Time and Date: Tuesday, February 9 @ 9:00 pm ET
Records: Butler (6-10, 5-8 BIG EAST) | St. John’s (13-7, 7-6 BIG EAST)
Rankings: Butler (#99 KenPom) | St. John’s (#68 KenPom)
TV Channel: FS1
Watch Online: FOX Sports GO
The red hot Johnnies travel to Indianapolis Tuesday to face the Butler Bulldogs in some late night BIG EAST action. They’ve become the story of the BIG EAST after winning six in a row; most recently, they scored a whopping 92 points in a road win over Providence.
Coach Mike Anderson’s team shot 58.6% from the field, 52.6% from three, and 87.5% from the line against the Friars, led by 24 points from Julian Champagnie and 21 from Posh Alexander.
They’ll be facing a Butler team that won its most recent game, a ten-point victory over DePaul that snapped a three-game losing streak. The Bulldogs won that one behind tough defense and terrific scoring from Chuck Harris and Bryce Nze who scored 22 apiece.
St. John’s and Butler met once already this season on January 12. The Johnnies prevailed on that day, dominating the turnover ball 16-8 en route to a 69-57 win. In order for the underdog Dawgs to compete in this one, they will have to take care of the ball and force St. John’s to play a slow pace.
If they can protect the ball from the Johnnies’ aggressive defense, they will have open three-point opportunities. Jair Bolden sank five threes against the Red Storm in their previous meeting and the Bulldogs shot the deep ball well against DePaul on Saturday, making 8-20.
That being said, St. John’s has been unbeatable over the last six, triumphing over the likes of UConn and Villanova. The Johnnies have always harassed opponents defensively and forced turnovers, but this year they are pairing that with elite scoring. In recent games, Champagnie, Alexander, and Rasheem Dunn have formed a three-headed monster that Butler will struggle to contend with in size, athleticism, and scoring ability.
Look for the Johnnies to keep it rolling while Butler’s developing guards get a great opportunity to measure themselves against one of the BIG EAST’s best backcourts.