VMI-Butler Preview

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Butler has never faced VMI, and coach Chris Holtmann knew he would be facing an opponent that had been one of the nation's highest-scoring teams in recent years.

Instead, Holtmann's club is the one putting up a lot of points.

The 18th-ranked Bulldogs are the second-highest scoring team in the country and will try to extend their home nonconference win streak to 25 games Monday night against the Keydets.

VMI (3-4) led the nation with 88.3 points per game two seasons ago and was fourth at 80.5 a season ago. That output came under coach Duggar Baucom, who left to coach The Citadel - the nation's highest-scoring team at 94.1 points per game.

Butler (6-1) crushed The Citadel 144-71 in the season opener Nov. 14. That evened Holtmann's mark at 3-3 against Baucom, with the Butler coach losing three of five against VMI when he coached Gardner-Webb.

The Bulldogs got back in the Top 25 after dropping out two weeks ago thanks in part to Wednesday's 78-76 victory at then-No. 17 Cincinnati. Three days later, they shot 56.9 percent in an 85-71 win over Indiana State.

"I liked the way the guys accepted the challenge coming off Wednesday night," Holtmann told the school's official website. "We need to do that again with another quick turnaround with a game on Monday night."

Kelan Martin scored a career-high 24 points and Kellen Dunham and Andrew Chrabascz each added 19 for the most points by a Bulldogs trio in two seasons.

Dunham is tied for 14th in the nation with 21.3 points per game. His average of 25.0 points at home is tied for sixth.

Butler hasn't lost at home to a nonconference foe since falling 68-62 in overtime to Pittsburgh on March 21, 2012.

VMI, now coached by former Penn State player Dan Earl, was picked to finish last in the Southern Conference in two preseason polls. The Keydets are averaging 57.3 points on the road, where they are 0-4 after Saturday's 89-62 loss to Ohio State.

With no player taller than 6-foot-6, VMI was outrebounded 48-27.

"You can't get into a jumping game with somebody that's either more athletic than you or taller than you. You have to put a body on them," Earl said. "At times, we did it, but we kind of wore down a bit."

The lack of size will be a major issue against a Butler frontcourt that features the 6-7 Chrabascz and the 6-8 Tyler Wideman. The Bulldogs are second in the Big East in rebound margin at plus-7.3.

QJ Peterson is the Keydets' biggest threat with a conference-best 20.6 points per game. He ranks ninth in the nation with an average of 9.1 3-point attempts.