Game InfoNCAA Tournament - 2nd Round
Butler Bulldogs (21-13, 9-9 Big East) vs Purdue Boilermakers (29-6, 15-3 Big Ten)
Sunday, March 18, 2018 - 12:10 pm
Little Caesars Arena (Detroit, Michigan)
CBS - Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel & Allie LaForce
107.5 FM, 1070 AM
Line - Butler +3.5
All time Series: Purdue leads 38-19
Last Meeting: Purdue 82, Butler 67 - December 16, 2017, Crossroads Classic
LaVall Jordan on how his team is difference since the 1st meeting with Purdue
"I think we are a lot more fluid offensively. At that point in time it was pretty choppy. That was one of our worst games. Now a lot of that was due to Purdue's defense. And then I think defensively we've gotten a lot stronger, a lot more solid, a lot more aware, a lot more connected on that end of the court, where we've had from that point on, once we got in the Big East play, we've had some really solid defensive performances. And guys have good clarity, a lot more clarity at this point.
I think Kamar Baldwin, specifically, during that time, he was transitioning, kind of learning on the fly, where we look at him last night, he's got a really good command of the court. He knows what he's looking for. And that was due to us simplifying some things for him, us probably over-coaching at that point, and then him studying and growing and developing."
LaVall Jordan on the defensive challenges of Purdue playing small
"I think probably Creighton would be the best reference point for us. Providence has done that in our league where they play Bullock and just go small. And the decision you have to make on our side is are you going to match it? Or are you going to try to play advantage basketball with your post? And we have to do some of that in the Creighton game. So we've got something to draw on there. And that's kind of a game-time -- I think we've got to prep for all of it and make a game-time call as you're in the moment and see what's best if they do that, how you're going to counter it."
PJ Thompson (5-10, 185) - Senior - 7.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Carsen Edwards (6-1, 200) - Sophomore - 18.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Dakota Mathias (6-4, 200) - Senior - 12.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Vincent Edwards (6-8, 225) - Senior - 14.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg
Matt Haarms (7-3, 250) - Freshman - 4.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Aaron Thompson (6-2, 190) - Freshman - 4.3 ppg, 3.4 apg
Kamar Baldwin (6-1, 170) - Sophomore - 15.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Sean McDermott (6-6, 190) - Sophomore - 7.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Kelan Martin (6-7, 220) - Senior - 21 ppg, 6.3 rpg
Tyler Wideman (6-8, 240) - Senior - 9.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Purdue Involvement Chart
3 Keys For Butler
Deny Dribble Penetration
Purdue's offense is ridiculously efficient because they excel at getting the ball in the paint and scoring at the rim while having several elite shooters on the outside to keep the floor spaced. But Purdue is expected to be missing their huge inside presence with Isaac Haas suffering from a fractured elbow. Haas averaged an outstanding 1.12 points per post up this season on 330 chances. Purdue replaces a 7'2" player with a 7'3" one, but Haarms isn't near the back to the basket threat. He saw only 33 post up opportunities this season and averaged only 0.85 points per possession on them.
With Haas out, expect Purdue to attack the rim via the drive more instead of the post up. Carsen Edwards is one of the best players in college basketball, and Butler is going to need to keep him out of the paint. If Butler has to help frequently on drives it will mean leaving shooters open, and that's not a recipe for success against the Boilermakers. They shot 42% from distance this season, good for 2nd best in the nation.
Win the Battle of the Boards
It defies logic given their superior size, but Purdue's biggest weakness is rebounding. They ranked 207th in the country in offensive rebounding and 131st in defensive rebounding. The big problem with bigs trying to block shots is they often leave their man free to crash the boards. Tyler Wideman was able to exploit this against Arkansas by grabbing 5 huge offensive rebounds to help Butler pound the Razorbacks on the glass 45-25. Haarms has a higher block rate than Gafford with a worse defensive rebounding rate. This is another matchup Big Cat can take advantage of.
Get to the Charity Stripe
Purdue ranks 8th defensively in keeping opponents off the foul line. The Bulldogs rank 335th at getting there. Looking at those numbers one might expect free throw trips to be rare for Butler, but once again the loss of Haas changes everything. Haarms is an excellent shot blocker, but he also has a tendency to foul, averaging 6 fouls per 40 minutes of game time. Purdue absolutely cannot afford to lose Haarms to foul trouble in this one. Expect the Bulldogs to go right at him early to try and pick up a quick foul or two in an attempt to make him much more passive the rest of the game. Frontcourt foul trouble could spell disaster for Purdue.
Final Thoughts and Prediction
Purdue is a terrible matchup for Butler when fully healthy, but the loss of Haas makes this a different story. Butler's post defense is one of the worst in the country, but that's no longer a major concern. Now Purdue will rely heavily on Carsen Edwards, who will go up against two of the best defenders in the Big East in Aaron Thompson and Kamar Baldwin. Trying to keep Edwards in check while also hugging shooters on the perimeter will still be a difficult task, but it's one Butler is equipped to handle. I think Butler once again rides their defense in March to advance to their 4th Sweet 16 this decade.
Prediction: Butler 72, Purdue 68