Was the first half against Chattanooga just a fluke?
While Butler did end up exploding in the second half en route to a 70-48 victory over Chattanooga on Tuesday night, it was far from a flawless outing. For most of the first half, the Bulldogs struggled to create offensively, scoring just 25 points on 35 percent shooting from the floor and hitting only six of their 12 attempts from the free throw line. The Mocs spent much of the first half in a 2-3 zone, putting consistent pressure on the Butler shooters and erasing looks at the rim for junior forward Roosevelt Jones. Serving as the primary ball handler, Jones appeared to be especially stifled by the zone look, often cutting off the momentum of the offense by picking the ball up halfway into the paint before being smothered by the Chattanooga bigs.
The Bulldogs, especially guard Kellen Dunham, who finished with 26 points, ran rampant in the second half after the team's halftime adjustments forced Chattanooga back into a man defense. Was the first half just a fluke? Or did we get our first look at this team's shortcomings? We'll get a better idea on Saturday night heading into next week's Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
Kameron Woods, Rebounding Goliath
While Woods has struggled a bit offensively when he's asked to do anything other than dunk, he's been devouring rebounds like a competitive eater during the first two games of the season. He's averaging eleven rebounds a game already this year, including a 16-rebound performance against Chattanooga. Woods led the Big East with nine rebounds per game last season, and it's probably not a very bold prediction to say that he will probably lead the conference again this season. His offensive woes are a bit concerning, and the team can't afford another 3-10 shooting performance from Woods again this year. However, to say he's been eating on the glass so far this season is an understatement.
Holtmann's smaller rotations
Butler interim head coach Chris Holtmann talked during the preseason about trying to manage his player's minutes this season, but with senior point guard Jackson Aldridge battling an ankle injury, Holtmann chose to rotate just eight of his players against Chattanooga. Senior guard Alex Barlow played nearly the entire the game on Tuesday, clocking in at 39 minutes, and only Kelan Martin, Tyler Wideman and Austin Etherington came off the bench for the Bulldogs. Jones' ability to play minutes at the point helps, but it will be interesting to see how Holtmann continues to handle his bench's minutes during Aldridge's absence. The Bulldogs may need Martin, who played just nine minutes against Chattanooga, to pull more weight offensively as the team heads into their tournament schedule next week.