Graduate guard Eric Hunter Jr. is averaging 9.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game this season. Photo by Jada Gangazha.
KOBE MOSLEY | MANAGING EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Butler men’s basketball team will try to end a three-game skid at home on Jan. 28 against the Seton Hall Pirates. This will be the 22nd meeting all-time between the two programs, with Seton Hall currently holding the 11-10 edge over Butler. The Dawgs enter this matchup with their most recent game ending in a 79-58 loss to No. 23 Providence. Seton Hall is also coming off a defeat, losing at home to No. 16 Marquette 74-53 on Jan. 21. In the Big East standings, the Pirates sit in the fifth slot and 2.5 games in front of the Bulldogs.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of Butler’s battle to defend home court.
Who: Butler vs. Seton Hall
When: Jan. 28, 4 p.m.
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
How to watch/listen: FS1/ WXNT 1430AM
Get the Pirates in foul trouble
One of Butler’s strengths all year has been their ability to defend without fouling. Conversely, it has been one of Seton Hall’s biggest weaknesses. The Dawgs rank first in Division I in fouls per game with 12.9. The Pirates, on the other hand, are tied for 236th and average 17.6 fouls per game.
Butler will need to take advantage of Seton Hall’s physical defense all game long. Players like sophomore guard/forward Jayden Taylor, junior guard Chuck Harris and even graduate center Manny Bates will need to attack the rim whenever possible to draw fouls and get free points from the charity stripe.
The Bulldogs shoot fairly well from the free throw line, ranking third in the Big East with a 75% average. The Pirates, however, can add free throw shooting to their list of weaknesses as they rank last in the conference at 68%.
Force Seton Hall to take perimeter shots
Outside of senior Al-Amir Dawes, the Pirates are not a real threat from three-point range. Seton Hall’s 31% from beyond the arc ranks last in the Big East and only has three games this season where they shot 40% or better from three. To put that into perspective, Butler has 11 such games and ranks third in the conference at 35.3% from three.
Seton Hall may not be very good at taking threes, but they are good at defending them. Head coach Shaheen Holloway’s squad is second in the Big East in three-point percentage defense, holding teams to an average of 29.3% from the perimeter. Butler also defends the perimeter well, ranking third in the conference in the same category by holding teams to 31.6% from three. Whichever team finds a way to make the most three-pointers — in an effective manner — will probably be the team that emerges with a win.