Butler’s reputation as a giant-killer has only grown this season, as the program has knocked off each of the four ranked teams it has faced in 2016-17. The 13th-ranked Bulldogs will get two more chances this week to further prove they deserve that label – the first of which will come Wednesday when they visit No. 8 Creighton.
Aside from surprising road setbacks against Indiana State and St. John’s, Butler has grinded out a number of wins over quality opponents, including neutral-site victories over No. 16 Arizona and previously ranked Indiana as well as home triumphs against 22nd-ranked Cincinnati and former No. 1 Villanova. The Bulldogs, who also host No. 14 Xavier on Saturday, survived a season-worst shooting effort (39.1 percent) in another close encounter last Saturday, outlasting Georgetown 85-76 in overtime for their third straight victory. The Bluejays have bounced back nicely following their only setback of the season – a 10-point defeat at home against Villanova on New Year’s Eve – with a pair of double-digit road triumphs over St. John’s and Providence. Creighton ranks fifth in Division I in 3-point percentage (42.1) but hasn’t shot it particularly well from long-range in Big East action (30.7), and will face a Butler team which ranks second in the conference – 21st overall – in defending the arc (29.9).
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
LINE HISTORY: Creighton opened as 4-point home favorites Tuesday night but that spread was increased to -4.5 Wednesday morning. By Wednesday evening that spread was up to -5.5. The total hit the board at 152.5 and went up slightly to 153. Check out the complete line history here.
Bulldogs – No injuries to report.
Blue Jays – C Z. Hanson (Mid Feb, ankle).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Butler (-14.4) – Creighton (-17.8) + home court (-3) = Creighton -6.4
ABOUT BUTLER (14-2 SU, 10-4 ATS, 6-6-2 O/U): Preseason all-conference selection Kelan Martin, who ranks eighth in the league in scoring (17.4 points) and leads the team in rebounding (5.5), is coming off his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 boards despite a season-worst 3-for-13 effort from the field Saturday. Freshman guard Kamar Baldwin (8.4 points, team-high two steals per game) more than picked up the slack offensively, setting career highs with four 3-pointers and 16 points while adding five boards and four steals. Sophomore reserve Nate Fowler (5.6 points) is shooting 72.7 percent from the field in limited action this season and scored 11 points versus Georgetown, tying the game with a 3-pointer and again with two free throws – all in the final minute of regulation – to force overtime.
ABOUT CREIGHTON (15-1 SU, 11-4 ATS, 7-8 O/U): Maurice Watson Jr. (13.2 points, 9.1 assists) padded his Division I-best assist average with 14 versus the Friars – the fourth-highest total in school history – and surpassed 1,500 career points with 11, giving him his sixth double-double of the season. Backcourt mate Marcus Foster has scored at least 15 points in all but one game and ranks third in the Big East in scoring (18.6) – the highest mark by a Bluejay newcomer since Cyril Baptiste in 1969-70 (18.9). Freshman forward Justin Patton continues to rank third in Division I in field-goal percentage (74.3) and stands among the top five during conference play in points per game (20), rebounds (eight), blocks (1.75) and field-goal percentage (71.2).
* Bulldogs are 14-3-1 ATS in their last 18 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Bluejays are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
* Over is 5-1-1 in Bulldogs’ last 7 overall.
* Under is 8-1 in Bluejays’ last 9 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
* Home team is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 52 percent of Covers users are siding with the home favorite Creighton Blue Jays and Under is picking up 63 percent of the totals wagers. View full consensus data here.