Junior guard Pierre Brooks has averaged 13.3 points on the season for the Bulldogs. Photo by Grace Hensley.
SARAH HOHMAN | SPORTS EDITOR | email@example.com
After three straight home victories, Butler will head on the road to East Lansing, Michigan to face off against the No. 18 Michigan State Spartans.
Junior guard Pierre Brooks has been a leader on Butler’s offense since transferring from Michigan State. This will be his first trip back to East Lansing to play against his former team.
Here’s what you need to know about the Bulldogs versus the Spartans.
Who: Butler vs. Michigan State
When: Nov. 17, 6:30 p.m.
Where: East Lansing, Michigan.; Breslin Center
How to watch/listen: FS1 and Varsity Network App / WXNT 1430AM
Focus on the defense
Head coach Thad Matta has emphasized the importance of the Dawgs’ aggressiveness on defense. Butler’s opponents are only shooting 30.6% from the field which gives the Bulldogs the lead in the NCAA for field goal defense. This is huge to bring into a game against the Spartans who have shot an average of 41.2% from the field.
Turnovers have played a huge role in these large-margin victories for the Dawgs. Their opponents are averaging 17.3 turnovers per game. Senior guard Posh Alexander has been an aggressive force on the defensive side of the floor. In the press conference after Butler defeated East Tennessee State, Matta said that Alexander always wants to be against the best player out there. Expect this to stay true against the Spartans.
Spartans scouting report
Graduate guard Tyson Walker has been the Spartans leading scorer in each of their games. He put up a game-high 22 points against the Blue Devils and is averaging 23.7 points per game. He has been scoring most of his points in the field — shooting over 50%. Butler is going to have to play Walker tough in the paint and force him to take some uncomfortable shots to slow the guard down.
The Spartans have been struggling shooting the three. The team is averaging 16% from behind the arc. The Dawgs should look to capitalize on this, especially with their three point defense which has been holding opponents to under 25%.
The Dawgs definitely have a tough match ahead of them, but this team has shown nothing but fight. This game is a great opportunity for Butler to show the NCAA that they are a tough team this season, and they are ready to compete with the best.