Time and Date: Tuesday, November 12 @ 8:30 p.m. ET
Records: Butler (2-0) | Minnesota (1-1)
Rankings: Butler (#27 KenPom) | Minnesota (#78 KenPom)
TV Channel: FS1
Watch Online: FOX Sports Go
After a pair of wins to start the season, the Butler Bulldogs will face their first top-100 (KenPom) opponent of the year Tuesday night at Hinkle. Minnesota comes in at 1-1 after a home loss to Oklahoma. The game will be part of the 2019 Gavitt Games, a series of matchups between Big East and Big 10 opponents.
One key for the Bulldogs in this game is something that is out of their control — health. Kamar Baldwin (hip) and Henry Baddley (illness) played in Butler’s most recent game, but both are recovering and played limited minutes. Meanwhile, Christian David (concussion) and Derrik Smits (knee) still have yet to make their season debuts.
Smits would be especially welcome in this one since Butler will be contending with 6’10” sophomore Daniel Oturu. Oturu had 15 points and nine rebounds against the Sooners and also recorded three blocks. Butler’s two Bryces — Nze and Golden — have done a sterling job in the frontcourt so far, but Smits would really help the Bulldogs contend with Oturu’s size and length.
An even bigger handful for Butler might be Minnesota’s Marcus Carr. Once a blue-chip recruit, Carr started his career at Pittsburgh where he was one of the team’s top contributors as a freshman. He then transferred to Minnesota and was forced to sit out all last season. He is talented and hungry and has been terrific through two games; he’s averaging 17.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 7.0 APG. Butler’s Aaron Thompson was the best player on the floor Saturday against New Orleans and it may fall on him to contain Carr.
Butler will have the homecourt advantage and it will be the Gophers’ first road game. However, Minnesota has the advantage of having played a high-major opponent already, whereas Butler has cruised to two easy victories. This contest promises to be competitive and will be a terrific benchmark for the Bulldogs early in the season.