The Big East's highest-ranked team, Butler, and the conference's reigning champion, Villanova, will meet in a critical conference game tonight. Here's everything you need to know about the matchup.
Butler at Villanova: Time, TV channel
Villanova (14-3) will host Butler (15-3) for a game at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 21. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
Butler at Villanova: Preview
Just one week ago, Butler was 15-1 (3-0 Big East) and ranked in the top five of the AP Top 25 poll.
Now the Bulldogs are 15-3, fourth in the conference standings and embarking on a road trip against the strongest program in the conference since the Big East realigned, looking to avoid falling into a three-game skid.
Meanwhile, Villanova has rattled off four wins in a row, most recently a non-conference win over UConn on Saturday, to claim sole possession of second place in the Big East, behind Seton Hall. The Wildcats have lost just once since December, a 71-60 road loss at Marquette, and they're 10-1 overall in that stretch.
This is a pivotal stretch for Villanova, whose next seven games are at home against Butler, at Providence, at St. John's, home against Creighton, at No. 13 Butler, home against No. 10 and first-place Seton Hall, and home against Marquette.
The Wildcats have a balanced offense with five players who average double figures, led by sophomore forward Saddiq Bey at 15.1 points per game. Collin Gillespie (14.9 ppg), Jermaine Samuels (10.9 ppg), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (10.8 ppg) and Justin Moore (10.6 ppg) round out the team's top five scorers for an offense that ranks No. 13 nationally in terms of efficiency.
The 3-point-inclined Wildcats score 38.9 percent of their points from behind the arc, which ranks 20th nationally. Almost half of their field goal attempts this season, 46.5 percent to be exact, have been threes and they've made 35.2 percent of them.
While Villanova's defense ranks 79th nationally in terms of efficiency, the Wildcats' D has been the second-best in Big East play. That's just one of the reasons why you can expect this game to be played in the 60s. Butler plays at one of the slowest tempos nationally and the Bulldogs' defense ranks third in Big East play, while their offense ranks eighth.
The Bulldogs only have two players who average at least 10 points per game – Kamar Baldwin (15.1 ppg) and Sean McDermott (11.5 ppg). Turnovers, on both ends of the floor, have plagued the Bulldogs in league play.
Their 22.6 percent turnover rate on offense ranks last in the Big East, as does their 5.6 percent steal rate on defense.
Since the Big East restructured for the 2013-14 season, Villanova is 10-3 against Butler with the Bulldogs' three victories in the series coming in consecutive games in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.