Game Preview: Butler vs. No. 20 Creighton

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Floundering Butler looks to right the ship against the nation's most efficient offense.

When: January 14

Time: 9:00 EST

Where: CenturyLink Center, Omaha NE

How to watch: Fox Sports 1

Omaha. Its not just for NFL quarterbacks.

Nebraska's largest city is also home to the Creighton Bluejays and Doug McDermott. Led by McDermott, the Big East's best player, Creighton's offensive efficiency is nearly two points per 100 possessions higher than any other team in the nation. Only Villanova and Xavier are within 12 points of the Bluejays' attack in the Big East. For the third straight season, McDermott's individual efficiency ranks in the top-five nationally.

The Butler Bulldogs hit the road again after a two-game homestand. Butler has lost four straight and are still without a conference win in their first Big East season. The Bulldogs have been competitive in every game they've played, but just can't figure out how to close out games.

How Butler Can Win-

By finding a bigger role for Andrew Chrabascz. The unheralded freshman forward has been Butler's most efficient option on offense, by far. Chrabascz was the only Butler player who was able to attack the rim in overtime against a depleted Georgetown frontcourt. His field goal percentage leads the team and he's been Butler's most efficient offensive rebounder by a wide margin.

Keep attacking the basket late in games. Butler shot 2-of-8 in overtime against the Hoyas, with three misses coming on forced Alex Barlow three-point attempts. The Bulldogs boast one of the conference's best shooters in Kellen Dunham, but rank second-to-last in the Big East in three-point percentage. A lot of those misses have come on end-of-game attempts to drain the shot clock before forcing up a bad look. That needs to change.

How Creighton Can Win-

By just doing their thing on offense. The Bluejays are as good as anyone at putting the ball in the basket. Grant Gibbs is out with a dislocated kneecap, but Austin Chatman, Jahenns Manigat, and Ethan Wragge can all shoot the three. Devin Brooks provides some instant scoring off the bench as well.

That's a formidable lineup before you even mention McDermott. The senior just might be the best player in college basketball and looks to wrap up a storybook career by leading his dad's team to a Big East title.

Crieghton's two losses this year came against a top defense in San Diego State and an uncharacteristically cold shooting night against George Washington. Butler will need to play their best to keep this game competitive, but a little luck would help too.

Prediction

KenPom: Creighton 77, Butler 63 (9 percent chance of Butler victory)

Only one game this year, at Villanova, looks to be a tougher lift than this one for the Bulldogs. Butler has failed to win in recent weeks, but has never been blown out. If they can keep this one close, who knows?

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