Creighton and host Butler will continue their Big East Conference schedule when they meet for the second time this season Tuesday night in Indianapolis.
Considering that Creighton won the first meeting 78-56, and the fact that Butler will be without starting center Manny Bates for an indefinite period after he underwent a procedure on his knee, the Bluejays (10-8, 4-3 Big East) should feel better than the Bulldogs (11-8, 3-5) about this rematch.
However, that ignores two issues: Creighton has gone 0-4 on the road this season, and Butler knocked off Villanova on Friday night without Bates. The Bulldogs won 79-71 while essentially going with a six-man rotation.
Butler did it by shooting 56.5 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3-point range — something Thad Matta had been wishing for while getting crushed at Seton Hall and St. John’s.
“I hope to see us playing with more consistency. That’s what I want,” Matta told the Indianapolis Star before the win over Villanova. “Obviously, we’ve gotta shoot the ball better. We’re getting some good looks and they’re not going in.”
Meanwhile, without Bates, new Butler center Jalen Thomas will have his hands full inside with Creighton 7-foot-1 center Ryan Kalkbrenner, who averages a team-high 15.2 points while ranking third nationally in 2-point shooting at 77.9 percent.
The Bluejays boast four other double-figure scorers, led by Baylor Scheierman at 13.4 points per game.
Creighton took down then-No. 19 Providence on Saturday despite shooting hitting just 3 of 16 3-pointers.
“If teams are going to sit on top of Kalkbrenner and plug up the lane, then we’re going to have to make some threes,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said after the win. “There’s not a lot of other options if the defense is going to pack the lane.”
In the teams’ first meeting, on Dec. 22, Creighton made 8 of 16 shots from 3-point range while Butler hit just 2 of 12.
–Field Level Media