Game Preview: Butler vs. Purdue

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Butler hits the final stretch of its nonconference schedule with a game against intrastate rival Purdue in the Crossroads Classic.

When: December 14

Time: 6:00 EST

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

How to watch: Big Ten Network

The Butler Bulldogs missed out on a chance to play the Purdue Boilermakers in the Old Spice Classic, but the two Indiana teams will meet Saturday night in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indy.

Butler-

Despite a cakewalk against D3 foe Manchester, Butler still ranks second-to-last in the Big East in bench minutes. Kellen Dunham and Khyle Marshall continue to play key roles in the Bulldog attack, using 25% and 29.2% of the team's possessions when they are on the floor. No Butler starter uses more than 20% of Butler's possessions.

Opposing teams have been getting a disproportionate amount of their points inside the arc against the Bulldogs. 57.9 percent of the points Butler has allowed have come on two-point field goal attempts (37th highest in the country), compared to 23.7% on threes (234th), and 18.4% from the charity stripe (310th).

Butler has gotten a bit lucky on its way to 7-2 this year. The Bulldogs' opponents have made just 62.8% of their free throws, six-and-a-half points lower than the national average. This has offset poor foul shooting of their own. Butler is 280th in the country in free throw percentage.

Purdue-

Purdue went 1-2 in Orlando, just like Butler. Both teams played Washington State and Oklahoma State, with the Boilermakers dropping games by double digits against the Cowboys and Cougars. Purdue doesn't have any wins against Top 100 opponents, but no bad losses either (despite a few close calls).

The Boilermakers play at a fast pace, with 72.7 possessions per game (seven more than Butler). They have a couple good shooters in brothers Ronnie and Terone Johnson, with Bryson Scott providing a spark off the bench. Down low, seven-footer A.J. Hammons patrols the paint. He's averaging four blocks a game and is third in the nation in block percentage.

Purdue also has the fifth-deepest bench in the country, with their reserves playing 44% of the team's minutes. Look for Matt Painter to go ten deep with none of the starters cracking cracking thirty minutes of playing time.

Prediction

KenPom: Butler 73, Purdue 69 (63 percent chance of victory)

Purdue doesn't do anything especially well, or poorly. A.J. Hammons may take away Khyle Marshall's ability to take the ball to the rim, which places a greater emphasis on Dunham to carry the load. Marshall and Kameron Woods should be able to get some second-chance opportunities, however, as nobody other than Hammons rebounds all that well for Purdue.

Butler pulls out another close one.

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