Game 25: Butler University (17-9)
Feb. 13, 6:30 pm (EST)
Hinkle Fieldhouse (9,100)
TV: CBS Sports Network
GU Radio: WDCH-99.1
BU Radio: WFNI-1070
Game Notes: Georgetown
Game Notes: Butler
About the Bulldogs:
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Conference: Big East
2016-17 Record: 25-9
Record vs. Georgetown: 5-6
Meet The Coach:
1st season, 17-9
|Last 5 Games (3-2)
01/27: BU 70, St. John's 45|
01/31: BU 92, Marquette 72
02/03: BU 80, DePaul 57
02/06: Xavier 98, BU 93
02/10: Villanova 86, BU 75
Winning changes everything. Were it not for three missed free throws and Myles Powell being well out of position on Georgetown's final possession Saturday, we'd be talking about how the Hoyas blew a 17 point lead and being one game out of the Big East cellar. But thanks to Marcus Derrickson, Tuesday's narrative is decidedly upbeat.
Georgetown hasn't won back to back games in Big East play since Jan. 28, 2017, an 85-81 win at the Hinkle Fieldhouse. To repeat the feat, Georgetown must avoid the mistakes of its game versus the Bulldogs in Washington, where the Hoyas lost a 20 point lead in a 91-89 double overtime loss.
Butler is coming off back to back losses to #2 Villanova and #4 Xavier where they gave the ranked teams everything they could handle--an overtime loss to the Musketeers and leading the Wildcats at halftime in Philadelphia before falling by 11. In each game, Butler picked up much needed offense via three three point line, combining for 24 threes over its last two games.
A three guard lineup has been trouble all season for the Hoyas, who do not have the defensive consistency to stay with opponents on the perimeter. For Butler to follow suit, it must get a better game out of freshman PG Aaron Thompson, who has scored just one field goal in his last three games and has been a victim of foul trouble. His two best games this season were in road games and Tuesday's game may offer an opportunity for Thompson to be more aggressive in shooting. Such will not be the problem for Kamar Baldwin, who dropped a career high 31 on the Hoyas on Dec. 27 and is coming off a 25 point effort versus Villanova Saturday. Baldwin's numbers from three point range are lacking down the stretch and he may see Tuesday as an opportunity to drive inside for fouls, where he was 7 for 7 in the loss to Villanova.
Butler's front line struggled against superior competition over the last week and will be called upon to defend itself Tuesday against Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson. Forward Tyler Wideman has averaged just 5.3 points a game over his last three games. Xavier will get point production from Kelan Martin, coming off back to back 30 points games, but any added firepower down low would be a big advantage to Butler in this game.
As for Martin, his potential matchup with freshman Jamarko Pickett bears watching. Martin has sank 14 threes in his last two games, Pickett just three. More importantly, Martin is averaging nearly 35 minutes a game and has not been in serious foul trouble in his last 10 Big East games. With two game winners this season, including the late basket to steer the Bulldogs past the Hoyas on Dec. 27, Martin is a threat all evening.
Butler's 101-93 win a home over then-#1 Villanova will pay dividends on Selection Sunday, but the Bulldogs enter Tuesday with a three game homestand against GU, Providence3, and Creighton. Getting off to a good start is crucial to Butler, which is 6-3 when leading at the half but 1-3 when trailing. Butler's only win in games decided by five points or less? Its game against Georgetown.
The best number you didn't see in Georgetown's win Saturday was turnovers. Thirteen isn't a remarkable numbers as turnovers go, but four under GU's Big East average meant four less opportunities for the Hall to come away with the win, which was vital. Butler averages just 10.3 turnovers in Big East play and will look to keep that number under 12 for the game, given that the Bulldogs are ninth of ten teams in field goal defense and cannot afford points off turnovers.
Keys to the game:
1. Defending Kelan Martin: Zone packages may be in order to slow down martin, who Georgetown may struggle to contain.
2. Georgetown's Guard Play: A pleasant surprise Saturday, GU's guards won't win this game, but they could lose it. Staying within its means and not overcommitting is a priority.
3. Option #4: The Butler trio of Martin, Baldwin and Wideman accounted for 73 of its 91 points against the Hoyas in Washington; likewise, Govan, Derrickson and Jahvon Blair combined for 59 of the Hoyas' 89. can either team get sustained point production out of the top three?
But maybe the simplest stats are the easiest. Butler is 7-0 in Big East play when out shooting its opponent, 0-6 when it does not. That's an opportunity for Georgetown to win the game in the paint where its advantages are more pronounced, and their peril is less risky.