No. 21 Seton Hall Pirates (13-2, 2-0) vs. Butler Bulldogs (12-4, 2-1)
WHERE: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1 (Steve Physioc and Nick Bahe)
LINE: BUT -3
ALL-TIME: Butler leads 7-2
It was just last March when Seton Hall went into Hinkle Fieldhouse as a bubble team and proceeded to knock off No. 13 Butler, a win that essentially ensured the Pirates a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Now, 10 months later, the Pirates are back, except this time as the 21st ranked team in the country. They face off against a Butler team that was undervalued by many coming into the season.
Butler enters play with a 12-4 record on the season, as they have began conference play at 2-1, including a victory over Villanova last week. The lone loss for the Bulldogs in Big East play was a seven-point loss at the Cintas Center to Xavier on Tuesday night.
For Butler, the play of Kelan Martin and Kamar Baldwin has paced them so far. The tandem has averaged 51.3 PPG through the team’s first three Big East contests. Baldwin has been especially impressive as of late, dropping 31 in the double overtime win against Georgetown and adding 28 points on Tuesday against Xavier.
Martin has had Seton Hall’s number in recent games, averaging 16.3 PPG and 9 RPG in his last four games against the Pirates, including two double-doubles.
For the Pirates, this is sure to be their third straight game that will come down to the wire. Both wins against Creighton and St. John’s came down to the final two minutes, and today’s game is sure to do the same.
The Pirates have had almost a week off since that St. John’s game on New Year’s Eve, something that will surely help them with the travel. This is just the second time the Pirates have left the NY-NJ area, the other being their December 2 game against Louisville.
The Pirates were electric from deep last game, and it was the major reason for why they won the game. Seton Hall connected on 13-for-29 from deep on Sunday, 10 of which came in the first half.
Khadeen Carrington was the game-high scorer with 24 points on 6-for-13 shooting. The senior guard has found his shooting touch as of late, and though he may still struggle with turnovers (7 so far in BE play), his scoring ability is what helps fuel this Pirates attack.
Both teams have potent offenses, scoring just over 80 PPG while shooting around 48 percent from the floor. Both offenses will get their share, but it will ultimately come down to the defensive side of the floor. Whoever plays solid defense down the stretch of what will be a close game will walk away with the victory.