Butler vs. Villanova: What you need to know

Henry Baddley attempts to drive past Seton Hall. The Bulldogs face Villanova on Saturday in the second matchup of the year. Collegian file photo. 

JOSH MULLENIX | STAFF REPORTER | jmulleni@butler.edu

Who: Butler vs. Villanova

When: Feb. 10, 12 p.m.

Where: Wells Fargo Center

How to Watch: FOX

The Butler men’s basketball team meets the nation’s top ranked team for the second time this season. When the Villanova Wildcats came to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Dec. 30, the Bulldogs pulled out a 101-93 victory to hand Nova one of their two losses this season.

Replicate last game’s keys to success

It would be lovely for Butler to go 15-for-22 from the 3-point line like they did in the first meeting, but it’s not probable that will come true. However, there are a few keys to success the Bulldogs should look to replicate. The first is distribution of scoring on offense. Back in December, Butler had three players with 19 points or more and six players with eight points or more. Distribution on offense keeps the defense off balance and takes pressure off of all Butler scorers.

On the other side, Butler must limit the role players on the Villanova roster. Jalen Brunson, who had 31 points in the first matchup, is more than likely to get his share of buckets. What the Bulldogs cannot afford is for the Donte DiVincenzo’s and Eric Paschall’s of the world to have big games. The Wildcats have several options offensively, and allowing only one or two to have a major impact will give the Bulldogs a chance to score with Nova.

Interior defense killed Butler against Xavier, but perimeter defense needs to be the focus against Villanova.

The Bulldogs were destroyed down low against Xavier. Xavier big men had 51 points combined, including 22 from Kerem Kanter. Against Villanova, the Butler defense has to revolve around the perimeter. While the Wildcats have size, the size tends to spread the floor and have less of a presence on the lower block compared to the Musketeers. The Wildcats have five different players shooting 40 percent or above from beyond the arch. The size is there, but the three point line should still be the main point of emphasis defensively for Butler.

Both teams are coming off home losses

Both teams are lethal on their home courts. Villanova’s loss to St. John’s was the first on their home floor this season and their first loss at home since Butler beat them at the Pavilion last season. Butler’s loss to Xavier was only their second loss inside Hinkle Fieldhouse. The moral of the story? Both teams are looking to come out strong and get a redemption win. Especially Villanova, who just lost to a struggling St. John’s team in the same building. Getting off to a fast start will be big for the Bulldogs if they look to hang around in a hostile Nova environment against a team that is angry and looking to avenge a lost to the Bulldogs earlier this season.

Follow Josh on Twitter @TheJMULL_


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