No. 9 Indiana and No. 18 Butler will meet in a top 25 rendition of the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game Time: Saturday, December 17, 2016, at 5 p.m. ET
TV: Big Ten Network (Brian Anderson, Shon Morris)
RADIO: 107.5 FM (Butler) ,
Live Stream: WatchESPN (where available)
Indiana is a 4.5-point favorite, according to Oddsshark.com.
The Hoosiers lead the all-time series, 38-14, over the Bulldogs. In their most recent meeting, Indiana won 82-73 on Dec. 20, 2014.
What to Watch For
The Bulldogs and the Hoosiers are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, when it comes to taking care of the ball. As a team, Butler takes pretty good care of the ball. Through 10 games this season, the Bulldogs average about 10 turnovers per game and have the 16th lowest turnover rate in Division I. Meanwhile, Indiana gives up the ball often and is ranked 314th in turnover rate, averaging 17 turnovers per game. The Hoosiers have been able to win and be successful—putting aside the Fort Wayne loss—despite turning the ball over numerous times. Indiana has been in a few close calls, eventually the Hoosiers will have to be punished with another loss for their turnover woes. Butler excels at forcing turnovers, causing opponents to lose the ball on 23.3 percent of possessions (23rd in Division I). We’ll have to see if the Bulldogs will be able to capitalize on the Hoosiers' mistakes.
Patience is a Virtue
The Bulldogs have done well so far operating in half-court sets and taking their time on offense. They will need to maintain that success against a tough Hoosier defense that is especially tough at the perimeter. Now, the Bulldogs are by no means a 3-point heavy squad, in fact, they are pretty balanced in shot distribution for the most part. The Hoosiers have done a good job of neutralizing the effects of 3-point shots by keeping opponents to shooting just 25.1 percent from deep—the best out of any team in the country. They’re also in the top 50 for a number of defensive categories. Indiana is also one of the top rebounding teams in the country, averaging the second-most rebounds per game as a team (45.9). The Bulldogs won’t have many second-chance opportunities and will have to make sure every possession against a stingy Hoosier defense will count.
Crossroads Classic Bulldog Experts
Three Butler players were able to receive a piece of the action in the previous meeting between these two teams in 2014—Kelan Martin, Andrew Chrabascz, and Tyler Wideman. They also happen to be some of the Bulldogs’ top contributors this season. These three will need to get it going, and it starts with Kelan Martin, who just continues to perform well. Offense mainly runs through him, and he gets most of the touches and shot takes for this team. With 17.7 points per game, he’s one of the top 10 scorers in the Big East. Chrabascz and Wideman will need to battle for every rebound. Wideman is an excellent glass cleaner, while Chrabascz is a solid rebounder and a secondary scoring threat. These guys have actual playing experience against Tom Crean’s team, they’ll need to use that to their advantage and get the rest of the team going.