's best performer through their first two games, averaging 17 points per game between their victory over Minnesota on Wednesday and their loss against No. 1 North Carolina last week. We know how good Lewis is offensively, but he hasn't really been tested yet on the other end, and Coleman will serve as nice competition to get his feet wet with. He can be a deadly three-point shooter, so if there's anyone to watch for the Owls tomorrow, it's their senior guard.