Kamar Baldwin dribbles down the court. Baldwin and the Bulldogs host DePaul on Feb. 16. Jimmy Lafakis/Collegian file photo.
JOSH MULLENIX | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
After a tough road loss at St. John’s, the Butler men’s basketball team takes on DePaul inside Hinkle Fieldhouse. Here’s what you need to know heading into the matchup.
Who: Butler (14-11, 5-7) vs. DePaul (13-10, 5-7)
When: Feb. 16, 8:00 p.m. EST
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
How to watch/listen: FS1, 107.5 FM/1070 AM
Rebounding and the 3-point line.
Just like in the first matchup between these two teams, rebounding is an overwhelming advantage for the Blue Demons. DePaul sits at 41st in the country, grabbing 38.5 rebounds per game, while Butler sits outside the top 300 at just 32 rebounds per contest. Butler’s advantage comes from beyond the arc, where they shoot 36 percent compared to DePaul’s 32 percent. The team who neutralizes the other’s strength will have the best chance of winning this game. In the first game, Butler controlled the 3-point line and won the rebounding margin by seven, resulting in an 87-69 victory for the Bulldogs. The same formula should produce similar results.
Stopping Femi Olujobi
The names Max Strus and Eli Cain often come up in conversation when discussing how to stop the Blue Demons. However, Femi Olujobi has been a big piece of the DePaul offense the last couple of months. The senior has scored in double digits his last 11 games and is the exact type of player the Bulldogs have struggled with this year. He’s an efficient frontcourt scorer that can shoot the three when he needs to. In the first matchup, he was 9-for-13 from the field and recorded 23 points. Butler defended Strus and Cain well in game one; the next step is shutting down Olujobi as well.
One game at a time.
At this point in the season, all the talk surrounding this Butler team is about the NCAA Tournament and what Butler needs to do to go dancing. For today, that stuff is irrelevant. It’s crucial for the Bulldogs to not overlook games they should win, like this game against DePaul because they’re worried about other games down the road. Head coach LaVall Jordan is surely relaying the same message to his squad. Butler would not be in the tournament if Selection Sunday was happening right now and a home win against DePaul probably wouldn’t change that. But a loss against DePaul would really hurt Butler’s chances of being in the field of 68, regardless of what happens the rest of the season.