Butler vs Vanderbilt: Las Vegas, Nevada. November 24, 7PM CT
The Butler Bulldogs take on the Vanderbilt Commodores in the first day of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. The still undefeated Bulldogs will take on the 2-2 Commodores in a Thanksgiving matchup in Sin City. The game will be at Orleans Arena at the famous Orleans hotel and casino just a couple of blocks from the main strip. This will be a new environment for both teams; Butler has yet to leave Hinkle Fieldhouse and Vandy has only left their Memorial Gymnasium once this season where they lost to Marquette in Annapolis, Maryland. This will be the first time heading west for both teams this season, and definitely the first time on a big stage like the one that they will experience in Vegas.
Butler is coming off a big time win against Norfolk state where they shot 58% from the field and made a staggering 13 three-point shots. They will look to continue their hot shooting against a Vanderbilt team that is gives up an average of at eight long balls per game.
Vanderbilt’s last contest was a three point loss to the Bucknell Bison: who Butler demolished by 26 points earlier this month. The Commodores will have to capitalize on their strong interior defense, lead by senior big man Luke Kornet, as well as getting to the line to shake up the Bulldogs with foul trouble.
I can’t see the Bulldogs losing this matchup. With the way that they have been shooting, and passing the ball, in the last two games, The Dawgs have yet to give up 70 points in a single game, so look for Coach Holtmann’s defense to be firing on all cylinders yet again. Butler’s squad should squash (thanksgiving joke) the Vanderbilt Commodores this Turkey Day.
Players to Watch
Tyler Lewis is coming off a masterful performance against Norfolk State where he had seven assists in the first half alone. In the last two games the veteran point guard has 15 assists. Look for the offense to be flowing through Lewis’ distribution tomorrow night.
Kelan Martin has been scoring less over the last couple of games, with just 11 points against Norfolk State last Monday. This is a game where I could see Martin exploding for big points because of Vanderbilt’s strength on the inside with shot blockers Kornet and Baptiste, as well as their strong defense against the three point shot. Look for Martin’s midrange game and strong finishes inside to propel Butler in this matchup.
7’1” Luke Kornet Leads the Commodores defensively with 9 blocked shots already this season. On top of that he averages nearly 16 points per game, and shoots 80% from the line. He will be making it tough on the interior for Butler big men all night long on both ends of the floor.
Matthew Fisher-Davis leads Vanderbilt’s squad in scoring with 17 points per game on 13-27 shooting from beyond the arc this season. Butler has had trouble guarding against the three point shot in the past (Northwestern) so Fisher-Davis could be a thorn in the side of the Bulldogs.
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