Time and Date: Saturday, December 28 @ 4:00 pm ET
Records: Butler (11-1) | UL-Monroe (4-6)
Rankings: Butler (#7 KenPom) | UL-Monroe (#274 KenPom)
TV Channel: FS1
Watch Online: FOX Sports GO
With conferences around the nation now embroiled in conference play, the Big East won’t begin infighting until next week. For the Butler Bulldogs, this means a match-up against Louisiana-Monroe Saturday in their final non-league game.
The last few weeks have been excruciating for the Warhawks; they have dropped four close contests in a row with opponents outscoring them by just 16 points across the four games. Overall, they are 4-6 and barely squeaking into a top-300 KenPom ranking.
In its most impressive performance, UL-Monroe had Texas A&M on the ropes in College Station, but a big second half run propelled the Aggies to a five-point victory. Warhawks’ guard Michael Ertel had 25 points and played 40 minutes in that game. Saturday will be a homecoming for Ertel, an Indianapolis native who played his high school ball at Mt. Vernon High School in nearby Fortville.
Ertel leads the team, averaging 16.7 PPG with backcourt partner JD Williams close behind at 16.0 PPG. The Warhawks are heavily reliant on these two with both averaging more than 36 MPG.
This will likely be a slow, defensive contest. UL-Monroe ranks #330 in the country in pace of play and Butler is at #349. Both look to defend well and work the ball around on offense to generate quality shots. UL-Monroe may be able to stay close with this strategy, but probably doesn’t have the defensive chops to frustrate Butler’s offense for long. Additionally, Ertel and Williams will have a tough time scoring against Aaron Thompson and Kamar Baldwin.
This one will likely be nothing more than one last tune-up for the Bulldogs heading into conference play.