Despite playing without several key players, Butler basketball absolutely dominated IUPUI for all 40 minutes in their season-opener. Here were my takeaways.
Butler basketball is officially 1-0 in the 2019-20 campaign following a season-opening victory over IUPUI. Despite having only six scholarship players available for the majority of the game, the Dawgs absolutely dominated. By the time the final horn sounded in Hinkle Fieldhouse, the scoreboard displayed a 33-point advantage as the Dawgs defeated the Jaguars, 80-47. Butler was seemingly in control of the contest on both ends of the floor from the opening tip and also seemed to gain confidence as the game wore on.
Perhaps the most obvious example of this in-game improvement was in the rebounding column. Butler held a 10-point lead at halftime against IUPUI but had corraled five fewer rebounds than the opposition. In the second half, though, the Dawgs dominated on the glass with a +11 advantage. On the offensive end of the court, Butler’s ball movement was exceptional. The squad dished out 21 assists on 35 made shots while only turning the ball over nine times.
As a result of this strong overall performance, the Dawgs leaped up to No. 26 in the national KenPom rankings. While it is definitely way-too-early to talk about these rankings, it might not be insignificant. Butler looked like a well-oiled machine on both ends of the floor despite being forced to play awkward lineups with only a six-man rotation for most of the game.
Head coach LaVall Jordan deserves a ton of credit for pushing every player to understand their respective roles and he also clearly implemented a wide array of new sets to the offense. Additionally, he has placed a ton of trust in point guard Aaron Thompson to run the show on both ends of the floor and the junior is answering the call to this point in the year.
Now the season-opener is complete in Hinkle Fieldhouse, let’s dive a little bit deeper with my three key takeaways from the performance.