Playing their first full game without Rotnei Clarke in the lineup, Butler shot 37.5% from the floor and just 5-19 from long range.
Kellen Dunham, Brad Steven’s star freshman that many expected to pick up more of the scoring load, was just 2-10 from beyond the arc against Richmond.
With those numbers in mind, would you be surprised if I told you that Butler still won the game by 15, knocking off the Spiders 62-47? That’s what happens when you get back to your roots as a program.
Butler held Richmond to 32.7% shooting from the field, dominated the interior offensively and manhandled the Spiders on the glass. Rebounding margin may be a dead stat, but when you see a team — like Butler — outrebound an opponent 53-20, it doesn’t really matter whether or not the stat is relevant. But if that doesn’t suit you, how about this: Butler grabbed 20 offensive rebounds to Richmond’s 14 defensive rebounds, giving them an astounding 58.8% offensive rebounding percentage.
But that wasn’t the only way the Bulldogs dominated the paint.
Center Andrew Smith finished with 15 points and seven boards on 6-9 shooting from the floor. Roosevelt Jones chipped in with 10 points, 12 boards (six offensive) and four assists as well.
Performances like this are what makes the Bulldogs so impressive this season. They have plenty of talent and and an elite go-to scorer, but this is a group that still thrives on the things that made them a plucky underdog for so many years.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.