Preview: #11 Villanova vs Butler

Butler (10-2) opens Big East play by hosting #11 Villanova (11-1) on New Year's Eve. InsideTheDawgPound takes a look at what to expect at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

INDIANAPOLIS (IN) - Butler (10-2) opens Big East play by hosting #11 Villanova (11-1) on New Year's Eve. InsideTheDawgPound takes a look at what to expect at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Know Your Foe

Record - 11-1 (0-0)

Coach - Jay Wright - 13th Season - 265-145 (387-230 Overall)

Mascot - Wildcats, Will D. Cat

Conference - Big East

Enrollment - 10,500

Tale of the Tape

Butler enters Big East play after a 10-2 start to the year and have won 5 straight games under first year head coach Brandon Miller. Butler is coming off of a 66-48 victory over NJIT (6-9). The Bulldogs were led by Khyle Marshall with 21 points and Kameron Woods with 9 points and 12 rebounds.

Villanova enters ranked #11 and coming off of their first loss of the season to #2 Syracuse (12-0) 78-62. Villanova was led by James Bell with 25 points (7/16 FGs) and Josh Hart with 10 points. The Wildcats are led by Jay Wright in his 13th season at Villanova and have started 11-1.

Players to Watch

Kellen Dunham - The leading scorer for Butler at 18.1 points per game, Dunham has had a tremendous season thus far. He has seen a lot of growth to his offensive game and can score in a variety of ways. Dunham didn't hit double figures for the first time in 5 games against NJIT and looks to rebound offensively.

Kameron Woods - Woods is nearly averaging a double-double this year and continues to be impressive during his junior campaign. He is averaging 9.6 points and a Big East best 9.8 rebounds per game. Woods will be crucial in the containment of Villanova on the defensive end where averages 1.4 blocks per game.

Khyle Marshall - The senior is having his best season as a Bulldog and is Butler's best offensive threat on the interior. At 6-foot 6 he is slightly undersize, but creates his own shots well and finishes on second chances. Marshall is averaging 17 points, while shooting 58.2%, and 6.7 rebounds per game, all of which are career highs.

James Bell - The Wildcats leading scorer at 16.2 points per game. Bell is having a great year offensively. He is shooting 42.5% from the field, 34.5% from three, and 81% from the free throw line. Not only is Bell Villanova's leading scorer, but he is also the Wildcats' leading rebounder at 6.3 rebounds per game.

Jayvaughn Pinkston - Pinkston is the Wildcats' best big man. The junior is averaging 15.3 points and 5 rebounds per game. He is shooting 50.9% from the field. Pinkston is coming off of a down game against Syracuse where he scored just 3 points and struggled against the size of the Orange.

Ryan Arcidiacono - The leader of Villanova from the perimeter is Arciadiacono. The sophomore point guard is second on the team in assists at 3.1 per game. While not a focal point offensively, averaging just 9 points per game, the offense runs through the Pennsylvania-native. He can be difficult to stop at the point guard position at 6-foot 3 and is a difficult matchup with his ability to drive with strength.

Keys to the Game

Transition vs Half Court - Butler needs to limit the Wildcats in transition and dominate the pace of play. Villanova thrives on the break with guards James Bell and forward Darrun Hilliard and is averaging 80.8 points per game, while Butler is most comfortable in a half court offense.

Front Court - Both teams will play with smaller lineups and do not feature a true big. Khyle Marshall has created a lot of mismatches in the post, despite being undersized, and has done a great job of creating his own shot. Kameron Woods has had a great year on the glass thus far and finishes well on second chances. JayVaughn Pinkston has been impressive for Villanova on the interior.

Emotional Response - Both teams are coming into the game with high emotions. Villanova lost their first game of the year to Syracuse. How will they respond to that loss and traveling to Hinkle Fieldhouse? Butler has won five straight and is entering their first season in the Big East as underdogs. How does Butler respond?

Notable Stats

50 - Khyle Marshall had his 50th double digit offensive output of his career against NJIT.

29 - Marshall is now 29th on the all-time scoring list at Butler.

35.6 - Kellen Dunham's average minutes per game this seasons, ranks 2nd in the Big East.

10 - Career-high points for Rene Castro against NJIT.

1 - Number of starting lineup combinations for Butler this season.

1996 - The last, and only, time that Butler and Villanova have played. Villanova won 62-54 in the Puerto Rico Shootout.


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