Butler travels to Cincinnati to take on their conference rivals, the previously ranked Xavier Musketeers. Butler has looked hot and is coming off of a big win against the defending champions Villanova. Xavier on the other hand has lost their last four (three of them by double digits).
In their last meeting, Butler took the win at Hinkle. That was against the then #15 ranked musketeers lead by point guard Edmond Sumner. Since then Xavier has lost their ranking to a bad loss at Providence, and their point guard to a torn ACL.
In that last game, Xavier was lead by Sumner in scoring, assists, and steals. (22, 3 and 1). Musketeer guard J.P. Macura had a big game, knocking down four long balls and scoring 16 points in the end. Trevon Bluiett also had a big game for Xavier, scoring 10 points and grabbing four rebounds.
Bluiett injured his ankle in Xavier’s loss against Villanova, but was back in their last game: a loss @ Seton Hall. In that contest he played 38 minutes and scored 14 points on 42% shooting. He looks like he is back.
Butler ended up winning 83-78. This was one of the first games where Butler fans were shocked to see star Kelan Martin out of the starting lineup. Martin ended up playing 20 minutes and scoring 13 points.
Freshman guard Kamar Baldwin had a huge game, scoring all of his 21 points in the second half. He also had nine rebounds and two steals.
Butler’s defense was spectacular in that game. The Dawgs snagged eight steals and forced 16 turnovers. Despite this effort, Xavier’s three point shooting kept them in it.
In their last game, a win at #2 Villanova, Butler looked solid. Kelan Martin seemed to be back to his old offensive magic, scoring 22 points off of the bench in just 28 minutes played. Butler fans hope that he can keep it up.
In this matchup, Butler will try to limit Xavier’s three point looks and come out with a big road win.
Players to Watch-
Kamar Baldwin was electric in the second half last time against Xavier. The freshman shot 64% from the field, and got the Hinkle crowd on its feet to close out the game. Look for the quick guard to try to repeat this performance.
Kelan Martin played great against Xavier in their first meeting, and played great against Villanova in Butler’s last game. Martin will need to be in peak form in March if the Bulldogs want to make a run at the championship. Look for the elite scorer to continue to try to get on that track.
J.P. Macura has been hot for the Musketeers as of late, scoring 22 in their last game. The shooting guard excels from long range, scoring primarily from behind the arc and from the freethrow line. With Sumner out for the season, he has had to step up in the offense as a scorer. Watch out for his sweet stroke from three point land in this matchup.
RaShid Gaston is a senior forward for the Musketeers and frequently used his strength inside to carve out space for rebounding and scoring alike. He averages eight points per game and seven rebounds per game. The veteran big man will definitely be looking to make an impact in his last career home game against a ranked opponent.
Photo Credit: Cincinnati Enquirer