Butler basketball suffered a tough road loss to Marquette in its last game. How will the Dawgs get back on track against Xavier at home?
Butler-Xavier is one of the nation’s most underrated rivalries. A budding hatred between the two programs has emerged over the past several seasons as this is a highly-anticipated matchup every single year. While this rivalry might not be on the same level as some others in the country (Duke-UNC, UL-UK, etc.), it is one of the best matchups in the “New” Big East.
This upcoming edition in Hinkle Fieldhouse on Feb. 11th will add another page to the storybook that includes the argument of the 2009 matchup known as either the “Water Fountain Game” or the “Shot Clock Game”, depending on your fandom. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season and while one is safely in the NCAA Tournament field and one is on the bubble, the two teams are trending in opposite directions.
Butler is still regarded as either a projected No. 4 or No. 5 seed for the Big Dance next month but has not looked like the same team as of late. Losing Christian David for the season and Aaron Thompson for three games has certainly had an impact on that but there have been other factors as well. Head coach LaVall Jordan’s team will enter this game ranked at No. 19 in the country after splitting matchups with Villanova (home) and Marquette (away) during this past week.
Xavier, on the other hand, started this season extremely slowly while failing to live up to high expectations. Over the past few weeks, though, the Musketeers have turned on the jets to move onto the right side of the projected cutline for most bracketologists. They have won three straight games, including two on the road, to reach this point and will be looking for this rivalry victory to continue their hot play.
This has the makings of a very interesting game. Butler is perhaps the better team on paper but it is reasonable to make the argument that Xavier is the better team right now. The Dawgs, though, will have home-court advantage and a raucous crowd should be on hand for the rivalry matchup.
Now, without any further ado, let’s dive into this Butler-centric preview for the contest.