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Game Preview: Seton Hall at Butler

Seton Hall looks to complete the sweep, as they head to Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on the Butler Bulldogs. Seton Hall will look to continue their dominant performance from the first matchup, as they went on to win that game 76-51.


What’s Happened Since the First Meeting?


Seton Hall has been on a nice little run, going 3-1 in this stretch. They’ve beaten DePaul, Georgetown, and a slumping UConn team before losing their last game to Marquette. They’ve looked alright in this stretch, doing just enough to be in the NCAA Tournament conversation, though still on the outside looking in.

Butler is 1-4 with a win over Villanova, and blowout losses to St. John’s, Creighton, Providence and UConn. Those losses were by a combined 88 points. Butler has continued their slump and still hasn’t found a rhythm in Big East play.


Ok, now let's get to the keys to this matchup.


Three-Point Shooting:


Still, Butler has only won two games when they shoot under 40% from three, only beating Cal and New Orleans in the season opener. That's not a good sign in this matchup, as Seton Hall is excellent at defending the three.


They are inside the top 15 in three-point percentage defense, as teams only shoot 28.9% against them. Only four times has their opponent shot over 40% from three, and Seton Hall is 1-3 in those games, the win over Lincoln (PA) (only made five threes fwiw) and losses to Kansas, Creighton and Oklahoma.


Seton Hall makes it incredibly hard to score on them from deep, as Butler should know. In the first matchup, Butler was 4/21, 19% from the three-point line. Seton Hall used these misses to get out in transition where they met very little resistance and scored with ease.

It isn't a three-point attempt, but it's the best I could find. The point still stands.


If Butler wants to win, they will have to make these shots and prevent Seton Hall from getting easy offense in transition.


On the other side, Seton Hall had their second-best three-point shooting performance in the first game against Butler, shooting 7/16 from three-point range. Seton Hall had just about whatever they wanted in the first game, and while they didn't shoot many threes, they shot them efficiently.

Physicality and Athleticism:


Seton Hall is the much more physical team. Butler gets pushed around, and Seton Hall pushes people around.


In the first matchup, Seton Hall had seemingly everything they wanted around the rim, scoring seemingly every time they wanted to, shooting 22/39 from inside the arc, with Tyrese Samuel seemingly getting whatever he wanted.

Samuel and Richmond were dynamite in this game, combining for 30 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists (all Richmond). Those guys were more physical inside, as Richmond drove past the Butler guards with ease and Samuel was incredibly efficient from the field. Those two were excellent in the pick and roll, and it either resulted in a Samuel bucket or Richmond reading the Butler defense and finding the open man.


On the other end, Seton Hall’s switching defense makes you have to score on them one-on-one. They do an excellent job of switching actions and taking you out of what you want to do offensively. They were able to effectively stop just about everything Butler tried to do, and forced Butler into having their worst effective field goal percentage of the season, at 30.4%.


Seton Hall is the much more physical team, and that really affects Butler on both the offensive and defensive ends.

I wasn't happy here, believe it or not


Defending Without Fouling:


There’s only one team that gets to the free-throw line at a more efficient rate than Providence, and that’s Seton Hall. They attack the paint with reckless abandon and get to the free-throw line at will.


Seton Hall is one spot ahead of Providence in terms of free throw rate, getting to the line on 28.9% of their possessions. They attempt .425 free throws for every field goal, which ranks ninth in the country. Yeah, that stat doesn’t roll off the tongue like "free throw rate," but it illustrates how effectively Seton Hall gets to the line.

However, for as good as they are at getting to the free-throw line, they are not a very good free-throw shooting team. They convert 67.8% of their attempts from the charity stripe, which ranks 282 nationally and dead last in the Big East.


Butler, still, is the best team in the country at defending without fouling. Butler only averages 12.9 fouls per game. In the first matchup, Butler only had 13 fouls, which led to 18 Seton Hall free throws, of which they made 11.


On the other end, with how physically Seton Hall plays, they are prone to foul. They average 17.6 fouls per game, which is the third most in the Big East. Butler doesn’t draw a ton of fouls, but if they can convert these attempts into points, they could keep this game competitive.


Prediction:


Butler lost the first matchup by 25 points. It wasn’t competitive. While I think this one will be closer than 25 points, I can’t imagine Butler winning. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s my view.

Butler’s offense will need to draw a ton of fouls to stay competitive. If they aren’t getting to the rim, which will only be harder against this Seton Hall defense, they can’t score efficiently. Maybe a rocking Hinkle crowd will keep this one close, but not enough for me to take Butler.


Richmond was a matchup nightmare for Butler in matchup one, and I don’t see that changing. Seton Hall is too long and too physical, and that’s something this Butler team has struggled with all season.


This team hasn’t shown me anything lately, it’s hard to say they’re anything but dead. I would love to be wrong and witness a miraculous end to the season, but I just don’t see it. Seton Hall will kill Butler on the glass, and without a +40% performance from beyond the arc, I think Seton Hall will get easy buckets in transition.


I don’t think this game is high scoring at all, but I think Seton Hall does enough to win a tough, grind-it-out game.


Final Score: Seton Hall 68, Butler 54



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