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PREVIEW: Butler vs. Marquette

The Golden Eagles host the Bulldogs in a huge game for both teams.

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

THE FACTS

Time and Date: Wednesday, January 31 at 9:00 p.m. ET

Records: Butler (15-7, 5-4 Big East) | Marquette (13-8, 4-5 Big East)

Rankings: Butler (#30 KenPom) | Marquette (#39 KenPom)

TV Channel: FS1

Watch Online: FOX Sports Go

Last Year: Butler swept the season series against Marquette, beating them 88-80 at home and edging them out 68-65 in Milwaukee.


ODDS AND ENDS

(via OddsShark)

The Spread: Marquette is a three-point favorite

Over/Under: 155 points


GAME PREVIEW

I’m going to go completely unprofessional here and give some personal advice to all of you readers out there – TAKE THE OVER on this match-up. Butler and Marquette are two teams that have struggled defensively at the best of times, and at the worst of times – well, both teams have given up a lot of buckets this year. In their first match-up, the two teams combined for a whopping 177 points in a Butler victory. Expect a high-scoring match-up.

If team statistics don’t convince you, the “eye test” also suggests that this will be a high-scoring affair. With weapons like Kelan Martin, Andrew Rowsey, Kamar Baldwin, Markus Howard, Paul Jorgensen, and Sam Hauser roaming the floor, how could buckets not be raining down?

In all seriousness, this is a huge game for both teams. Marquette desperately needs a win after dropping three out of its last four games, and Butler has an opportunity to distance itself from the dreaded .500 mark in Big East play. Butler took the first match-up at Hinkle Fieldhouse, but on Saturday the Golden Eagles will have home-court advantage. However, Milwaukee hasn’t treated Marquette as well as Indianapolis has treated Butler this year – Marquette has four losses at home.

The two teams spent last weekend in very different ways. Butler ran St John’s out of the building with a 25-point win, while Marquette lost a heartbreaker to Villanova. It will be interesting to see how each team responds.


KEYS TO THE GAME

Butler: Defensive Intensity

Yes, Butler allowed 83 points to Marquette in their last match-up, but believe it or not, Butler’s defense was key in that victory. Kamar Baldwin suffocated Markus Howard for all but about a two-minute spurt, and only Sam Hauser kept the Golden Eagles within range of the Bulldogs. Butler may struggle to bring the intensity on the road and after games against DePaul and St John’s – but the Dawgs must come out hounding Marquette’s shooters or they could find themselves in an early hole.

Marquette: Create Shots for Shooters

During a timeout in Marquette’s loss to Villanova, Wojo implored Rowsey and Howard to let teammates create shots for them rather than trying to create their own shots. Marquette did a great job of this against Villanova, and they will have to replicate that against Butler. Butler had a great plan for Marquette the last time around, locking up Markus Howard and containing Rowsey. Marquette’s shooters will have to work hard, move without the ball, and look for catch-and-shoot opportunities to win this one.