1) How effective can Roosevelt Jones be?
One of Butler’s most important players, Roosevelt Jones, had to battle through an injury against Texas after he hyperextended his left knee. Despite limping when he played through the injury, Jones will see the floor against the Fighting Irish. The one question that remains is: Can Jones play like his normal self. Jones had six points and four assists in the rock fight against Texas. If the Bulldogs want to win the Indiana State Championship, if you will, they need to get some production from Jones.
If Jones does struggle while playing through the injury, expect Kellen Dunham to carry the load offensively just like he did against the Longhorns. The Big East First Teamer had 20 points to lead all scorers and made a vital three-pointer late to help seal the victory.
2) Irish can bury you with threes and Jerian Grant
The Irish only needed to make 2-6 from three-point land to beat Northeastern, but Notre Dame did need to hold on for dear life to win their first game in the Tournament. When they are hitting their threes, the Irish are one of the best teams in America. They average eight threes per contest, however, they only needed two to defeat Duke in the ACC tournament. Coach Mike Brey has one of the top scoring offenses and they are very efficient too.
The Bulldog defense will likely have some trouble dealing with Notre Dame star Jerian Grant, who had 17 points in round two. He is one of the best scorers in the country, let alone the ACC, and is great at slicing through the defense, especially in transition. Butler has a great defense, but if this is a high scoring game expect Notre Dame to have a huge advantage.
3) The state title is on the line and it means something
The campus of Butler University is a three hour, 150 mile drive from Notre Dame. From 1908-1994, the schools met every season, but since then have played each other just once over the past two decades. These two in-state rivals are not allowed to meet when the two schools, along with Indiana and Purdue play each other in December. The Hoosiers and Boilermakers are still in the Big 10 so they cannot play before conference play gets rolling. That is where the Irish and Bulldogs come in. One of them plays Indiana, which was Butler this season, and the other plays Purdue.
These two sets of fans are going to be chomping at the bit to see this matchup with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line. If this is a low scoring, defensive game the Bulldogs are the team that should have the edge. On Saturday, there will be talent all over the floor with bragging rights in the state of Indiana on the line.