TERRE HAUTE (IN) - #23 Butler (5-1) travels on the road for the first time this season and will take on Indiana State (3-3) in the 125th meeting all-time between the two schools. They have not met since 2012. InsidetheDawgPound takes a look at what to expect.
TV: WNDY 23
Time: 7:05PM EST
Venue: Terre Haute, IN (Hulman Center)
Know Your Foe
Record - 3-3 (0-0)
Coach - Greg Lansing, 5th Season (82-58)
Mascot - Sycamores
Conference - Missouri Valley Conference
Enrollment - 13,200
Tale of the Tape
Indiana State has split its first six games of the season under 5th year head coach Greg Lansing. The Sycamores have lost their last two games to Illinois, 88-62, and Memphis, 72-62. Against the Tigers, Indiana State was led by freshman guard Brenton Scott with 12 points off the bench and junior guard Khristian Smith with 10 points and 6 rebounds. Smith leads the Sycamores in scoring at 13.3 points per game, while junior guard Devonte Brown is averaging 13.0 points per game. The Sycamores are shooting just 38.1% from the field as a team this season, while allowing their opponents to shoot just 38.9% from the field. Six players average 7 or more points per game for Indiana State.
After a 2-1 trip to the Bahamas and the Battle 4 Atlantis, Butler returns to the United States ranked #23 in the country. The Bulldogs are led by interim head coach Chris Holtmann who has done a wonderful job getting his team to play up to their potential. The Bulldogs were last in action in the 3rd place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis against Georgetown. The Bulldogs won 64-58 and were led by junior guard Kellen Dunham with 16 points and senior point guard Alex Barlow with 11. Dunham leads the Bulldogs in scoring on the season at 16.8 points per game, while freshman 6th-man Kelan Martin is averaging 10.8 points per game.
Players to Watch
Roosevelt Jones - The redshirt junior was a little off his game for many of the games at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Jones averaged just 7.6 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.6 turnovers per game during the trip to the Bahamas. Jones is still averaging 9.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game this season. The last time Jones faced the Sycamores in 2012, he finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Kellen Dunham - Dunham was named to the Battle 4 Atlantis All-Tournament team after his performance in the Bahamas. The leading scorer for the Bulldogs at 16.8 point per game, the junior is shooting 41.9% from the field including 40.5% from 3-point range.
Kelan Martin - To win on the road Butler will need a solid performance from its bench, including 6th man Kelan Martin. The freshman is averaging 10.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. The freshman has shown an ability to score against elite athletes and be a spark plug off the bench.
Khristian Smith - The 6-foot-6 junior from Indianapolis (IN) Pike High School is currently leading the Sycamores in scoring at 13.3 points per game, while shooting 32.9% from the field. He is a willing 3-point shooter as he leads the team in attempts at 28, but is connecting on just 14.3%. He also averages 5.3 rebounds per game.
Devonte Brown - The Texas-native is second on the team in scoring at 13 points per game, but is shooting the ball much better than Smith. He has connected on 21/48 (43.8%) field goals this season, but has attempted just 8 three pointers this season. He is averaging 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists this season. At 6-foot-2, Brown relies on his quickness to get into the paint and finish at the rim.
Jake Kitchell - The tallest player on the Indiana State roster at 6-foot-10, Kitchell has started all six games for the Sycamores. He is averaging 7.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and nearly 2 blocks per game. He is shooting a team best (of this that have attempted more than 20 field goals) 54.2%. One advantage for Kitchell is that he has a decent stroke from the free throw line, where he is connecting on 66.7% of his shots.
Keys to the Game
Overcoming Demons - Butler hasn't won against Indiana State on the road since 2002. The Bulldogs have had similar streaks against teams such as Wright State at the Nutter Center. No matter how good of a team that travelled to Dayton, OH it seemed like the Bulldogs didn't play well. The Bulldogs will need to overcome those statistics and trends in order to get the victory.
Ignoring the Hype - Butler is ranked for the first time in over a year and the Bulldogs have garnered a lot of publicity for their play at the Battle 4 Atlantis. While this team seems like it can overcome those emotions, Butler will need solid leadership in order to continue to play at a high level. Butler showed its ability to overcome adversity by beating Georgetown after a tough loss to Oklahoma in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis, now it is Butler's first true road game of the year.
Slow Starts - Butler has found a way to overcome slow starts offensively in their previous three games. The Bulldogs need to get off to a solid start against the Sycamores in order to avoid an upset on the road. If the Bulldogs can shoot about 40% in the 1st half, the Bulldogs will be on their way to another win.
48 - Double figures scoring games from Kellen Dunham in his career, including all 3 games at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
54.5 - Butler only allows this many points per game, ranking 1st in the Big East.
125 - Butler and Indiana State have met this many times.
2002 - The last time that Butler won at Indiana State was in this year.
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