Again taking on Butler following four consecutive victories, Seton Hall will try once more to win five straight in Big East play for the first time since 2009.
Around a 10- or 11-seed, the Bulldogs (19-9, 9-8) are fighting for their bubble lives and are surely aiming to finish league play with two home wins against the Hall (21-7, 11-5) and Marquette to improve their NCAA chances heading into the Big East Tournament.
Now locked into a tournament bid, Seton Hall is looking to boost their current 7- or 8-seed status even further with an impressive road scalp; Butler is 58th in RPI but has only lost to Xavier, Villanova and Providence (a December 31st Friar team) at Hinkle Fieldhouse this year.
The Hall have an opportunity to do the unprecedented and set a new program record of six away wins in the Big East. They have previously won five on the road four different times (1988-89, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1999-00).
In what was and still may be a career night, Isaiah Whitehead scored 26 points via a flawless 7-7 from three in the first half of the first meeting while also dishing 10 assists. But his team was ultimately torched on the defensive end to the tune of 1.17 PPP by the Bulldogs in an effort that Whitehead called “probably the worst defensive game all year.”
Derrick Gordon hounded Kellen Dunham well in the first half but ultimately had an off night in Newark against Butler and will undoubtedly try to take his game to another level on Wednesday night; Seton Hall was really missing that fifth player production between Ish Sanogo, Gordon and Mike Nzei in game one.
The Pirates are playing better than they were when the two schools met 3 weeks ago but the game still signifies this team kicking it into a higher gear. While a common thought is that this could be a “hangover” game after taking out No. 5 Xavier, don’t forget about the motivation that will be present for being left out of the top-25 and this group of sophomores having an 0-3 record against Butler on their minds.
For Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard, he left media with a short but simple “I need to figure out Butler” after his win over Xavier on Sunday. While his tone was a little joking in nature, it also couldn’t be more true: Willard is 1-5 against the Bulldogs since 2014 and has never won in Indianapolis.
Riding the biggest wave of momentum this program has seen in over a decade, there’s no better chance to do so than tonight.
KenPom says: No. 39 Butler 75, No. 30 Seton Hall 73 (39%)
Series history (Butler 5-1):
Feb. 10, 2016, Butler 81, SETON HALL 75, Newark, N.J.
Jan. 25, 2015, Butler 77, SETON HALL 57, Indianapolis, IN
Jan. 13, 2015, Butler 79, SETON HALL 75 (ot), Newark, N.J.
March 12, 2014, SETON HALL 51, Butler 50, New York, N.Y.
March 8, 2014, Butler 71, SETON HALL 54, Indianapolis, IN
Jan. 29, 2014, Butler 64, SETON HALL 57, Newark, N.J.
Projected Butler starters:
Roosevelt Jones (14.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 4.6 apg)
Kellen Dunham (16.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
Andrew Chrabascz (10.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
Kelan Martin (16.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg)
Tyler Wideman (8.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg)
Projected Seton Hall starters:
Isaiah Whitehead (17.1 ppg, 5 apg)
Khadeen Carrington (13.6 ppg, 2.5 apg)
Desi Rodriguez (12.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
Ismael Sanogo (4.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
Angel Delgado (10.4 ppg, 9.8 rpg)
Time: 8:30et, FS1
TV: FOX Sports 1
Opening line: Seton Hall +5