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Crossroads Classic: Butler vs. Purdue

Bulldogs try to capitalize on another opportunity

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Butler Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

THE FACTS

Time and Date: Saturday, December 21 @ 2:00 pm ET

Records: Butler (10-1) | Purdue (7-4)

Rankings: Butler (#10 KenPom) | Purdue (#9 KenPom)

TV Channel: BTN

Watch Online: FOX Sports GO


ODDS via OddsShark

Spread: Butler (-1)

Over/Under: 118


GAME PREVIEW

The main event of Saturday’s Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis features a battle of two top-10 KenPom teams and familiar foes. Butler takes on Purdue after a week off for both teams, looking to strengthen an already sterling NCAA Tournament resume. It will be the last real challenge of the Bulldogs’ non-conference slate and their last chance to represent the Big East against a competing league.

Purdue is a better team than record indicates, at least according to Ken Pomeroy. Pomeroy’s rankings have Purdue even a slot ahead of Butler at #9. This is due to a couple of very close losses that could have easily been wins and one of the most impressive wins anybody in the country has this year, a 29-point drubbing of Virginia. However, a recent 14-point loss at Nebraska has some doubting the Boilermakers.

Poor shooting plagued Purdue in that game and any hope of victory vanished when Matt Haarms left the game after suffering a head injury. Haarms was diagnosed with a concussion and remains doubtful to play against Butler, which could be a sizable advantage for the Bulldogs. Even 7’1” Derrik Smits would give up a couple inches to Haarms.

If Haarms doesn’t play, the match-up seemingly favors Butler. Purdue is led by senior guard Jahaad Proctor, but Proctor has struggled a bit to manage his increased responsibilities this year. Meanwhile, Kamar Baldwin has been a superstar for the Bulldogs. However, these are two in-state rivals facing off at a neutral site, both more than ten days removed from their most recent games against stiff competition. Outsiders probably view this one as a toss-up, as evidenced by the one-point spread favoring Butler.