After a very tough loss against Marquette, the Butler Bulldogs bounced back with a solid performance against Georgetown at home. Thanks to a career high 35 points by Kelan Martin, the Bulldogs beat the Hoyas 87-76 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. This continues the puzzling run of the Bulldogs, as they have shown they can beat the good teams like Purdue, Cincinnati, and Georgetown but struggle with some of the smaller teams that they play. The win put Butler at a 15-7 record and now they are a game back behind Creighton for the 6th seed in the BIG EAST standings. Although they have a solid winning record, the Bulldogs still have work to do. ESPN's Joe Lunardi has the Bulldogs in the First Four Out currently but if Butler can beat some more quality opponents down the line and have a good run in the BIG EAST Tournament things can change.
Although they still haven't won a game in BIG EAST play yet, the St. John's Red Storm played a solid game against one of the top dogs in the conference in Xavier. The Johnnies went down fighting, 90-83, but there were a lot of positives to take away from the game. Felix Balamou had a career high 20 points as the Red Storm suffered their 10th loss in conference play, bringing their record to 7-16. Obviously this isn't St.John's season but there is hope in the future for the Johnnies. Chris Mullin still has to get this team to believe in this season however. The BIG EAST is wacky and anything can happen. They are playing for team pride right now and that should be enough to motivate them.
Next week the Bulldogs will take on Seton Hall and Xavier while St. John's will play Georgetown and Villanova.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 4:30 p.m ET
TV: Fox Sports Network (Channel Finder)
Radio: 570 WMCA (St.John's) || 107.5 FM (Butler)
Stream: Streaming is available via Fox Sports Go (where available)
Line: Butler enters this game as a 10.5 point favorite (via OddsShark)
Record ATS: Butler (9-12-1) || St. John's (9-14)
O/U: The O/U opened at 148
3 things to watch for
1. Can Kelan Martin play out of his mind again?
Martin has been a shining star for Butler this season. The sixth man scored a career high 35 points against Georgetown. He is averaging 15.7 points, shooting nearly 50% from the field and 6.3 rebounds per game all while coming off the bench. He may be the best 6th man in the BIG EAST and he may have another big game against St. John's.
2. Efficient shooting by Butler
The Bulldogs had a lot of success against Georgetown due to quality shots, and they were knocking them down. They shot 51% from the field with Kelan Martin being the most efficient at 10-18 from the field. When Butler gets hot, they get hot, it's that simple. But, they have to be shooting well to win these games. Right now, the Bulldogs don't have a player that can carry a team by himself.
3. Could this be the moment for St. John's?
Coming into a home game against a team that has not been the most consistent against lesser opponents, this may be the time for St. John's to win a game. But then again we have been saying that for a while. Will this team win a BIG EAST game this year? That's the story to look for as we head down the stretch of the season.