When: Saturday, 3:45 p.m. ET
Where: Bankers Life
Fieldhouse in IndianapolisTV:
CBS Live stream: CBSSports.com
The best two College Basketball teams in the state of Indiana will battle for state bragging rights Saturday afternoon. The Hoosiers seem on the cusp of regaining national relevance with the addition of freshman star Romeo Langford. Butler has been the dominant team in the state over the past decade with two NCAA Championship game appearances.
Let’s take a look at the keys to the game.
Indiana has the more athletic team and a fast-paced game would seem to favor the Hoosiers. In order for Butler to slow this game down to their desired tempo, the back-court will need to set the tone on both ends of the floor. Make no mistake about it, they have the players to do just that. Aaron Thompson and Kamar Baldwin, most notably, are elite perimeter defenders and high-quality playmakers on the offensive end. Thompson and Baldwin have the ability to extend defensively, which means they can control the pace. Going against an Indiana backcourt that starts two freshmen means the Bulldogs could force turnovers and that could lead to easy transition buckets.
If the Hoosiers back-court can handle the perimeter defense of the Bulldogs it will lead to a huge day for Juwan Morgan underneath, as the Bulldogs have nothing to combat Morgan under the basket.
This could be the great equalizer for Butler because in Paul Jorgensen and Sean McDermott they have the players to bomb away from the three-point line. The trouble here is they have been far from consistent this year and the Hoosiers perimeter defense is much better than their interior defense.
Butler ranks 268 nationally in opponents free throw attempts while Indiana ranks 81st. The problem for Indiana is they have a tendency to not shoot the ball well from the three-point line. The Hoosiers will get to the line a lot and if they do they need to shoot 70 percent from the charity stripe. Anything less could lead to an ugly loss.
Prediction: The Hoosiers are the more athletic, deeper team, but as we have seen in the past, Butler has made a living beating times like that. This is a huge game for both teams and I think the difference will be Langford and Morgan. Morgan will be too much for the Bulldogs underneath and Langford will get to the free throw line and convert.
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