Butler defeated Creighton 64-61 in one of the ugliest Big East games of the season Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Here are three observations from the game.
Butler wouldn't have beat any other team in the conference
Butler played one of their worst games all season, and, really, probably should have lost. Creighton didn't lead until they went up 59-57 with two minutes to play, and Butler only got back in control thanks to an Andrew Chrabascz lay-up. Chrabascz then drew a charge on the other end. Luckily for the Bulldogs, the only thing that matters in the grand scheme of things, is the final score. Butler's lone bright spot was Big East Player of the Year contender Roosevelt Jones. Jones had 20 points, 10 rebounds (including five offensive rebounds). Kellen Dunham, after being the offense's torch bearer for the whole season, now has zero points in his last two second halves. That's something Butler will need to remedy.
On Creighton's Big East struggles
Look, I think everyone knew Creighton would struggle this year. It was never going to be easy for them to replace 80% of their starting lineup, including one of the best scorers in the history of the sport. I'm not sure anyone expected it to be quite this bad, however. They started off so well in nonconference play, then New Year's Eve came and it hit them like a ton of bricks. I'll say this about Creighton. The effort and hustle is there. The talent, simply, is not. Eventually, however, the other two will cause them to upset some teams and play the role of spoiler. Then, next season, they can start building back up with the arrivals of Justin Patton and Marlon Stewart.
On the Big East in general
The Big East, according to KenPom, has been one of the most exciting conferences in the entire country this year. The conference is third in Close Game %, third in home win %, and 30th (out of 33) in blowout percentage. The one "blowout" (margin of victory greater than 19 points) was the Villanova/Georgetown game earlier this week. This conference, through the first month, has been incredibly exciting. All summer, pundits called it a two-bid league and a glorified mid-major, and they couldn't have been more wrong.