PHILADELPHIA (PA) - Butler (12-15, 2-13) travels to Philadelphia looking to avenge an overtime loss to Villanova (24-3, 12-2) in the Big East opener. InsideTheDawgPound takes a look at what to expect on Wednesday night.
Know Your Foe
Record - 24-3 (12-2)
Coach - Jay Wright - 13th Season - 279-147 (400-232 Overall)
Mascot - Wildcats, Will D. Cat
Conference - Big East
Enrollment - 10,500
Site: Philadelphia, PA (The Pavilion)
Time: 8PM EST
Tale of the Tape
Butler enters the game having lost six straight games including five games by 8 points or less. The Bulldogs dropped their last game to Providence 87-81. The Bulldogs rallied from a 13 point halftime deficit, but came up short in the end. Butler was led by Kellen Dunham with 25 points (9/16 FG) and Khyle Marshall with 22 points. Dunham continues to lead the Bulldogs in scoring at 16.9 points and Marshall adds 14.9 points and 4.8 rebounds. First year head coach Brandon Miller continues to fight for wins despite leading Butler to a 2-13 record in the Big East and 12-15 overall.
Villanova has won eight of their past nine games including a 57-54 win over St. John's in their last game. The Wildcats were led by Darrun Hillard with 18 points, while Ryan Arcidiacono added 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Senior guard James Bell continues to lead the Wildcats in scoring at 15.9 points per game, while Jayvaughn Pinkston adds 14.7 points per game. Jay Wright has the Wildcats ranked 8th in the country while being 12-2 in the Big East and 24-3 overall.
The first meeting was a microcosm of the entire season for Butler. The Bulldogs trailed and rallied back to force overtime, but couldn't make plays down the stretch to grab the victory. Villanova defeated Butler 76-73. Butler was led by Kellen Dunham with 22 points, while Elijah Brown scored 19 points off the bench. Villanova was led by JayVaughn Pinkston with 22 points, while Darrun Hilliard scored 15 points.
Players to Watch
Kellen Dunham - Dunham has had an impressive season thus far. The sophomore is averaging 16.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He is shooting 39.4% from the field including 36.3% from three. Dunham scored 22 points (7/18 FG) in the first meeting with Villanova.
Kameron Woods - Woods continues to have an impressive year. The junior forward bounced back from a one game suspension to score 8 points and grab 10 rebounds. He is averaging 8 points and a conference-best 9.1 rebounds per game. Woods scored 6 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the first meeting with Villanova.
Khyle Marshall - The senior had an impressive game against against Providence, scoring 22 points on 10/17 shooting. Marshall averages 14.9 points and 4.8 rebounds. He is shooting 52.8% from the field, which ranks 2nd in the Big East. Marshall was in foul trouble in the first meeting with Villanova. He played just 22 minutes and scored 4 points on 2/7 shooting.
James Bell - The leading scorer for the Wildcats at 15.9 points per game, Bell has done it all for Villanova. To go along with his team leading scoring averages, Bell averages 6.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and is shooting 40.7% from three point range. Bell was held to just 7 points on 3/10 shooting, while collecting 8 rebounds in the first meeting with Butler.
JayVaughn Pinkston - One of the most talented big men in the Big East, Pinkston is averaging 14.7 points and 6 rebounds per game. He shoots 52% from the field which ranks 5th in the conference. He was nearly unstoppable at points against Butler in the first meeting scoring 22 points on 8/16 shooting.
Daniel Ochefu - The sophomore center averages just 6 points per game, but is shooting 61.7% from field. Ochefu is a difference-maker on the defensive end and rebounding. The Baltimore-native averages a Big East-best 1.6 blocks per game and grabs 6.1 rebounds per game. In the first meeting with Butler he scored 8 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 21 minutes.
Keys to the Game
Outside Shooting - Butler has struggled to stop teams from shooting well from the field. Opponents have shot 45.8% from the field including 32.8% from three against Butler this season. Villanova is shooting 36.4% from three, which ranks 4th in the Big East. Butler is shooting 32.6% from three, which ranks 8th in the Big East. The Bulldogs allowed Villanova to shoot 50% in the first meeting including 31.3% from three. Butler is 1-9 when their opponent shoots 50% or better from the field.
Halftime Lead - While Butler hasn't closed out a few games this season, their record is much better when leading at halftime. The Bulldogs are 9-5 this season when leading at the break. Butler cannot afford to get in a big hole against Villanova in a hostile environment.
Ball Control - Villanova ranks 2nd in the Big East in steals per game at 6.7 per game. Butler has turned the ball over just 272 times this season (10.1 per game). Villanova has turned it over 328 times this season (12.1 per game), while Butler averages 5.96 steals per game. It will be a battle of ball control versus pressure defense at the Pavilion.
7-10 - Butler's record in night games this season (after 6pm)
79.9 - Villanova's scoring average this season, ranks 2nd in the Big East.
72.4 - Villanova's free throw percentage, ranks 4th in the Big East.
67.2 - Butler's free throw percentage, ranking 10th in the Big East.
19 - Elijah Brown scored a career high 19 points in the first meeting with Villanova.
16.9 - Kellen Dunham's scoring average this season, ranking 4th in the Big East.