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Villanova Basketball Opponent Capsule: Butler Bulldogs

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We continue our exploration and introduction of Villanova's 2014-15 opponents. Up next, the Butler Bulldogs, who the Wildcats will host for the New Year's Eve Big East Tip-Off.

Michael Hickey

Last Season: The Butler Bulldogs finished with a 14-17 record last season, and went 4-14 in the Big East to finish 9th.

Last Meeting/All-Time Series: The Villanova Wildcats have faced Butler three times on the hardwood, with the first meeting in 1996 and the last two coming last season in Big East play. Villanova is 3-0 against the Bulldogs in the all-time series.

Head Coach: After taking over the program from über-successful Brad Stevens (who left to coach the Celtics), Brandon Miller faced a disappointing first campaign in the new Big East,  and now the school has announced that he will take a medical leave of absence -- though would not state the cause. Chris Holtmann takes over in an interim role, after leading Gardner-Webb to 21 wins prior to joining Miller's staff last season.

Top Returners: Butler will return two of their top-three scorers from last season's team in guard Kellen Dunham (16.4 ppg) and forward Kameron Woods (7.5 ppg, 9 rpg), along with forward Roosevelt Jones, who sat out last year with an injury. Jones had averaged 10.1 ppg for Butler in 2012-13, and added 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Key Losses: Khyle Marshall averaged 14.9 ppg last season, good for second on the team, and his 4.8 rebounds per game were also second on the team. Erik Fromm also graduated after contributing 5.5ppg last season. Elijah Brown headlined a mass-exodus of Butler's 2013 recruiting class, having averaged 6.8 points, 3.7 rpg and 3.5 apg in 18.8 minutes. Also transferring were freshmen Nolan Berry and Michael Volovic, as well as sophomore Devontae Morgan.

Key Additions: The Bulldogs add three freshman and one transfer student this season. Forward Kelan Martin is their top-rated freshman at 4-stars, while 3-star forward Tyler Wideman will also add some size to their frontcourt, 6-8 forward Jackson Davis rounds out their freshman class. Small forward Austin Etherington transferred into the program from Indiana after averaging 2 ppg and 1.6 rpg in 10.6 minutes last season; he is eligible this season.

Also joining the program is former NC State point guard Tyler Lewis, who averaged 19.9 minutes per game last season and 4.4 points -- he will sit out the season due to NCAA rules.