How to Watch
When: 7 PM EST
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse; Indianapolis, Indiana
Bets are On
Butler is favored by -1.5, according to OddsShark.
The Villanova Wildcats may be undefeated in BIG EAST play, but ‘Nova is about to face their biggest threat to that status. Traveling to the famed Hinkle Fieldhouse to meet the Butler Bulldogs, the Wildcats have actually lost their previous two games played in Indianapolis.
Historical games aside, Villanova is looking the sharpest they have all season. A vastly different portrait than the bubbling disarray painted in the early days of November (and sporadically in December), coach Jay Wright’s young squad has begun to spin into their own cohesive unit. Senior Phil Booth has cemented his experienced leadership skills, and is now averaging 18.4 points per game. In fact, Booth has been ‘Nova’s highest scorer in three of the Wildcats’ past four games. Sophomore Collin Gillespie has also demonstrated growth in playmaking and execution, dropping 18 points in ‘Nova’s weekend game against Xavier.
For Butler, senior Kamar Baldwin leads the Bulldogs both offensively and defensively, averaging 17.7 points per game and nabbing the team’s highest amount of rebounds with 5.7 per game. Recently, Baldwin has upped his performance in BIG EAST-specific play, averaging 22.2 points. Senior Paul Jorgensen follows Baldwin in scoring for Butler, averaging 12.3 per game. While Butler may have a slightly worse overall season record than Villanova coming into tonight’s game (12-7 for the Bulldogs, compared to ‘Nova’s 14-4), Butler is a near-perfect 9-1 at home. That Hinkle home-court advantage has tripped skilled Villanova teams in the past, and predicts an equally exciting atmosphere for tonight.