How to Watch and Stream
Game Time: 3:30 p.m ET
TV: FOX Sports 1
Butler is favored by 1.5 points per OddsShark.com
Butler is 17-11 against the spread. Xavier is 11-16.
Two things to watch
Can Butler keep up their hot streak?
Butler, somewhat quietly, has entered a hot streak in the last few weeks. Winning four of their last five, the Bulldogs have seen their stock rise from a potential five or six seed in the NCAA Tournament to a possible three or four. Most recently, the Bulldogs toppled conference-leading Villanova at the Pavilion, a place where Nova had not lost in 48 games. Butler displayed their resiliency against the reigning NCAA champions, using an 18-0 second half run to propel their way to their most impressive victory on the season.
Kelan Martin, contrary to his play at the beginning of conference play, has erupted during their last three games (19, 14, and 22 points, respectively). After scoring only 20 combined points in the three games prior, the junior’s play has been a catalyst for their recent spark.
The Bulldogs will bring their three-game winning streak to the Cintas Center, to play a struggling, yet hungry, Xavier team. In the second of two tough road games, Butler will need to continue to their stellar form if they want to bring home another victory.
Will Trevon Bluiett return to form?
Returning from an ankle injury in Xavier’s loss to Seton Hall, Trevon Bluiett was unable to truly turn the tide. In 38 minutes, he scored 14 points on 5-12 shooting and 2-7 from beyond the arc. While it was not a poor performance per se, it is below his season average. With sophomore Edmond Sumner sidelined for the rest of the season, the Musketeers need more from Bluiett than a below average performance.
He has shown his ability to score at a high level during periods of the season. In a loss against Cincinnati, he electrified the defense with a career-high 40 points. Prior to suffering against Villanova, Bluiett had a stretch five 20+ point performances in six games. The junior has also had three games this season in which he hit more than six three pointers.
Two other players to watch
RaShid Gaston: The Norfolk State graduate transfer is Xavier’s best option on the inside. He averages 6.7 rebounds on the year and has double-doubles in three of the last four games.
Avery Woodson: Woodson has scored in double-digits in three straight games, including a 20 point outing against St. John’s. His three point shooting has helped the Bulldogs account for the graduation of Kellen Dunham.
Butler wins the game 75-71. Xavier plays hard until the end, but they eventually are outmatched by the deeper Bulldogs. Bluiett and Martin both score over 20.