Big East Tournament action begins on Wednesday afternoon. Madison Square Garden plays host again to the annual event, and things will tip off with a not-so-classic Big East matchup. The Xavier Musketeers (18-12, 8-11) will challenge the Butler Bulldogs (13-18, 6-14). Whoever wins this opening matchup will advance through to the Big East quarterfinals, where they’ll face the top-seeded Providence Friars.
Xavier swept the season series between them and the Bulldogs. They won 87-72 on January 7 in Indianapolis and then 68-66 on February 2 in Cincinnati. Since the two joined the Big East Conference, they’ve met three times in the conference’s tournament. Xavier won the first two meetings, while Butler edged them last season.
How to watch Xavier vs. Butler in the Big East Tournament
Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Watch Online: Fox Sports App
Spread: Xavier -6.5 | Butler +6.5
Moneyline: Xavier -265 | Butler +215
As anticipated, Xavier is projected to win this matchup. Butler has “enjoyed” one of their worst regular seasons in recent memory. 13 wins are the least amount of victories the Bulldogs have accumulated in a full season since, sure enough, Butler’s first season in the Big East when they went 14-17. Their troubles, essentially, boil down to their lack of prowess on offense. They’re not efficient nor can they shoot the ball particularly well in general. Their defense has been fine, but exploitable.
Xavier has a record above .500. However, there’s still some disappointment here. The Musketeers began the season with an 11-1 record and were 14-3 and then 16-5. Since that point in time, February 2, they’ve gone just 2-7 with a five-game losing streak mixed in there. In their last 10 games, they averaged 73.3 points per game, with four instances where they couldn’t even hit 70.
I would be surprised if this wasn’t a low-scoring game to begin things. Neither team’s offense has been setting the world on fire lately. With neither team being able to shoot the 3-point ball well, I would not expect a lot of points to be scored here. This will likely be a bit of a rock fight.