Although its first regular season game is nearly a month away, a lot has happened for the Butler men’s basketball team.
Butler was highly ranked by both national and Big East coaches’ polls. Then, saw two of its players named to the preseason first team all-conference all in a two-day span.
-= Related: Butler MBB Roster Breakdown=-
No surprise there. Both players were exceptional last season and should be even more so this year.
But what is surprising is the fact that no other Butler players were given spots on any of the preseason lists. Not one.
Not junior forward Andrew Chrabascz. Not highly recruited freshman big man Nate Fowler.
Not even redshirt junior and NC State transfer Tyler Lewis. For a guy who saw significant minutes while playing for an ACC powerhouse, it’s shocking how undervalued he’s become.Mar 21, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
I suppose sitting out a year might make it easy to be overlooked, but mark my words, by the start of the conference tournament, Lewis will be in contention for Big East player of the year. He’s that valuable.
So to not include him on the preseason all conference first team, second team, or even honorable mention, is just comical.
But let’s look at the positives of this hilariously awful oversight, shall we?
If Big East coaches failed to recognize Lewis as a top-tier player, it’s possible they’ll overlook him come game time.
Also, in the grand scheme of things, preseason rankings mean next to nothing. And while having players snubbed is never fun, chances are those lists will look a heck of a lot different come March.
For the sake of celebrating fellow Hoosiers, I think it’s important to note that aside from Dunham, two other Indiana natives nabbed some preseason recognition.
Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett, a 6-foot-6-inch sophomore guard and 3-time state champion with Park Tudor, landed on the All-Big East honorable mention list, and senior Georgetown standout D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who spent his first three years of high school at North Central, joined Dunham as a preseason first-teamer.
As a whole, the Dawgs found themselves ranked third on the Big East coaches’ preseason poll and didn’t get a single first-place vote.
Villanova topped the list, receiving 81 total points and nine out of 10 possible first-place votes. Understandable, considering they won both the Big East regular season and conference titles last year and finished with a 33-3 record.
Georgetown ranked second, garnering 70 points and the one remaining first-place vote.
Butler landed just slightly below Georgetown with 67 points. Xavier (55 points) and Providence (45 points) rounded out the top five.
If you think Butler should be ranked higher, you’re not alone. But like I said, preseason polls don’t matter.
It’s also import to keep in mind that despite finishing 23-11 and making it to round three of the conference tournament, the Bulldogs were tied for seventh in last year’s preseason rankings.
And, c’mon, it’s Butler we are talking about here. If they aren’t being overlooked then something is terribly wrong. We should be used to this by now.
But this is where they like to be. They seem to relish being counted out, and use it as motivation to play that much harder.
So keep under-selling our beloved Dawgs, fans should say to the rest of the Big East, but don’t be surprised when it comes back to haunt you.
Nationally, Butler ranked 22nd on the USA Today 2015-2016 preseason coaches’ poll – not bad for a team picked third in its conference.
Let it be known that Georgetown failed to crack the top 25, as good a sign as any they are overvalued by Big East coaches.
Butler even topped Purdue, which tied for 24th in the poll.
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