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Utah vs. Butler Game Preview

Butler hosts Utah in second leg of home-and-home

NCAA Basketball: Princeton at Butler Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, 05 December 2017

RANKINGS: Utah (#57 KenPom) | Butler (#55 KenPom)

RECORDS: Utah (6-1) | Butler (6-2)



One year ago in Salt Lake City, the Butler Bulldogs utilized a strong second-half performance to run away from the Utah Utes. Butler prevailed 68-59 despite 21 points and 10 rebounds from Utah forward Kyle Kuzma, now a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers.

On Tuesday, Utah travels to Indianapolis to complete the home-and-home series. The teams will be semi-familiar with each other, but much has changed since last year. Six of the 10 starters from the 2016 match-up have been lost to graduations, transfers, and (in the case of Kuzma) the NBA.

The Bulldogs and the Utes look quite similar so far this season. Butler is 6-2, while Utah is 6-1. Both on a two-game winning streak. Both are coming off of a dominating victory. Both have had a game (perhaps two for Butler) they would like to forget about. Butler is ranked #55 in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, while Utah is ranked #57. Something has to give on Tuesday.

Home-court advantage could be an important factor in this game. Butler is 4-0 this year at Home Sweet Hinkle, while Utah has yet to play a true road game. One of the two games Utah has played away from home was a 27-point loss to UNLV in the MGM Grand Main Event.

Butler will be tasked with defending the Utes’ leading-scorer, David Collette, who is a great presence inside, with a current field goal percentage of 60.7. Another player to watch will be freshman Donnie Tillman, who had a breakout performance with 16 points for the Utes against Hawaii.