The No. 21 Butler Bulldogs (19-8, 7-7 Big East) travel to Omaha, Neb., on Sunday for a 4 pm ET Big East Conference matchup against the No. 15 Creighton Bluejays (21-6, 10-4) inside the CHI Health Center. Creighton has won four straight, including eight of its last nine contests. The hosts will try and even the season series against the Bulldogs after a 14-point loss in Indianapolis on Jan. 4.
Butler began the season 15-1 but is just 4-7 since, including dropping its last two contests. Creighton is a 4.5-point favorite in Sunday’s showdown.
What to Know – Butler
It has been a tale of two seasons for the Bulldogs, who rallied to win their first nine games of the season and rising as high as fifth in the national polls. Since finishing up the non-conference portion of the season, the Bulldogs are just 7-7 in conference play and tied for fifth. Butler is 4-5 away from Indianapolis with its last road win coming at Georgetown Jan. 28.
Butler features six players that get a majority of the playing time for the visitors. Offensively a pair of seniors, guard Kamar Baldwin (16.3 ppg) and forward Sean McDermott (11.9 ppg), lead the way as the only two players averaging in double figures.
Baldwin and McDermott have led Butler in scoring in all but four contests this season. When these two teams last met in early January, the senior duo combined to score 38 of the team’s 71 points.
The Bulldogs offense is averaging 68.8 points per game but has seen that number dip over the last couple of weeks. Butler is allowing 62.1 ppg but has allowed north of 70 points in four of its last five.
The visitors are banged up, with two reserves out for the season and one that has missed his last two games.
What to Know – Creighton
Creighton enters the contest in second place in the Big East standings after a pair of recent top-25 wins over Seton Hall and Marquette. With four regular-season games remaining and a home showdown against conference leader Seton Hall to close out, the Bluejays can still lock up the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament.
Creighton ends the year with three of four at home, where they are 14-1 this year.
Four Bluejays enter the weekend averaging over 12 points per game. Leading the way is a pair of guards in junior Ty-Shon Alexander (16.9 ppg) and sophomore Marcus Zegarowski (15.0 ppg). Zegarowski scored a team-high 15 points against Butler in the matchup earlier this season.
The Bluejays have the highest-scoring offense in the Big East conference, averaging 78.1 points per game. Over its four-game winning streak, Creighton has jumped that average to 86.6 ppg. All key players for the host will be suited up on Sunday.
The Pick is In
Creighton has been on fire, and we don’t see it slowing down. The Bluejays can score points, and Butler has shown the inability to defend the ball recently. We like Creighton -4.5 in this one.