Three Thoughts On Butler’s Win Over MarquettePosted by WCarey on January 19th, 2014
Walker Carey is an RTC Correspondent. He filed this report following Saturday’s game in Indianapolis between Marquette and Butler.
Butler entered Saturday’s home contest with Marquette needing a victory in the worst way. The Bulldogs’ first season in the Big East got off to a disastrous start with five consecutive losses to Villanova, Xavier, DePaul, Georgetown, and Creighton. Marquette also entered the afternoon with something to prove. The Golden Eagles were picked to win the Big East in the preseason, but they entered Hinkle Fieldhouse with a pedestrian 2-2 conference record and a very disappointing 10-7 overall mark. In a game where Marquette seemingly had control in the early second half, Butler came roaring back to force overtime where the Bulldogs outscored the Golden Eagles 20-8 on their way to a 69-57 victory. The following are three thoughts from Saturday afternoon’s game in Indy.
- Butler Shored Up Its Defensive Effort. Butler’s defense in its first five conference game was a disaster. The Bulldogs were giving up a league-worst 82.4 points per game, while allowing their opponents to shoot a league-worst 51% from the field. Saturday was a different story for the Bulldogs, as they looked like a completely different team on that end of the court. Following a first half where they allowed Marquette to shoot just 40% from the field, the Bulldogs brought up their defensive intensity another notch in the second half. The Golden Eagles were limited to just 17 second half points on a woeful 18.5% from the field. Butler’s defense carried its intensity over to the overtime period where it allowed Marquette to score only eight points on 3-of-8 from the field. After allowing opponents to shoot 51% from the field over its first five conference games, Butler held Marquette to just 30.8% from the field over the course of Saturday’s game.
- This Win Was Very Important For Butler. After starting its life in the Big East with five consecutive losses, it was vital for Butler to get a victory to prove to itself that it could win in its new conference. Butler experienced great success throughout its tenure in the Horizon League and in its lone season in the Atlantic 10, thus losing was an unusual occurrence for a program that had previously done so much winning. While no one will be throwing a parade for the 1-5 Bulldogs following a home victory over a disappointing Marquette squad, Saturday’s win showed the Butler is capable of winning in its new conference, giving it a bit of confidence it can carry over for the rest of its conference slate.
- Marquette Needs To Figure Something Out. Buzz Williams‘ squad is now just 2-3 in conference play after Saturday’s defeat. It is also troubling that the mostly veteran Golden Eagles have lost all three of their road conference games. For a team that had such high expectations in the preseason, Marquette’s season thus far has been a disappointment. This disappointment was on display Saturday in Indianapolis when the Golden Eagles could not hold onto a 12-point second half lead. While starters Vander Blue, Junior Cadougan, and Trent Lockett departed from last year’s Elite Eight team, big men Davante Gardner, Chris Otule, and Jamil Wilson all have a great deal of winning experience. It would be unfair to say that Marquette has no chance of turning around its season after just five conference games, but if it wants to turn things around, the aforementioned veteran big men need to be more consistent and the team’s backcourt committee of veterans Derrick Wilson, Jake Thomas, and Todd Mayo need to find a way to contribute more frequently. The season is still relatively young, but Marquette cannot afford to take too much time to figure out its issues.