Game Preview: Butler vs. Seton Hall

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Good news for Butler fans: the conference schedule is almost halfway over!

When: January 29

Time: 9:00 EST

Where: Prudential Center, South Orange NJ

How to watch: Fox Sports 1

While no Big East fanbase share the type of heartbreak that the Butler Bulldogs have experienced this year, the Seton Hall Pirates have seen their nerves tested in the past two-and-a-half weeks. One point losses at Marquette and St. John's are the only hiccups in between Kevin Willard's squad and a tie for third in the league.

Last Saturday, Butler hit rock bottom with an embarrassing 69-52 drubbing at the hands of the Red Storm. So the transitive property means Seton Hall will take this one by 16. That always works out, right?

How Butler Can Win-

Its tough to find anything that the Bulldogs are consistently doing well these days, but Butler does rank 15th in the nation in turnover percentage. While Khyle Marshall has demonstrated a frustrating tendency for mental timeouts when he's not trying to score, at least he takes care of things with the ball in his hands. Just two Big East players give it up at a lower rate than Marshall (9.0 percent).

Butler was demolished on the boards in their loss to St. John's but should be able to hold their own against one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the Big East. Freshman Andrew Chrabascz has the best offensive post moves on a squad that desperately needs points in the paint. However, he won't see the floor without demonstrating an improvement on defense and on the glass. For the sake of Butler fans (and anyone who likes to watch a ball go through the hoop every once in a while) please earn that PT, Andrew.

How Seton Hall Can Win-

Sterling Gibbs runs the show for the Pirates. He's averaging 15.1 points and 4.4 assists a game. Gibbs struggled last time out in a win over DePaul, with his first single-digit scoring output since December 1st. That night, Fuquan Edwin went off for 30 on 11 for 16 shooting. Edwin's been on a tear the past three games with 22 points per.

The Pirates are effective at getting to the charity stripe and make their free throws at a decent clip. Led by Gibbs, who has actually attempted more free throws than field goals this season, Seton Hall has the top free throw rate in the Big East. Alex Barlow might have more fouls than minutes played for the Bulldogs on Wednesday night.

Prediction

KenPom: Seton Hall 69, Butler 64 (28 percent chance of Butler victory)

Hard to see much changing for a Butler team that quit down the stretch against St. John's. Just ten games left in a nightmare first Big East season.

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