Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
Time: 6:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports 1
Spread: Butler -3
Last Meeting: Xavier won 86-79 at Cintas Center on Jan. 2
It’s a sort of homecoming for two Xavier Musketeers on Tuesday, as two Hoosiers return to their home state. Trevon Bluiett and Paul Scruggs both hail from the Indianapolis area. Bluiett attended Park Tudor High School while Scruggs went to Southport High School before opting to play his senior year at Prolific Prep in California.
Both teams are coming into this game riding winning streaks. The Musketeers have won six straight games and the Butler Bulldogs have been on the winning side of things in their last four contests. Not only has Butler one four consecutive games but its last three wins were runaway blowouts against St. John’s, Marquette and DePaul.
Butler’s leading scorer this season, Kelan Martin was productive on both ends of the floor in the Bulldog’s latest victory over DePaul this past Saturday. He dropped 26 points and added six rebounds. Defensively, he snatched a pair of steals and collected two blocks. This season, Martin averages 19.8 points per game and brings down 6.5 rebounds per game. The senior forward has a long-range game in his arsenal and makes one-third of the three-pointers he takes.
Another scoring threat for the Bulldogs will be the agile sophomore guard Kamar Baldwin. He has scored double-digit points in his last 11 contests. This year, Baldwin is the team’s second-leading scorer with 15.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 3.1 assists per game.
Both players rang in the new year with a bang against the Musketeers in the last matchup between the two teams. Despite both shooting sub 50 percent from the field in the game, Baldwin exploded for a 28-point outburst and Martin chipped in 25 points of his own.
Even on a tear as of late, the Bulldogs will undoubtedly be challenged by a Xavier squad that is now ranked No. 5 in the country for the second time this season. Trevon Bluiett has been sensational this year and in the team’s last game, he recorded the second-highest point total in his Xavier career with 31 points in the win over Georgetown on Saturday.
The Musketeers and Bulldogs were, at some point, both members of the Atlantic 10 Conference before making the switch to the Big East. Last year, Xavier, a No. 7 seed in the Big East Tournament, knocked off Butler, the No. 2 seed in the same tournament, in an upset victory.
This matchup has all the makings of becoming an intraconference rivalry with the two schools being separated by about 112 miles. On Tuesday, the Musketeers travel to play in the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. Since joining the Big East, Xavier has only won playing on the road against Butler twice with the last win coming in the 2015-16 season.
Butler has lost but one game at home this season to Seton Hall. Tuesday will provide for a clash of two teams that have hit a hot streak.