Butler vs. Creighton: What you need to know

Seniors Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman share a moment during a game earlier this season. The Bulldogs host Creighton for the duo’s final game of their Butler careers. Collegian file photo. 

JOSH MULLENIX | STAFF REPORTER | jmulleni@butler.edu

Who: Butler vs. Creighton

When: Feb. 20, 7 p.m.

Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

How to Watch: FS1

The 2017-2018 men’s basketball regular season is coming to a close. Only three more games remain before Butler sets their sights on the Big East Tournament and ultimately, the NCAA Tournament. Feb. 20 marks the last home game on the schedule as the Bulldogs say goodbye to two seniors on this year’s senior night. Kelan Martin and Tyler Wideman will slip the numbers 30 and four on for the last time in front of the home crowd. Their opponent is the Creighton Bluejays. Creighton got the better of the Bulldogs in the first matchup of the season 85-74 in early January. Only half a game separates these two teams in the Big East standings and a win would put Butler in third place. Here’s what to know as the Bulldogs try to make this senior night a sweet one.

Creighton’s sixth ranked offense is led by Marcus Foster.

There aren’t many players in the country, much less the Big East, that can score with Kelan Martin, but Creighton has one of those guys. Marcus Foster is averaging 20 points, four rebounds, and three assists. He shoots 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from deep and 80 percent from the free throw line. One of two things needs to happen defensively for Butler; either the Bulldogs shut down Foster and make other guys beat them on the offensive end or completely shut down the supporting cast highlighted by Khyri Thomas, who is averaging just under 15 points a game. Either strategy can work, but the Creighton has too many weapons to let all of them have free reign on the offensive end. Butler’s defense was suffocating in the second half against Providence. An effort similar to that one will be key against a high-powered Creighton attack.

The Bulldogs need one more win to lock in a NCAA tournament birth.

The Big East is arguably the toughest conference in college basketball. Getting to nine wins in a conference of this caliber will more than likely secure a tournament spot for Butler. Nine conference wins including a win against Villanova, a couple road wins, and a win against a top-25 Ohio State team should get the Bulldogs into the tournament. Butler doesn’t want to put themselves in a position where they really need another win on the road against a hot St. John’s team and a talented Seton Hall team. The committee will have a tough time leaving Butler out with a .500 or better record in conference, and the easiest way to achieve that is to take care of business at home against the Bluejays.

Remember last year’s senior night…

It’s going to be an emotional night inside Hinkle Fieldhouse. Saying goodbye to seniors is never fun, and this year’s seniors hold a special place in many Bulldog hearts. However, there is still work to be done. Last year, Seton Hall came into Hinkle and got a win on senior night. The Bulldogs were already a lock for the tournament going into that game, not so much this year. It’s important that Butler finds a way to manage all of the emotions of senior night and go out and get a conference win that they need. And of course, it is always more fun to win on senior night.

Follow Josh on Twitter @TheJMULL_

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