Butler (12-10) at Georgetown (13-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 1 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Verizon Center (17,732) -- Washington, D.C. Television: CBS. Home Record: Butler 7-4, Georgetown 8-3. Away Record: Butler 3-4, Georgetown 2-4. Neutral Record: Butler 2-2, Georgetown 3-2. Conference Record: Butler 2-8, Georgetown 4-6. Series Record: Georgetown leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Butler Bulldogs will try to climb out of the Big East Conference's cellar on Saturday when they square off with the Georgetown Hoyas at the Verizon Center.
Butler suffered a 69-62 setback at Marquette in its last outing. The loss was the third in four games for the Bulldogs, who are tied with DePaul for last place in the conference race with a 2-8 Big East ledger. Coach Brandon Miller's team has gone 1-4 on the road in conference play and owns a 12-10 overall record. The Bulldogs have had a tough time offensively versus their league rivals as they are ranked second to last in scoring with an average of 66.5 ppg in Big East action. Butler has allowed its opposition to net 72.9 ppg in conference play.
Georgetown's hard-fought five-point loss to Villanova on Jan. 27 marked its fifth consecutive loss. Coach John Thompson III's Hoyas have stepped up their play since entering February. The Hoyas pulled off an upset of the mighty Michigan State Spartans last weekend at Madison Square Garden and coasted past DePaul to a 71-59 decision in Rosemont on Monday. The two-game winning streak has lifted the team to a 13-9 overall standing, which includes a 4-6 record in Big East play. Georgetown is the only school in the new look Big East struggling more offensively than the visitors as it has netted just 65 ppg through its first 10 games. The Hoyas have made up for their lack of success on the offensive end by holding their Big East foes to a mere 67.8 ppg, giving them the second best scoring defense in the league.
This will be just the third meeting in history between the Bulldogs and Georgetown. The Hoyas edged Butler, 70-67, in overtime at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Jan. 11 to improve to 2-0 in the all-time series. Both sides struggled with their accuracy from the perimeter in last month's encounter as they combined to go 6-of-41 from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs' dynamic duo of Kellen Dunham and Khyle Marshall continued to spearhead the charge on Tuesday versus the Golden Eagles. Dunham scored a team-high 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Marshall contributed 13 points. Butler has not had a consistent third option on the offensive end, but it received strong play out of Elijah Brown and Andrew Chrabascz as they posted 11 and 10 points, respectively, at Marquette. Kameron Woods grabbed seven rebounds in the loss. Dunham is the fourth-leading scorer in the Big East at 17.5 ppg and Marshall is 10th with 15.5 ppg. Butler does not have any other players carrying double-digit scoring averages to this point, however Woods is pacing the conference on the boards with 9.3 per tilt.
Georgetown will counter with its own one-two punch of D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks, who form one of the Big East's most dangerous backcourts. DePaul had trouble containing both guards on Monday as Starks poured in a game-high 26 points and Smith-Rivera added 17. Jabril Trawick provided a spark off the bench with 15 points while Nate Lubick grabbed 10 rebounds. Smith-Rivera and Starks are tied for the team-lead with 16.8 ppg and Lubick is pacing the Hoyas on the glass at 5.9 rpg. Trawick is third among active players on the roster in the scoring column with 7.4 ppg, although he has converted only 21.1 percent of his shots from behind the 3-point line.
Butler's first year as a member of the Big East has been a rocky tour so far. The Bulldogs are capable of pulling off an upset on any given day due to Dunham's ability to take over a game with his jumper, but the sophomore guard will have trouble versus the Hoyas' relentless defenders.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgetown 65, Butler 59
02/08 10:24:41 ET