After finishing fifth at the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Butler Bulldogs return to the United States on Saturday afternoon to take on the Saint Louis Billikens. These squads met last season in Indianapolis, with the Bulldogs throttling the Billikens 75-45.
SLU, however, can say that they lead the all-time series 19-12. These teams have been able to match up so frequently due to the fact they’ve been conference-mates at two instances in history. They were both part of the Midwestern City/Collegiate Conference from 1982-83 through 1990-91 and the Atlantic 10 during the 2012-13 season.
Time & Place: Dec. 1, 2018, 5:00 pm ET, Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, MO
TV: Fox Sports Midwest & Indiana (Dan McLaughlin, Scott Highmark)
Radio: WFNI 107.5 FM and 1070 AM “The Fan” (Butler; Mark Minner, Nick Gardner); WXOS 101.1 FM (Saint Louis; Bob Ramsey, Earl Austin Jr.)
Streaming: Fox Sports GO (where available)
Gambling (via OddsShark): Butler opened as 2-point favorites. They are currently 3-3 against the spread. The Billikens are 1-5 against the spread.
Meet the Combatants
About the Bulldogs
Butler has jumped out to a 5-1 start to the season. With just two seniors graduating, this young team has been able to grow together. The early returns have been good. Kamar Baldwin and Paul Jorgensen have stepped up as the team’s leading scorers. Baldwin averages 19.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Jorgensen is averaging 18.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
These two lead the 23rd-best offense in the country, as the Bulldogs sport a 116.8 offensive rating. They also aren’t bad on the defense either. The allow the 45th-fewest points in Division I. However, due to their pace, it only translate to a 96.0 defensive rating, 134th in the NCAA.
About the Other Guys
The Billikens, also 5-1, are facing their second Big East opponent of the season. They took on Seton Hall on Nov. 17 in Newark. SLU eeked out a 66-64 victory over the Pirates.
Javon Bess has led the way for the Billikens this season, averaging 14.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Grad transfer Tramaine Isabell follows up by averaging 13.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Junior guard Jordan Goodwin is third, averaging 11.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.
Despite the output from their top three scorers, the Billikens actually struggle offensively. They average just 69.7 points per game, 287th in the nation. Their 98.6 offensive rating is ranked 279th. Instead, it’s the defense that has gotten them off to such a good start. They allow 63.5 points per game, 44th-least in the NCAA. Their 89.9 defensive rating is 45th-best in the nation.