The Georgetown Hoyas (6-21, 1-15 BIG EAST) are headed to Hinkle Fieldhouse, where they have had some decent shooting in recent years, to face the Butler Bulldogs (13-14, 5-11) on Sunday at 3PM (FS1). There are only four games left for Patrick Ewing and the Hoyas (St. John’s, Providence, and at Creighton) before the BIG EAST Tournament.
The match-up will include a celebration of Black History Month through the BIG EAST’s partnership with the Black Fives Foundation.
“The BIG EAST is honored to continue our partnership with the Black Fives Foundation this season,” said Val Ackerman— BIG EAST Conference (@BIGEAST) December 2, 2022
“Our role as educators, our basketball-centric identity, and our commitment to diversity and inclusion combine to provide the perfect platform...
MORE ⬇️ https://t.co/WRWVIXwZ12
After watching Butler on January 1st and periodically throughout the season, it’s tough to comprehend how they have five wins in the conference. After beating the Hoyas, the Bulldogs won home games against DePaul (78-70), Villanova (79-71), St. John’s (68-66) and #13 Xavier (last Friday, 69-67).
Butler doesn’t always play well at Hinkle, losing 68-46 to UConn, 72-52 to Providence, 73-52 to Creighton, 70-49 to Seton Hall.
A fast start will really do Georgetown well, even given their second-half woes of the past 15 months. In each of those home losses, Butler failed to score 30 points in the first half. In each of the home wins, Butler scored 34+ points in the first half. Butler has been pretty consistent in their scoring in each half of a given game. For instance, down 41-34 at intermission to the Johnnies, Butler scored another 34 and allowed only 25 points.
No one rooting for Georgetown wants to find out what happens with a 33-33 tie at halftime at Hinkle Fieldhouse, but if Butler is having trouble breaking 30 in the first half, the Hoyas have a chance if the offense reaches 60+, even if they have to rely on the foul line.
Here are the links:
• This is the second meeting between Butler and Georgetown this season; the Bulldogs won, 80-51, New Year’s Day in the nation’s capital.
• Jayden Taylor came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points on a career-best six three-pointers in that Jan. 1 win over Georgetown.
• The New Year’s Day 80-51 win over Georgetown was the third-most lopsided win by Butler over a BIG EAST opponent since joining the conference in 2013-14... Butler held Georgetown to 28.8-percent shooting in the win; it’s the third time since joining the BIG EAST that Butler has held a conference opponent under 30-percent shooting... It was the Bulldogs’ best defensive performance against any opponent since limiting Louisiana-Monroe to 23.3-percent shooting Dec. 28, 2019...
• Taylor has scored at least 19 points in each of his last four games; he is the current BIG EAST Player of the Week (announced Monday) for his play last week that resulted in wins over St. John’s and Xavier (averaged 19.5 points and 4.5 rebounds).
Another difference from the [last] meeting is Jayden Taylor will be back in the starting five. He came off the bench [then] and remained there through the Bulldogs’ rough patch. He was recently inserted into the starting lineup though and has helped add a punch in their recent wins.
Taylor is a two-way guard that averages a team-high 12.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals and shoots 41.7% overall.
Also keep an eye on seniors Eric Hunter Jr. and Ali Ali, two versatile players that fill out the rest of their rotation. While they’re not primary options, they have had their moments, especially Hunter Jr.
Chuck Harris is one of the program’s OGs, sticking things out through the coaching change. Harris has been an impact player for the Bulldogs since day one his freshman year, but he’s missed the last couple of weeks due to a concussion. It seems like a return could be any day now, and it very well could be [next].
One silver lining from #Butler’s 62-50 loss to Villanova last night? Jayden Taylor’s starting to look like HIM— Butler Basketball Guru (@ButlerGuru) February 16, 2023
Jayden scored 20 points for the 2nd straight game!
He’s averaging 19.5 PPG over 4 games since re-entering starting lineup. Forming into #Butler’s Top Dawg! #ButlerWay pic.twitter.com/VqhMrKTQRw
In a game where baskets were hard to come by, it was imperative that Butler did not give Villanova extra opportunities. In the first half, the Bulldogs did a good job of doing that by committing just four turnovers. In the second half, however, the Bulldogs committed seven turnovers in the half compared to the Wildcats’ three. This gave Villanova eight points off of turnovers in the second half — a cushion they used to maintain their lead for pretty much the rest of the game.
Down 51-45 with 4:50 left in the game, Butler committed three straight turnovers when those possessions could have been used to tie the game. Those turnovers epitomized the half for the Dawgs and ultimately decided the game. The wins against St. John’s and Xavier proved that Butler is capable of making clutch plays down the stretch, it is just a matter of executing those plays that will decide how many more games they will win or lose going forward.
- Pound the ball inside: Butler has been allowing a 53.2% opponents field goal percentage inside the arc since conference play started. That’s appalling... It’s an easy and obvious place for [an] offense to start.
- Keep up the spacing: Matta apparently doesn’t want to get gashed from deep and will leave his bigs on an island to do that. Assuming he doesn’t want to watch Jack Nunge score 40 tonight, he’ll need to send help a little bit. 90% of Xavier’s made threes this season have come off an assist. If Butler tries to help inside the Musketeers will join Creighton as teams that have gashed the Bulldogs from deep.
- Push the pace: Butler goes maybe seven deep and has had just two players appear in every game. They have played just three games with over 70 possessions this season. Xavier, on the other hand, is 24th in the nation in pace. Butler, most likely, will just hold the ball on offense for long stretches. Even down a man, X has the legs to turn this into a track meet.