After going 7-6 in nonconference play, there was some optimism that the DePaul Blue Demons weren't going to be in the cellar of the Big East. Then, conference play began and all of that hope was completely dashed and thrown into Lake Michigan. DePaul’s lone win in Big East play was against Providence over a month ago (January 11th) and it took a three-point play from Billy Garrett Jr. with less than 20 seconds to go for the Blue Demons to walk away with a 64-63 victory. But since then, it’s been more of the same from DePaul. They have lost by double-digits in their past four games including a 92-58 beatdown against Creighton last week along with a 75-62 loss to ‘Nova just a couple of days later. Things are not good for DePaul right now.
Their next matchup won’t get any easier as they play another solid Big East team in the Butler Bulldogs. The Bulldogs come into this game ranked 24th and are walking in on a winning note as well, having won at home against St. John’s 110-86 last week. The win put Butler at a record of 20-6 and a conference record of 9-5, good enough for second in the Big East. At this point it doesn’t look likely that anyone will catch up to Villanova, who are 3.5 games ahead of the Bulldogs. So getting that #2 seed in the Big East Tournament will be crucial for the teams right underneath the Wildcats. Given the inconsistencies we have seen this year, the race for #2 will be crazy. The same gap (3.5 games) between first and second in the Big East is the same gap between second and ninth. Get ready for a wild finish.
After this game, Butler will face off against Villanova and Xavier next week. As for DePaul, they will play Seton Hall and Providence next week.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: The Score WSCR 670 AM (DePaul) || WFNI ESPN 1070 AM Or The Fan/93.5FM (Butler)
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Announcers: Tim Brando and Dickey Simpkins)
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Odds: Butler enters this game as a 19-point favorite via OddsShark.com
Record ATS: DePaul (11-15) || Butler (16-10)
The Bulldogs hold a 7-6 advantage over the Blue Demons in the all-time series record. Butler has won the last six times against DePaul which included a 70-69 overtime victory on January 21st. They will be looking to go for the season sweep this time around.
One thing to watch for
Which Butler team will show up?
Being 3.5 games back of first place, you have to assume Chris Holtmann will have his team motivated to play their hardest in hopes of catching ‘Nova. They came out on fire against St. John’s, scoring 54 points in the first half and used a balanced attack to see the victory through. Kelan Martin had his best game in a long time and even though he is now coming off the bench, Butler still needs him to play like the player many expected him to be this year. He scored 19 points against SJU and will look to break down a DePaul defense that gives up 74.3 points per game. Martin was clutch in a bench role last year but has dropped off this year and has very lost on the court at times. He’s a talented player but needs to prove it once again and there is no better time for him to get hot than now.
As for DePaul, they will have to hope for a good all around offensive performance. They need to give Eli Cain more help. They got a big contribution from Chris Harrison-Docks off the bench in their last game (18 points) but their other starters only scored a combined 15 points. More help for Cain is a must and if they want to give Butler another scare like they did a few weeks ago, it will take a team effort.