Pregame: Butler Bulldogs vs. Utah Utes
9 ET, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Butler takes on Utah at home and look to extend their winning streak to four games straight. Utah is 6-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of UNLV. The Utes have impressive wins over Missouri and Ole Miss.
Utah is an experienced team, with a starting lineup of four seniors and a junior. Two seniors lead the way for the Utes offensively, but in very different ways.
David Collette is a 6’10” big man who works primarily in the paint and at the freethrow line. Collette is averaging 15 points and five rebounds per game. Justin Bibbins is Collette’s polar opposite. Standing at 5’8”, Bibbins does most of his work off the dribble and from the perimeter. Averaging 11 points and four assists per game, Bibbins is also a good distributor and likes to push the ball in transition.
Another senior for the Utes is do-it-all center Tyler Rawson. Rawson leads the team in rebounding, averaging a strong seven per game to go along with his 10 points per game. He is also an excellent passer, averaging four per game, and recording seven against Ole Miss. Rawson makes himself known on the defensive end as well, standing 6’10” and averaging a couple of blocks per game.
Butler is coming off of arguably their most impressive performance of the year with a big win over St. Louis University on Dec. 2. Butler looked strong offensively and defensively, and they will look to continue that trend with a dominating win over the Utes. Kelan Martin put up another 20 points in the win.
Players to watch-
Donnie Tillman, a 6’7” freshman, doesn’t start for the Utes but still is their third leading scorer on the season with a strong 11 points and seven rebounds per game. Look for him to be an offensive spark for a Utah offense that is initially startled by Butler’s defense.
Gabe Bealer is another senior for the Utes and also comes off the bench, but brings with him quite a jump shot. Bealer is averaging eight points per game on an impressive 57% long range shooting. Earlier this season he scored 20 points on 6-8 three point shooting against Mississippi Valley State. Bealer can really get going if you let him, so Butler will have to keep an eye on him, as should you.
Kelan Martin, one of Butler’s seniors, is on a streak of three straight games with at least 16 points. Watch out of Martin to get it going in this game as well, especially from beyond the arc.
Paul Jorgensen also has been playing well recently for the Bulldogs, scoring double digits in three straight games. With Sean McDermott sidelined for 4-6 weeks, Jorgensen has slid into the starting roll nicely and has been a boost to Butler’s offense.
Photo credit: Indiana Sports Coverage