INDIANAPOLIS — Lost in the euphoria of the Butler men’s basketball team making the NCAA tournament in March and then proceeding to pound Arkansas into submission in its opening game was the fact that the Bulldogs lost seven of their last 11 games to close the season.

There were several factors that played a role in that slide, with a lack of rebounding being one of the more critical reasons.

 

In that late stretch, Butler was outworked on the glass in nine of those 11 games.

“Some things we’re doing (this year) are new,” first-year Butler coach LaVall Jordan said during the tournament. “A lot of things we’re doing are kind of Butler standard principles, so toward the end of the year, their mindset was the same. We lost a couple that hurt to lose. It always hurts to lose, but they came into practice the very next day just wanting to learn from that loss and be better the next time out.”

The Bulldogs were the eighth-worst rebounding squad in the Big East overall and sixth in league games alone. Having graduated its two leading rebounders (Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman) it is easy to believe that grabbing errant shots will be a concern again next season, however, assistant coach Omar Lowery believes that the issue can be remedied and the Bulldogs began that process Monday with their first official team practice of the 2018-19 season.

“I think that we are going to be a bigger team,” Lowery told News-Sentinel.com last month. “We lose (Wideman) but we are still a big, long, athletic team.”

Butler added 6-7 Jordan Tucker around Christmas time following his transfer from Duke and he will join a host of players that Lowery says can be effective on the glass.

“Jordan will bring (size) into the mix,” Lowery continued. “KB (Kamar Baldwin) is going to get more rebounds, AT (Aaron Thompson), Joey (Brunk) and Nate (Fowler).”

Fowler (6-10) and Brunk (6-11) will be placed in much more significant roles than a season ago with the loss of Wideman and Lowery said that Fowler is preparing himself well for that increased position.

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