Time and Date: Saturday, December 15, @ 3:45 p.m. ET
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis)
Records: Butler (7-2) | Indiana (8-2)
Rankings: Butler (#26 KenPom) | Indiana (#25 KenPom)
TV Channel: CBS
Stream: cbs.com or the CBS app
REASONS TO WATCH
Saturday’s match-up between Butler and Indiana is one of the most compelling non-conference games for any BIG EAST team this season. Here are the reasons you should watch:
The historical aspect of this game is three-fold.
First: The long history of basketball in the state of Indiana
The blue-blooded Hoosiers take on the team whose home gym played host to both the real life and fictional Jimmy Chitwoods. What basketball lover wouldn’t get nostalgic watching a battle between two storied programs from one of the nation’s greatest basketball states.
Second: The history of the Crossroads Classic
This event has been held annually since 2011 and has produced several classic contests. The most memorable may be Butler’s 2012 victory over then number one Indiana. The Bulldogs have fared quite well in the Classic; their 5-2 record leads all contenders but Indiana could slide into a tie with Butler if they were to win on Saturday.
Third: The history between the Bulldogs and the Hoosiers
Indiana has dominated the match-up historically, but since 1993 they lead the series just 6-5. Butler has upended a #1 Indiana team and a #9 Indiana team at the Classic in the last four years; meanwhile, in 2014, unranked Indiana upset a ranked Butler team. The recent games between these two teams have been thrilling, and as the debate about how the state’s different programs should be ranked rages on, one of these schools will collect favorable evidence on Saturday.
2. Jordan Tucker debuts
It’s been a long wait for LaVall Jordan and Butler, but former four-star recruit and Duke transfer Jordan Tucker will finally play his first game for the Bulldogs. It’s difficult to know how much Coach Jordan plans to use him or how effective he’ll be after sitting out longer than a year—but his scoring abilities could give Butler’s inconsistent offense a much needed lift.
3. NCAA Tournament implications
Both teams came into the season as NCAA Tournament hopefuls and nothing has happened to derail those dreams yet. They both come in with two losses and are hungry to finish out the non-conference season strong. While both teams have the potential to secure an obvious at-large bid, it is also quite possible that one or both teams could be on the bubble come March. A neutral site win against another tourney-caliber team couldn’t hurt.
4. Terrific match-up
Indiana and Butler come into this game ranked #25 and #26, respectively, in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. The two teams appear to be quite evenly matched. Indiana is led by projected NBA lottery pick Romeo Langford and steady senior forward Juwan Morgan and is coming off a huge win over Louisville. Butler will counter with Kamar Baldwin and a bevy of three-point shooters who buried Northern Illinois in their latest performance. With neither team claiming homecourt advantage, this one should be neck and neck.
You won’t want to miss this one.