#759 Butler University Bulldogsvs.#760 Creighton University Bluejays
Written by Chris Kubala
#12 Butler Bulldogs (14-2 SU, 10-4 ATS, 6-6-2 O/U) vs. #8 Creighton Blue Jays (15-1 SU, 11-4 ATS, 7-8 O/U)
NCAAB: Wednesday, January 11, 2017, CenturyLink Center Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, 9 pm ET
Spread: Creighton -4, Over/Under: 152.5
It’s a marquee matchup between a pair of highly ranked teams in the Big East Conference. The #12 Butler Bulldogs are on the road as they battle the #8 Creighton Blue Jays Wednesday night. Butler won their third straight with an 85-76 overtime win at Georgetown Saturday. Creighton won their second straight after their first loss of the year as they clipped Providence 78-64 on the road Saturday. The teams split the six previous meetings with the Blue Jays winning the last matchup here 72-64 on January 23, 2016.
Butler avoided a letdown after knocking off then-#1 Villanova at home by going on the road and holding off Georgetown in overtime. The Bulldogs trailed by one at the half and forced overtime in a seesaw game before taking control in overtime. With the score tied at 70 after the teams traded buckets early on in the extra session, Butler went on an 11-0 run to take command. The Bulldogs hit only 39.1 percent from the field but knocked down 10 of 20 from beyond the arc. Butler cashed in at the charity stripe as they sank 25 of 29 attempts to Georgetown’s 15 of 22. Kamar Baldwin led the Bulldogs with 16 points in the win.
The Bulldogs currently are ranked 97th in the nation by scoring an average of 77.7 points per game. Butler struggles on the glass, ranking tied for 325th with 32 boards a night, and is tied for 156th with 14 assists per game. The Bulldogs are well above average as they are currently 40th in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 64.9 points per game. The Bulldogs are shooting 48.8 percent from the field. Butler knocks down an average of 8.1 threes per game and shoots 39.2 percent from beyond the arc as a team. Kelan Martin contributes a team high 17.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest. Andrew Chrabascz is the only other player scoring in double figures with 11.9 points and five boards a night. Tyler Wideman, Baldwin, Tyler Lewis and Avery Woodson each contribute at least seven points a night for the Bulldogs this season.
Creighton bounced back from their lone loss of the year, which came to then-#1 Villanova at home, by winning back to back conference games on the road by double digits. The Bluejays took care of business with Providence as they knocked off the Friars. Creighton led by six at the half and built their edge in the second half behind a hot shooting night. The Bluejays hit 55.9 percent from the floor in the game and knocked down seven of 17 from beyond the arc. The hot shooting, coupled with only six turnovers, helped Creighton overcome a 42-27 rebounding disadvantage. Justin Patton led the Bluejays with 20 points in the win.
The Bluejays are an elite offensive unit as they are 11th in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 87.5 points per game. Creighton is tied for 258th in the nation in rebounding with 34.8 boards a night and is 7th with 18.4 assists per contest. Creighton is mediocre on the defensive end of the floor as the team ranks tied for 180th in scoring defense by allowing 72 points a game. The Bluejays are shooting a scorching 53.7 percent from the floor on the year. Creighton connects on a sizzling 42.1 percent from beyond the arc and splashes 8.9 three pointers a game. Marcus Foster leads the team with 18.6 points per game. Khyri Thomas chips in 12.6 points plus 5.2 boards a night, Patton contributes 14.3 points and 6.5 boards while Maurice Watson Jr. is good for 13.2 points and 9.1 assists per game. Cole Huff, Toby Hegner, Zach Hanson and Isaiah Zierden each put up better than four points a game.
This one is a matchup of a pair of high octane teams that have combined for just three losses this season. Butler knocked off Villanova while the Wildcats handed Creighton their lone loss. This one should be an entertaining affair between a couple of experienced teams. Creighton has a little better depth scoring wise and that proves crucial in a game like this. Look for Creighton to pick up a tough, hard-fought win on their home floor.
This one is poised to be one of the marquee matchups of the evening’s slate of games. Both teams are powerhouses and, coupled with Villanova and Xavier, gives the Big East a quartet of extremely strong teams to work with. Butler had to claw to get past Georgetown while Creighton shut down Providence on the road. Both teams have a good amount of experience and talent to call upon in their rotations.
The under is 5-2-1 in Butler’s last eight games after an ATS win. Creighton, meanwhile, has gone under in eight of their last nine at home against teams with a winning road record, in five of their last six Wednesday games and in five of their last six as a favorite between 0.5 and 6.5 points. Four of the last five meetings in this series have come under the total as well. This one will be a close game but it inevitably falls a few points shy of the total.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.