Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Why Butler is underrated

OK, maybe it's a stretch to call a team that made the Sweet 16 last year and is currently ranked in the top 15 underrated, but I think Butler is good. Really good. Like, people know they're good, but maybe they don't know how good.

Or maybe I just like watching them play a lot and that is clouding my judgment.

No matter, trust me, they're good. They do a lot of things well that typically don't get noticed by a lot of the casual basketball fans. They are not all that athletic, they don't have high flyers, and they don't go for the spectacular play. But there are 3 things, in my mind, that they do really, really well.

- They take either high percentage of high reward shots - What I mean by this is that a lot of their shots are either layups or 3-pointers. Of course, the other part of this is that they're really good at making 3-pointers (though they probably can't continue at this 44% clip). Thus, even when they are having an off shooting night, they can usually make up for that by making a lot of 3s (just by sheer volume of shots), and getting a lot of layups (because they are so brutally efficient and good passers). That hides a lot of problems. Case in point, the Ohio St. game... they were only 9/30 from beyond the arc, but they still won the game by 19. Partly good defense, partly the fact that they got a lot of layups and still made 9 3-pointers.

- They don't turn the ball over - They have 66 turnovers in 7 games. For those math impaired, that is a little over 9 turnovers per game. That is a fantastic rate. Obviously the fact that they are maximizing the amount of possessions that they get a shot off is key. Again, this is another thing that allows them to still put points on the board when they're having off-shooting nights.

- They don't put the other team on the FT line - This year their opponents have shot less than 14 FTs per game. That's pretty good. They don't give up free points.

Obviously, they have talent at key positions and experienced players (as I have mentioned before, AJ Graves gets the most hype, but I LOVE Mike Green's game), but it is the system that allows them to excel. And these are 3 huge parts of this system. And the fact that they do these things so well is a big reason that they're going to be a big threat in March.