DePaul Blue Demons (12-12, 6-5) vs. No. 22 Butler Bulldogs (17-6, 7-3) – Saturday February 7th, 2:30 p.m. Central – Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Television – Fox Sports 1
Radio – WSCR AM 670
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Coming off a win over Seton Hall on Tuesday, the DePaul Blue Demons (12-12, 6-5) will look to make it two in a row when they travel to Indianapolis on Saturday to take on the surging No. 22-ranked Butler Bulldogs (17-6, 7-3) at legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Outside of perhaps Villanova, Butler has to be considered the Big East's hottest team. They have now won four games in a row and seven out of their last nine. The Bulldogs are most recently coming off an easy 85-62 victory at home on Tuesday over St. John's.
New coach Chris Holtmann, who inherited this squad from the since-departed Brandon Miller, has his Bulldogs playing at a high level once again. When you think about it, this game— which is the first of the season between the two squads— is a matchup of two of the most improved squads from last year. If you recall, Butler and DePaul finished 9th and 10th in the Big East last year, respectively.
With improved chemistry, key players coming in or returning, these two teams have redeemed themselves after lousy seasons in the first year of the new Big East configuration. Butler is tied (with Providence) for second in the Big East standings, while DePaul is all alone in fifth place at the moment.
As usual with the Butler program, this is a steady, smart and fundamentally sound team that usually doesn't beat itself. They have a solid core, with three players averaging in double figures in scoring.
The Bulldogs are led by their backcourt of Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones.
Dunham leads Butler in scoring with 16.3 points per game (which ranks fourth in the Big East). Dunham is a lights-out shooter, as he shoots .418 from three-point range (also ranking fourth in the conference) and .848 from the free-throw line. His 2.2 three-point field goals made per game ranks third in the Big East. He is not just a shooter, though, as he can get into the lane as well.
Then we get to Jones, who has come back strong after sitting out all of last year with a wrist injury. He is a jack of all trades, as he does so many things well. Jones contributes 12.7 points per game while leading the team in assists (3.8 apg) and also chipping in 5.7 rebounds per game. Jones is a tough-nosed guard who is strong going to the basket.
Rounding out the backcourt is steady senior Alex Barlow. Barlow averages 8.9 points per game while ranking second in the Big East in steals with 2.2 per game.
Also making waves for the Bulldogs are a couple of low-post players in senior Kameron Woods and sophomore Andrew Chrabascz. Woods is an animal on the glass and he leads the Big East in rebounding (9.5 rpg) while chipping in 7.4 points per game. Chrabascz, meanwhile, is coming off a huge week, where he was named to the Big East Honor Roll after registering career highs of 30 points and eight rebounds in an overtime win at Marquette. He scored seven points in the final 4:21 of regulation and six of the team’s first eight points in OT. Chrabascz is adding 11 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
Under Holtmann, the Bulldogs also stress defense, as they are second in the Big East in scoring defense, allowing just 60.5 points per game while ranking third in field-goal percentage defense, allowing teams to shoot just .400 from the field. Butler is also second in three-point field-goal percentage defense, limiting teams to just .281 shooting from the perimeter.
Led by Woods, the Bulldogs also get after it on the glass, ranking first in the Big East in rebound margin (+5.8), rebounding offense (averaging 37.5 per game), and second in rebounding defense, allowing just 31.7 rebounds per game to opposing teams.
Suffice to say, the Demons have to play a smart game, look for the best shot and get after it on the boards, which is something we all know they struggle with. Although, with Rashaun Stimage playing well of late, he could be a key neutralizer in this game.
This game will likely be won in the paint. We know both teams can shoot, so expect a lot of threes to be hoisted. However, whoever gets better post production and points in the paint will likely come away victors. Rebounding and defense will be paramount.
The Last Time
On March 6, 2014 at Allstate Arena, DePaul’s senior night was ruined in a 79-46 loss to Butler.
It was just one bad thing after another for DePaul. The Blue Demons lost guard Charles McKinney prior to the game to an ankle injury. Billy Garrett Jr. had a nosebleed right before tip-off. Then center Sandi Marcius turned an ankle stepping on a ball. Following all that, center Tommy Hamilton IV was called for a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected for throwing an elbow in the first half.
It seemed like the Blue Demons were snakebitten. DePaul shot one for 18 from beyond the arc on the night and 32.7 percent from the floor.
Butler outrebounded DePaul by a 46-29 margin. The Bulldogs were led by Alex Barlow who scored 19 points and shot seven of nine on the night. Khyle Marshall added 18 points for Butler.
DePaul honored seniors Brandon Young, Sandi Marcius, and Edwind McGhee before the game as they appeared on the Allstate Arena court for the final time in their playing careers. All three seniors started the game.
Young led the way for DePaul with 24 points.
Freshman guard Billy Garrett, Jr. added 12 points in the losing effort.
No. Name Pos. Cl. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
0 Austin Etherington F Graduate 6-6 215 Cicero, Ind. / Hamilton Heights
1 Tyler Lewis G Junior 5-11 170 Statesville, N.C. / Oak Hill Academy (Va.)
3 Alex Barlow G Senior 5-11 187 Springboro, Ohio / Moeller
4 Tyler Wideman F Freshman 6-8 245 Schererville, Ind. / Lake Central
11 Jackson Aldridge G Senior 6-0 187 Sydney, Australia / Australia Institute of Sport
13 Jackson Davis F Freshman 6-8 210 Lexington, Ky. / Lafayette
21 Roosevelt Jones F Junior 6-4 227 O'Fallon, Ill. / O'Fallon
24 Kellen Dunham G Junior 6-6 185 Pendleton, Ind. / Pendleton Heights
25 Steven Bennett G Sophomore 6-2 175 New Castle, Ind. / Chrysler
30 Kelan Martin F Freshman 6-6 215 Louisville, Ky. / Ballard
31 Kameron Woods F Senior 6-9 200 Louisville, Ky. / Eastern
34 Trey Pettus G Sophomore 6-4 195 St. Louis, Mo. / MICDS
45 Andrew Chrabascz F Sophomore 6-7 225 Portsmouth, R.I. / Cushing Academy
DePaul vs. No. 22 Butler Game Preview
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