A pair of NCAA tournament hopefuls in the Big East, No. 10 Villanova and No. 19 Butler, will meet on Wednesday. Here's everything you need to know about the matchup.
Villanova at Butler: Time, TV channel
Butler (17-5, 5-4 Big East) will host Villanova (17-4, 7-2 Big East) at 6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The game will be broadcast on FS1.
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Villanova at Butler: Preview
Villanova has won five in a row against Butler, dating back to February 2018, since Butler won three straight against the Wildcats. The two schools trail Seton Hall (8-1 Big East) in the conference standings. Villanova was projected to earn a No. 3 seed and Butler a No. 6 seed in March Madness correspondent Andy Katz's latest NCAA tournament projections on Feb. 3.
They could both use a win as they both lost at home to unranked opponents on Saturday.
With Butler sits at No. 12 in the NET rankings, as of Monday, and Villanova at No. 13, this will be a Quadrant 1 game for both teams — the kind that can improve a team's resume and projected NCAA tournament seed.
The Bulldogs and Wildcats met at Villanova in late January, when the Wildcats won 76-61 behind 20 points from Jermaine Samuels and a double-double from freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.
Butler is the more balanced team — No. 32 in offensive efficiency, No. 22 defensively — but Villanova's offense, ranked No. 18, is the single-best unit in the matchup. The Wildcats have five players who average double figures, led by junior guard Collin Gillespie at 15.3 points per game.
Butler senior guard Kamar Baldwin will enter the matchup as the highest per-game scorer (16 points per game). He only had one assist and he took a game-high 21 shots, making nine, in the last game between these two teams and no one else attempted more than 11, so keep an eye on how Baldwin balances shot-creation for himself versus for his teammates.
If he can get Villanova's defense to collapse around him on dribble drives, he has high-level 3-point shooters on the wing in Sean McDermott (41.6 percent) and Jordan Tucker (39.4 percent).
The Bulldogs' defense, which ranks in the top 30 nationally in 2-point percentage, 3-point percentage and defensive rebounding percentage, will hope to contain Villanova's better than in their last meeting.
Butler has lost four of its last six games following a 15-1 start to the season and a loss would drop the Bulldogs to 5-5 in Big East play. A win could do wonders to improve their NCAA tournament outlook.
Meanwhile, Villanova, which has been the class of the Big East since the conference restructured, is just one game behind Seton Hall in the conference standings and it needs to keep winning in order to have a shot at the regular season crown.