Cincinnati, Ohio - Butler (19-7, 9-4) looks to stay alone in 2nd Place in the Big East when they take on Xavier (17-10, 7-7) in Cincinnati. The Bulldogs have won 4 of their 6 games on the road in the Big East this season. InsidetheDawgPound looks at what to expect on Saturday afternoon.
Time: 2:00PM EST
Venue: Cincinnati, OH (Cintas Center)
Know Your Foe
Record - 17-10 (7-7)
RPI - 33
Coach - Chris Mack, 6th Season (121-63 Overall)
Mascot - Musketeers
Conference - Big East
Enrollment - 6,500
Tale of the Tape
Xavier has won three of their past four games including wins over Providence, Marquette, and Cincinnati. Xavier defeated the cross-town rival Bearcats 59-57 in a series that returned to campus venues this season. The Musketeers were led by senior point guard Dee Davis with 16 points (5/8 FG), while sophomore guard Myles Davis added 12 points and 4 rebounds. Freshman forward Trevor Bluiett leads the team averaging 12.1 points per game, while senior center Matt Stainbrook adds 12.1 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game. Chris Mack and the Musketeers are looking to solidify their NCAA Tournament at-large status. The latest Bracketology projects have Xavier in the tournament as the 5th Big East team with an RPI of 33 and strength of schedule of 27.
Butler rebounded from a tough loss at home to Villanova to beat Creighton on Monday night 58-56. The Bulldogs trailed for a large portion of the game, but were able to make winning plays down the stretch including the game winning layup by Roosevelt Jones with just under 2 seconds remaining. Junior Kellen Dunham led the Bulldogs with 19 points (8/15 FG), while Jones added 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Senior Kameron Woods recorded the 15th double-double of his career with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Dunham continues to lead the Bulldogs in scoring on the season at 16.8 points per game, while Roosevelt Jones adds 13 points, 5.5 rebounds, and a team-high 3.8 assists per game. First year head coach Chris Holtmann has done a remarkable job unifying the Bulldogs this season after he replaced former head coach Brandon Miller. The Bulldogs are playing extremely well on the defensive end, while being efficient offensively. Butler currently has an RPI of 24 and sits comfortably in NCAA Tournament projections.
The last meeting between these two teams resulted in a 88-76 victory for Butler. The Bulldogs were fueled by five players in double figures. Sophomore forward Andrew Chrabascz led the team with 19 points (5/9 FG), while junior Roosevelt Jones added 16 points and 7 assists, senior Alex Barlow had 15 points, senior Kameron Woods recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and junior Kellen Dunham had 10 points. The Musketeers were led by Matt Stainbrook with 21 points and 5 rebounds, while Remy Abell added 15 points. The Bulldogs led at halftime and were able to pull away from Xavier down the stretch helped by a 13-8 advantage on the offensive glass. Xavier leads the all-time series 33-18.
Alex Barlow - Sr. - 5'11" 187 lbs - 9.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.7 spg
Kellen Dunham - Jr. - 6'6" 185 lbs - 16.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 42.6% 3PT
Roosevelt Jones - Jr. - 6'4" 227 lbs - 13.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.8 apg
Tyler Wideman - Fr. - 6'8" 245 lbs - 2.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 54.3% FG
Kameron Woods - Sr. - 6'9" 200 lbs - 7.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Dee Davis - Sr. - 6'0" 161 lbs - 8.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 6.4 apg
Trevon Bluiett - Fr. - 6'6" - 12.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.9 apg
Remy Abell - Jr. - 6'4" 200 lbs - 8.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.4 apg
Myles Davis - So. - 6'2" 195 lbs - 11.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.2 apg
Matt Stainbrook - Sr. - 6'10" 263 lbs - 12.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 61.8% FG
Player to Watch
Kameron Woods - The senior center has had a great final season for the Bulldogs. He is currently averaging 9.6 rebounds per game, which ranks 2nd in the Big East to go along with 7.3 points and 1 block per game. Woods is going to have his hands full on the glass against the Musketeers. He will face off against senior Matt Stainbrook, sophomore Jalen Reynolds, and junior James Farr. Woods finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the 1st meeting.
Kellen Dunham - Over the past 4 games, Dunham is averaging 20.7 points per game, while shooting 50.9% from the field. While he had a decent game against Xavier in the 1st meeting scoring 10 points on 2/8 FG, the sophomore has struggled against Xavier in his career and looks to have a breakout game against the Musketeers on the road.
Trevon Bluiett - The highly touted freshman is tied for the team lead in scoring at 12.1 points per game. He scored just 2 points in the Musketeers last game against Cincinnati, playing just 18 minutes. During the Indianapolis-native's first game in Indianapolis, Bluiett finished with 9 points on just 4/10 shooting from the field against the Bulldogs.
Dee Davis - After 3 straight games in single digits scoring, Davis finally hit double digits with 16 points against Cincinnati. Davis is the catalyst for the Xavier offense and leads the team in assists at 6.4 per game. In the last meeting he scored 11 points and had 7 assists, but committed 4 turnovers. If Davis can find open men in the post and on the break, Xavier will be off and running.
Keys to the Game
Replacing Chrabascz - Butler had the same starting lineup for the first 25 games this season before sophomore Andrew Chrabsacz hurt his hand against Villanova last Saturday. While the sophomore forward will be out for another 2-3 weeks, Butler will need to become more comfortable with his replacements on the floor. Chrabascz had become Butler's most effective post scorer and now the Bulldogs look for more points from other places. Freshman Tyler Wideman started the game against Creighton, but freshman Jackson Davis and junior Austin Etherington also saw extended minutes. They combined for 4 points and 4 rebounds.
Defense - In the 1st meeting the teams combined for 164 points with Butler shooting 48.1%, including 40% from 3-point range, and Xavier shooting 46.4% including 27.8% from 3-point range. Historically these two fight it out in physical, defensive battles instead of free-flowing, offensive games. Last season, Butler and Xavier averaged a combined 130.5 points per game. Whichever team can impose defensive pressure and intensity will have the advantage and throw the other off of their game.
Inside The Numbers
5-3 - Butler's record in games decided by 4 points or left this season.
17 - Rebounds needed by Kameron Woods to be 3rd all-time at Butler in rebounding, passing Matt Howard (884).
24 - Points needed by Kellen Dunham to move into 20th place on the all-time scoring list.
17.1 - Xavier's average assists per game, which ranks 7th nationally and leads the Big East.
48.2 - Xavier's field goal percentage this season, which ranks tied for 15th nationally and leads the Big East.
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