The Butler Bulldogs take on the crippled Creighton Bluejays at Hinkle fieldhouse on Tuesday nights at 7 ET. Butler is coming off of their first home loss against Georgetown last weekend. Creighton has lost two of their last three (L vs Marquette, L @Georgetown, W vs DePaul).
Creighton recently lost their star point guard, Maurice Watson Jr., for the rest of the season to a torn ACL. Since the injury, the team has looked shaky compared to their 17 and 1 start. What once was a national championship contender, is now merely an above average team.
In their last meeting, Creighton demolished the Bulldogs in Omaha. They held Butler’s leading scorers (Kelan Martin, Andrew Chrabascz, and Kamar Baldwin) to 7, 2 and 9 points respectively.
Mo Watson picked apart the Butler defence, scoring a game high 21 points, dishing out seven assists, and pulling in four rebounds as well. Including Watson, the Bluejays had four players in double digits and lead the Dawgs by 25 early in the second half. It was Butler’s first blowout loss.
This go around is likely to be a much different story, both with the tragedy of Mo Watson’s season ending injury and Chris Holtmann’s defensive scheme that is likely to have switched up since the thromping.
Butler will look to contain scoring guard Marcus Foster, who averages over 18 points per game. The star junior has hit double digits in scoring in 20/22 games this season (his only single digit performances were at Nebraska and against Butler). Foster is likely to go off at any time this year (he has eight 20 point performances this season) and is an offensive threat from everywhere on the court.
Seven foot big man Justin Patton has also been big for the Bluejays this season, averaging 14 points per game and six rebounds. He also uses his size in the interior to block and change shots at the rim.
Butler will have to rely on their defense to win this matchup. While the Dawgs are capable of big scoring numbers (like their 60+ point half against Marquette), they are too inconsistent to rely on scoring to win them games. If they can limit Creighton to scoring less than 70 points in regulation, the Bulldogs will come out with a win.
Players to watch-
Avery Woodson shot the ball well (50% from the field) against Creighton in their last matchup. Look out for the deadeye shooter to give the Dawgs some offensive support from the bench and get the Hinkle crowd fired up with some long balls.
Kelan Martin struggled last game against Creighton but looked to be back in great form in Butler’s loss to Georgetown last weekend. The star forward scored 22 points and grabbed four rebounds. If Martin can keep up this type of offensive play then Butler will have a fighting chance in every game for the rest of the season.
Marcus Foster was Creighton’s best scorer before Mo Watson’s injury, but now he is likely their best player. Look for Foster to assert himself offensively in this matchup and carry much of the load for the injured Bluejays.
Khyri Thomas has emerged as Creighton’s best passer in the last couple of games. While the Bluejays have looked to fill Watson’s hole with multiple players, Thomas has become their primary facilitator. But don’t let his new role deceive you, Thomas is capable of getting buckets; he dropped 18 on #9 Wisconsin early on in the season and 14 on Butler in their last matchup.
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