The #22 Butler Bulldogs will make the trip to a snowy New England, as they will face off against the Friars for a second time this season at 4pm Saturday. I’ll be at the game and it will be my first time seeing the new dalmatian mascot in action. To be honest with you I had hoped the dalmatian would be an actual dog and not a guy in a suit but seeing a guy dressed as a spotted dog doing flips all over the court is fine by me I guess. Back to the actual game this will be a rematch from their first meeting which saw the Friars get run out of the gym for the majority of the game at the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. This is a contest of two teams that seem to be trending in two different directions. The Friars are now losers 4 of their last 5 game, while Butler is winners of 5 of their last 7 games, including three straight victories road wins. If the Friars want to flip the script they need to do the following in my keys to the game.
Keys to The Game
- Defensive Intensity Needs to Start at Tip Off– The Friars need to come out with a focus on getting stops. In their first meeting the Butler Bulldogs made 10 of their first 12 shots in the game and then shot 72% for the first half. That is an absolute recipe for disaster no matter who you play against. According to Ken Pom Butler ranks 24th in adjusted offensive efficiency going in to Saturday. Friars need to do a good job rotating and making it difficult for Butler to get open looks.
- Win the Rebound Battle– This is the first time in this blog I said the Friars need to win the rebound battle because let’s face it we are a horrible rebounding team. The Friars rank 311 in rebounds per game but guess what Butler is actually worse! The Bulldogs rank 323rd in the country grabbing only 32.4 rebounds per game. The Friars need a team effort rebounding the basketball and need to make sure they block out Wideman and Chrabascz.
- Kyron Cartwright vs Tyler Lewis– This is a matchup that I feel like the Friars have the clear advantage in but Cartwright definitely has to have a better floor game then Lewis Saturday. Tyler Lewis’ numbers don’t really pop off the page but he is a good floor general and is efficient shooter when he decides to shoot. The main point is Cartwright needs to get other Friars involved early and often to keep up with the Butler offense.
The previous post I wrote about how the Friars are most likely headed to the NIT. I do still feel that way two hours later but I truly believe the Friars will win this one. Remember in Cooley’s first season the #14 Louisville Cardinals came to the Dunk in 2012? The Friars had dropped their first four Big East games and laid an absolute beat down on the Cardinals 90-59. While this Friar team is way better then 2012 and I don’t think that the Friars will win by 31, I do think they will beat Butler convincingly Saturday. I’ve said this before I just feel like Butler traditionally has a soft basketball team and that typically doesn’t bode well against an Ed Cooley coached team. Its alumni weekend, the Dunk will be rockin and with a late tip off (4pm) gives plenty of time for Friartown to get, as Tom Brady would say, lubed up for the game.
Friars 81 Butler 64