Butler Bulldogs mascot

The Butler Bulldogs look to reverse their losing record from 2022-23 and get back into the thick of things in the Big East.

As is tradition, CBB Review is again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the new college basketball season. Each day, we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Follow along with #CBBRank on all our social media channels.

The Butler Bulldogs finished below .500 in year one of the return of Thad Matta, but the transfer portal can be an exciting thing. Jalen Thomas is the only notable returning player, as the rest of Butler’s starting lineup will likely be made up of players from the transfer portal.

Matta also brought in a talented freshman class, which features Finley Bizjack, who is ranked as a top 100 recruit by ESPN. His three-point shooting off the bench could be crucial if Butler struggles to score as they did last season.

Matta’s job is far from in danger, but after a less-than-stellar first season back at Butler, he’s looking to turn it into a winning season in year two. With a completely different makeup, there’s a good chance that happens, even in the always-tough Big East.

Click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season.

Head coach: Thad Matta (19th season, 2nd at Butler)

2021-22 record: 14-18 (6-14)

2022 postseason finish: No postseason

Notable departures: Jayden Taylor (Transfer to NC State), Simas Lukosius (Transfer to Cincinnati), Manny Bates (Professional), Chuck Harris (Transfer to SMU), Eric Hunter (Graduated), Ali Ali (Transfer to Akron)

Notable non-conference games: at Michigan State (Nov. 17), ESPN Events Invitational (Nov. 23-24, 26), Texas Tech (Nov. 30), Cal (Dec. 9)

Projected Rotation

PG: Posh Alexander (6-0, 205, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 10.2 PPG, 4.2 APG, 3.9 RPG, 2.0 SPG (Transfer from St. John’s)

SG: DJ Davis (6-1, 170, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 15.0 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 40.2 3P% (Transfer from UC-Irvine)

SF: Jahmyl Telfort (6-7, 220, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 16.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.0 SPG (Transfer from Northeastern)

PF: Jalen Thomas (6-10, 230, Gr.-Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 7.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.5 APG, 1.1 BPG

C: Andre Screen (7-1, 231, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 11.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.3 BPG, 62.2 FG% (Transfer from Bucknell)

6: Pierre Brooks (6-6, 225, Jr.)

2022-23 stats: 3.6 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.4 APG (Transfer from Michigan State)

7: Landon Moore (6-3, 200, So.)

2022-23 stats: 13.1 PPG, 3.6 APG, 2.8 RPG (Transfer from St. Francis-PA)

8: Connor Turnbull (6-10, 215, So.)

2022-23 stats: 2.0 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.1 APG

9: Finley Bizjack (6-4, 170, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 105 overall ranked recruit

10: Augusto Cassia (6-8, 178, Fr.)

NBA Global Academy recruit

11: Boden Kapke (6-11, 230, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 264 overall ranked recruit

Butler Bulldogs MVP: Posh Alexander

One of the interesting dynamics brought about by the transfer portal is players heading to a new school in the same conference. Posh Alexander stays in the Big East after three stellar seasons at St. John’s.

With Rick Pitino taking over in Queens, Alexander opted out and bought in to Thad Matta and Butler. Arguably the best defensive point guard in the Big East, Alexander will bring toughness and leadership to a Bulldogs program in need of just that.

It’s a fresh start for a New York City kid who was a star freshman for the Red Storm, but only saw minor improvements as a sophomore, before rescinding as a junior. The Bulldogs will likely utilize Alexander more in the offense, which will be scary for the rest of the Big East.

Butler Bulldogs make-or-break player: Andre Screen

Sure, Jalen Thomas can play center if needed, but if Bucknell transfer Andre Screen can turn into the player Butler needs him to be, the Bulldogs can rise from the cellar of the Big East.

Screen is a blocking machine, and has an awesome basketball-themed last name, which can be put to use in the pick-and-roll game with Alexander. He also could give Butler the best frontcourt in the conference, alongside Thomas, who could wind up leading the team in scoring.

Coming from the Patriot League to the Big East doesn’t promise a smooth transition, but if the 7-footer adjusts quickly, Butler all of the sudden has an interesting roster.

Key analytic: Free throw attempts

I’m going to keep this one pretty easy. Butler only got to the line 13.2 times per game last season, which was one of the worst rates in college basketball. The Bulldogs were also one of the worst power conference teams at scoring the basketball, and of course, fewer free throws will lead to that.

Adding Alexander, Screen, Davis, and Telfort should give the Bulldogs more of a scoring approach, and especially more aggressiveness with the way Alexander drives the ball to the rim.

In fact, those four combined to get to the line nearly 15 times per game last season, which is already more than what Butler was able to do as an entire team last season. I’m sure Matta knew the areas his team needed to improve in, and he addressed that in the portal.

Butler Bulldogs 2023-24 projections

Projected conference finish: 10th in Big East

Projected postseason ceiling: NIT Appearance

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