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(14) Butler (13-2) at Dayton (10-5)
Saturday, January 12, 2 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: UD Arena (13,409) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Butler 7-0, Dayton 7-2. Away Record: Butler 3-1, Dayton 1-2. Neutral Record: Butler 3-1, Dayton 2-1. Conference Record: Butler 1-0, Dayton 0-1. Series Record: Butler leads, 11-10.
GAME NOTES: The 14th-ranked Butler Bulldogs put their lengthy win streak on the line on Saturday, as they take on the Dayton Flyers in Atlantic 10 Conference action at UD Arena.
Brad Stevens' Bulldogs are once again a feared program that has already posted some big wins on the year, including North Carolina and Indiana. The team's two losses have come against Xavier and Illinois, but Butler has strung together 10 straight victories since falling to the Illini on Nov. 21, including a 72-66 victory in their first-ever A-10 affair at Saint Joseph's on Wednesday night.
Archie Miller's Dayton squad wasn't as fortunate in its conference-opener, dropping a 74-62 decision to Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday in Richmond. With the loss, the Flyers are now 10-5 on the year, with losses in three of their last five games.
Butler has a narrow 11-10 advantage in the all-time series with Dayton, thanks to wins in each of the last four meetings. However, the last matchup took place in 1993. These two teams were former members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.
Saint Joseph's simply had no answer for Butler's Rotnei Clarke and Andrew Smith, as the inside/out combo amassed 52 combined points to give the Bulldogs a win in their inaugural A-10 game. Clarke shook off a couple of poor performances prior, with a game-high 28 points. Smith recorded his second double-double of the season with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Butler has the ability to win games at either end of the floor and enjoys a +9.0 scoring margin as a result. The team is netting 72.7 ppg on a healthy 45.9 percent shooting. Four players are averaging double figures, led by Clarke's 17.0 ppg. The Arkansas transfer has made an immediate impact with the team, shooting 44.3 percent from 3-point range. Smith is converting over 55 percent from the floor and putting in 11.7 ppg. Khyle Marshall is also shooting at a high rate (.562), netting 10.9 ppg, while Kellen Dunham adds 10.7 ppg, doing most of his damage coming off the bench.
The Flyers let one get away from them late against VCU, committing nine turnovers over 14 possessions in the second half to fall to the Rams in the A-10 opener. Kevin Dillard led the way in defeat with 17 points. No other Flyer finished in double figures, although Devin Oliver just missed a double- double with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Flyers are a lot like the Bulldogs, in that the scoring totals aren't eye- popping at a modest 71.6 ppg, but Dayton has been efficient (.456 from the floor) and does possess scoring depth, as four of the five starters are averaging double digits in scoring. Dillard is both the team's top scorer (15.1 ppg) and distributor (4.7 apg), but need to improve his shot selection at times (.384). Vee Sanford is next in line at 12.4 ppg, followed by Josh Benson and Oliver at 11.0 and 10.0 ppg, respectively. Oliver has been a force on the glass, leading the team with 8.8 rebounds per game.
Two very similar teams will square off in this one. Butler's resume against top-notch competition gives it the edge though, as Stevens' just seems to know how to get the most out of his squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Butler 73, Dayton 66
01/12 10:31:24 ET