Men’s Big East Tournament vs. Xavier: What you need to know

Seniors Posh Alexander and DJ Davis combined for 27 points against Xavier on March 6. Photo by Grace Hensley. 


The men’s basketball team heads to New York City for their first-round matchup of the Big East Tournament against Xavier. The Bulldogs bested the Musketeers in the final game of Butler’s regular season, 72-66

The Dawgs secured the eighth seed in the tournament, setting themselves on a crash course with Xavier yet again. Butler beat Xavier in the first round of the Big East Tournament in 2021 and 2022, both in overtime. 

Here is what you need to know as the Bulldogs try to keep their season alive against Xavier. 

Who: Butler vs. Xavier 

When: March 13, 4 p.m. 

Where: Madison Square Garden 

How to watch/listen: FS1, 1430 WXNT 

Repeating last game’s performance 

Butler’s last matchup against Xavier went almost exactly according to plan. Despite the 12 minute scoring drought in the middle, the Bulldogs got the job done thanks to a fast start, efficient offense and tough defense. 

Those are the ingredients that the Dawgs will have to use to beat the Musketeers again. This time they will not have a home court advantage and Hinkle Magic on their side. Having a clean game and playing smart is how Butler will get the win. 

Xavier will be looking to get revenge after their last performance, so this will not be a cake walk for Butler. If history is any indication of how this game may go, fans may be in store for some free extra basketball after two closely contested halves. 

Xavier scouting report 

Xavier finished the regular season with a record of 15-16, and 9-11 in the conference. They clinched the ninth seed in the Big East Tournament. 

The Musketeers are led by guards Quincy Olivari and Desmond Claude. The backcourt duo averages 35.5 points per game

Olivari, a 6’3” graduate student, averages 19.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He transferred to Xavier from Rice for his graduate year, and ended up leading the Musketeers in scoring this season. Olivari is a dual-threat scorer, who can get in the paint but also hurt teams from deep. He boasts a team-best 43.2% shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Butler’s number one priority will be limiting Olivari’s impact, because he can explode offensively on any given night. 

Claude, a 6’6” sophomore, averages 16 points per game but struggles from the three point line. He only shoots a mere 20.6% from beyond the arc, but 41.5% from the field. He is a big-bodied guard who lives to drive into the paint and attack the rim. He also is second in the team in total minutes played, with 1,037. Butler’s undersized guards will have to play strong defensively to keep Claude at bay. 

Butler has a chance to keep building on this season with a win over Xavier. The Musketeers will not make it easy though, because they want this rivalry game too. It is win or go home now, so there is no longer any room for error. 


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