Scouting Butler at Xavier
Andy Mac Williams,
Scouting Butler (11-10, 4-6 BIG EAST, #132 NET) at Xavier (15-5, 5-4 BE, #20 NET, #21 AP, 10-2 at home). 7 PM-Wednesday Feb. 2 at Cintas (TV-CBSSN). Muskies open February w/ 4 of 5 in Cincy (Butler, DePaul, at Seton Hall, UConn, ST Johns). XU coming off Saturday's HUGE 17 point road rally win (74-64) vs Creighton in Omaha. Xavier looking to start faster after trailing the last 6 games at the half (3-3).
Travis Steele hopes to uncork 2nd half mojo Muskies created in Omaha.
"We've created some confidence. We weren't rushed offensively and got the ball where we wanted to. On defense we produced a bunch of deflections and were very disruptive. We just gotta start faster. The players and teams and coaches and preparation in this league are so good. It's tough to dig yourself out."
Butler is playing well w/ a tight road loss at Providence and two home wins over Creighton and Georgetown inn their last 3 games. BU is playing stingy defense-allowing 57PPG over that span and running opponents off the 3 point arc(CU and G-town just 6-41 for 16%). Bulldogs punked CU and GT on the glass also. Butler is 8-0 when they win the rebounding numbers.
BU coach LaVall Jordan finally has a full healthy roster. And they are OLD! w/ four 5 and 6 year guys and Sophomore sniper guard Chuck Harris (averaging 14.2PPG in 5 away from Hinkle). Harris torpedoed Xavier in Round 1 of BET at MSG scoring 21 2nd half and OT points in a 70-69 Butler win that knocked XU off the NCAA bubble.
Bulldogs play two BIGS (Bryce Nze and Bryce Golden)-PG Aaron Thompson(#2 All Time BU assists-great driver)-6-6 215 SF Bo Hodges(13PPG last 3 after recovering from knee injury) and combo guard Harris. Two good Frosh now come off the bench(6-4 guard Jayden Taylor-8.6PPG and 6-6 230 Simas Lukosius(Lithuania)(6PPG-3REB) who just won BE Frosh of the Week.
Other depth pieces include 3 point specialist Jair Bolden. 6-6 Frosh D.J. Hughes. Muskies beat Butler in Indie back on Jan 7th 87-72. X won on the glass-turned the ball over just 6 times-knocked down 10 of 22 "3s"(46%) and paraded to the FT line(23-27). Adam Kunkel scored 25. Paul Scruggs put up 16 w/ 7 boards and 6 assists. XU led basically wire to wire at Hinkle.
Butler is a different better team now says Travis Steele.