Time and Date: Sunday, March 17 @ 12:10 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Watch Online: ncaa.com
ODDS AND ENDS
The Spread: Purdue is a 3.5-point favorite
Over/Under: 143.5 points
On December 16, 2017, the Butler Bulldogs faced off against the Purdue Boilermakers in a game that seems relatively inconsequential now. Purdue dominated the game and cruised to an 82-67 victory. The two teams will face off again this Sunday, but the situation is very different. The winner will advance to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16, while the loser will be forced into the offseason.
Purdue is a much higher seed and looks to be the favorite, but could be without one of its key players. Center Isaac Haas suffered an elbow fracture against Cal State Fullerton on Friday and is unlikely to play. Officially, a declaration was made stating that Haas would be out for the remainder of the tournament. However, Haas has been working out over the last day and nobody from the team has confirmed that he will not play.
Although Haas is an impactful player for the Boilermakers, the perimeter players for Purdue dominated the first match-up with Butler. Vincent Edwards, Carsen Edwards, and Dakota Mathias combined for 47 points.
Butler can draw inspiration from its performance against Arkansas in the Round of 64, where the Bulldogs effectively contained star guards Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon and won comfortably. Butler’s perimeter defense will be a major key as will the offensive contributions from its star players. Kelan Martin and Kamar Baldwin combined for 51 points in the win against Arkansas.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Butler: Perimeter defense
If Isaac Haas doesn’t play, Butler will have a real opportunity to disrupt the Purdue offense. In the last match-up, Purdue’s guards dominated because Haas really kept the Bulldogs guards honest. His ability to score and pass from the paint gave the Boilermakers a very difficult dynamic. If Butler can contain the two Edwards and Dakota Mathias, the Bulldogs have a great chance of winning.
Purdue: Move the ball
Butler has been stifling teams that dribble too much over the last few weeks of the season. However, the Bulldogs can get in trouble against teams that pass well because of their aggression. Arkansas failed to move the ball well enough to get easy scoring opportunities on Friday. If the Boilermakers whip the ball around and get the Dawgs out of position, they should have great open jumper opportunities for their trio of shooters.