Time and Date: Tuesday, December 18 @ 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Hinkle Fieldhouse (Indianapolis)
Records: Butler (7-3) | Presbyterian (6-5)
Rankings: Butler (#29 KenPom) | Presbyterian (#268 KenPom)
TV Channel: FS1
Stream: Fox Sports GO
Presbyterian comes into a Tuesday match-up with the Butler Bulldogs having won three of its last four contests. The Blue Hose were projected to be one of the worst teams in all of college basketball this year, but have exceeded expectations. They even played Marquette close for about 30 minutes before the Golden Eagles pulled away a few weeks ago.
Butler’s most recent contest ended in a loss to Indiana, but the Bulldogs played quite well for most of the game. Their offense, while still struggling, seems to be improving and the defense continues to be sturdy.
Butler will likely win this one easily, but it will have to contain Presbyterian’s impressive scoring duo of Francois Lewis and Adam Flagler. The two of them combine for over 33 points per game with Lewis shooting 39.7% from three-point range and Flagler shooting 41.2%. They might not impress Butler, as Sean McDermott is currently shooting 44.7% from behind the arc. However, McDermott has a worthy opponent in Presbyterian’s third-leading scorer; JC Younger shoots over 45% when it comes to treys.
If Presbyterian can create open threes and Butler has another poor night offensively, the Blue Hose might make a game of it.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Butler: Force Presbyterian inside
As alluded to above, Presbyterian relies heavily on the the three-pointer and it makes sense; Lewis, the tallest player for the Blue Hose is listed at just 6’9”. Nate Fowler and Joey Brunk got their lunch eaten by Juwan Morgan last Saturday, but they should have a sizable advantage in the post against Presbyterian. To avoid any chance of an upset, Butler needs to run the Blue Hose off the three-point line and force them to look inside.
Presbyterian: Force turnovers
The best way to create easy looks is to force turnovers. Butler’s halfcourt defense has been exceptional the last few weeks and Presbyterian will likely struggle there. Fortunately for Presbyterian, Butler’s halfcourt offense has been very poor. If the Blue Hose can force turnovers and find open shooters in transition, they may find themselves with a lead against a team that has not played well coming from behind this season.