INDIANAPOLIS (IN) - Butler (10-7, 0-5) hosts Marquette (10-7, 2-2) for the first time as Big East foes. The Bulldogs were knocked out of the NCAA Tournament last spring by the Golden Eagles. InsideTheDawgPound looks at what to expect Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Know Your Foe
Record - 10-7 (2-2)
Coach - Buzz Williams, 6th Season - 132-61 (146-78 Overall)
Mascot - Golden Eagles
Conference - Big East
Enrollment - 12,000
Tale of the Tape
The Bulldogs are currently on a five game losing streak and are 0-5 in the Big East. The last loss against Creighton was the largest margin of the season for Butler. The Bluejays defeated the Bulldogs 88-60. Butler was led by Kellen Dunham with 12 points and Khyle Marshall with 11. First year head coach has the Bulldogs at 10-7 on the season. The Bulldogs are led by Dunham who is averaging 18.4 points per game, while Marshall adds 15.6 points per game.
Marquette heads to Hinkle Fieldhouse after squeezing out a 67-66 victory over Seton Hall to move to 2-2 in the Big East. Against the Pirates the Golden Eagles were led by Todd Mayo who scored 19 points off the bench, while Jamil Wilson added 16 points and 11 rebounds. Davante Gardner leads the Golden Eagles in scoring for the season. The 6-foot 8 forward is averaging 13.7 points per game while shooting 54.4% from the field. Wilson is second on the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game. Buzz Williams is in his 6th season at Marquette and has them at 10-7 on the season.
Players to Watch
Kameron Woods - The Big East's leading rebounder needs to have a solid game offensively and defensively against the Golden Eagles. Woods is averaging 9.7 rebounds per game, which leads the Big East. He needs to pick up his offense as he has not converted on a field goal in the past two games and his scoring average has dipped to 8.7 points per game.
Kellen Dunham - Dunham continues to be Butler's go to scorer and is averaging 18.4 points per game, which ranks 4th in the Big East. He has just 12 points on 5/14 shooting against Creighton and looks to rebound against Marquette. He scored 4 points in each of the two games against the Golden Eagles last year.
Khyle Marshall - Marshall is Butler's best threat on the interior and is currently averaging 15.6 points per game. Marshall is shooting 54.7% from the field, which ranks 5th in the Big East. He scored 11 points in the last outing against Creighton, while shooting 5/10 from the field.
Davante Gardner - The 6-foot 8 senior forward was recently inserted into the starting lineup for the Golden Eagles after playing most of his career from the bench. Gardner is averaging 13.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game to lead the Golden Eagles in both categories. Gardner lives in the paint and uses his nimble feet to score on the interior. Gardner also leads the team in free throw attempts and is connecting at a 70.4% rate.
Jamil Wilson - The long and athletic forward from Racine (WI) has had a solid career at Marquette after transferring back home from Oregon. The senior forward is averaging 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds, which ranks second on the team in both categories. Wilson can also stretch the floor to the three point arc, but is struggling this season, shooting just 29.2% (14/48).
Todd Mayo - The brother of Milwaukee Bucks' guard O.J. Mayo is third on the Golden Eagles in scoring at 9.8 points per game. Mayo is a nice scorer from the perimeter for Marquette and has reached double-figures in 5 of his last 6 games. The junior is a streaky shooter and is connecting on 36..1% from three point range. He does get to free throw line effectively averaging nearly 4 free throws per game and connecting on 83.6% from the line.
Keys to the Game
Gardner vs. Butler front court - The most dangerous weapon on the court for Marquette is Davante Gardner. He uses his size, touch, and footwork very well. Butler will try to match Gardner against Khyle Marshall, Kameron Woods, or Andrew Chrabascz. Outside of Gardner, the Golden Eagles aren't very dangerous offensively and if the Bulldogs can contain the Golden Eagle big-man they can control the game.
Rebounding - Marquette has been built around toughness since the days of Tom Crean at Marquette. Buzz Williams has followed in the footsteps of his former head coach and looks to win the rebounding margin during each game. Butler has been a great rebounding team over the past few season and the battle on the backboards is something to watch closely throughout the game. The rebounding numbers are nearly identical with Butler is averaging 37 rebounds per game including 12 offensive rebounds, while Marquette averages 38 per game including nearly 12 offensive rebounds.
Responding to Adversity - Both teams have gone through rough patches throughout the year. The Bulldogs have lost 5 in a row and had their worst loss of the year at Creighton on Tuesday night. Marquette was the preseason favorite to win the Big East by many media members and has gotten off to a slow start. Which ever team can keep their composure when a drought occurs will have a better chance to win the game.
10.6 - Kameron Woods' rebounding average over the past 8 games.
2.7 - Alex Barlow ranks 4th in the Big East in assist to turnover ratio.
3 - Turnovers committed by Butler, a season-low, against Creighton.
71.1 - Marquette's points per game, which ranks last in the Big East.
31% - Marquette's team 3-point shooting percentage, which ranks last in the Big East.
54.4% - Davante Gardner's field goal shooting percentage, which ranks 6th in the Big East.