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(#25) Butler vs. Marquette: 3-Point Preview

The rising Bulldogs travel to Milwaukee to face the Golden Eagles for the first time this season

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Nearing the halfway point of conference play, the No. 25 Butler Bulldogs are set to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles in Milwaukee on Saturday, Jan. 31. The Bulldogs have been resurgent over the last few weeks, winning four out of their last five, including a pair of "upsets" over then-ranked Seton Hall and just a two-point loss to Georgetown. On the other hand, the Golden Eagles have lost four straight, and have just two conference wins on the year. Both teams need a win here for different reasons, but there's plenty of promise to this matchup. Here's three things to watch:

1. Can Luke Fischer bounce back?

Fischer, a 6'11" transfer from Indiana, debuted back in December with a brilliant run of five double-digit scoring performances in his first seven games, giving Marquette a much-needed edge in the paint. He shot an astounding 81.6 percent from the field for 13 points per game during that stretch, but has very much cooled off since Marquette faced off with Georgetown two games into the conference schedule. He's averaged just six points per game and 34 percent from the field over the last five games, and it may be a big reason why Marquette's on a four-game losing streak. When he's on, he can take over a game, and he has a shot to do just that against the Bulldogs by utilizing a nice size advantage. Marquette needs him now more than ever, sitting squarely in the wrong half of the Big East standings.

2. Can anybody stop Matt Carlino? Does it matter?

While Fischer has struggled to make an impact, Carlino has fully stepped up as one of the conference's top performers over the last few weeks. The senior transfer from BYU has dropped 22.5 points per game while shooting an outrageous 54 percent from three over the last four games, and even though Marquette has lost all four, it's hard to put any of the blame on Carlino. Butler's Alex Barlow has done a nice job defensively against tough guards like North Carolina's Marcus Paige, Oklahoma's Buddy Hield and Seton Hall's Sterling Gibbs throughout this season, but he'll have his hands full with Carlino on Saturday. However, does it really matter? It seems that the formula to beat the Golden Eagles has been to contain everyone else and understand that Carlino is going to get his either way. From the looks of it, Carlino may be the premier good stats/bad team guy in the Big East.

3. Can the Bulldogs replicate last week's performance against Seton Hall?

Depending on the game, one of two offenses will show up for the Bulldogs. On some days, Butler's depth fails to really make an imprint on the game and Roosevelt Jones and Kellen Dunham have to single-handedly will the team to victory, and on others, the Bulldogs can put a handful of players in double-digit scoring and dominate all over the floor. When the latter is happening, Butler's damn near unstoppable, and that's exactly what they did last weekend against Seton Hall at home. Jones, Dunham, Andrew Chrabascz, Alex Barlow and freshman Kelan Martin all had over ten points in that game, leading to an unbelievable 35-8 run in the second half for the Bulldogs. If that squad shows up again, they're going to be tough to beat, even as the road team.

Enjoy the game!