Time and Date: Saturday, January 9 @ 4:00 pm ET
Records: Butler (3-5) | Connecticut (5-1)
Rankings: Butler (#85 KenPom) | Connecticut (#25 KenPom)
TV Channel: CBS Sports Network
Almost ten years after the infamously ugly national title game between Butler and UConn, the two teams meet up again, now as BIG EAST rivals. The Huskies are the favorite for this Saturday’s matchup, as they were for that game a decade ago.
After an overtime loss to Creighton, UConn has bounced back to win its last two comfortably, over DePaul and Marquette. In the win against Marquette, the Huskies got 23 points from Tyler Polley and 15 from Isaiah Whaley – a great sign, as only James Bouknight is averaging in double figures. Dan Hurley’s squad showed that it has enough firepower to win even when Bouknight has an off night.
Meanwhile, the Butler Bulldogs come into this one more confident than they’ve been all season. With star guard Aaron Thompson back from a knee injury that sidelined him for three weeks, the Bulldogs came from behind on Wednesday to beat Georgetown, dominating the turnover margin and playing stellar half-court defense.
Georgetown’s top scorer Jahvon Blair had one of his worst games of the season in that one and the Bulldogs will look to replicate this success against Bouknight, who is coming off a sub-par performance. This won’t be easy, as Bouknight will have a significant height advantage over the Butler guards.
UConn will be looking for Polley to repeat his Marquette performance against the Dawgs. Polley is a sharpshooter with size, which makes him a tough mark. Intriguingly, Butler’s best option to match up with Polley might be Christian David. David hasn’t played since tearing his ACL on January 21 of last year, but against Georgetown he dressed for the first time this season, although he didn’t play. Polley is also back from a torn ACL and could be a major problem for Butler if David doesn’t play.