March Madness preview: Texas and Butler are statistically similar, but with entirely different styles of play

Evan Berkowitz

Texas vs Butler: two teams nearly identical on paper, but opposite in reality.

Both teams have struggled to score. Butler averages 69.6 ppg. Texas 67.9. Texas shoots just .436. Butler .439.

Both teams defend well. Texas holds their opponent to 60.4 ppg. Butler 61.2. And they do so without steals. Texas does so at one of the worst rates in college, barely nipping only Towson, Quinnipiac, and Northwestern with their 3.8 steals per game. Butler’s 6.2 still finds itself behind 158 other schools in the nation.

Both teams clean up the glass extremely well. Texas outrebounds its opponent by 8.3 a game (6th in the nation). Butler 6.5 (21st).

Just by looking at these numbers, you would think these two teams play the same style, but in reality, they are pretty much opposites.

Texas’ size is unparalleled by any team outside of Lexington, Kentucky. Texas’ starting center Cam Ridley will have 85 pounds on Butler’s tallest man, Kameron Woods. Freshman forward Myles Turner at a less-than-generous 6-foot-11 will have at least two inches on any Butler Bulldog. Texas will look to pound it inside against the smaller Bulldogs on offense.

Butler on the other hand, will look to go bombs away. Junior Kellen Dunham, senior Alex Barlow and sophomore Andrew Chrabascz chuck up 12.3 three-pointers per game between the three of them. That’s three of their four leading scorers feeling comfortable behind the arc. And with Texas sporting “27-feet of big men,” Butler, in all likelihood, will look for its shots.

On defense, Texas gets it done with interior defense. The Horns lead the nation in blocks with almost eight a game. Texas’ guards at time struggle on defense, forcing Barnes to mix and match his lineups.

Butler, on the other hand, gets it done with a great team effort led by Barlow. Barlow, a 5-foot-11 guard, is the exact opposite of an interior presence. He accumulates nearly half the team’s steals. They are solid at all areas, though, specializing in keeping teams off the glass and running them off the three-point line. 

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