Butlers season likely over after blowout loss to Providence in Big East tournament – Indianapolis Star

Butler\s season likely over after blowout loss to Providence in Big East tournament - Indianapolis Star
Providence vs. Villanova Prediction, Preview, and Odds – 3-14-2019
So now the waiting begins for the Butler Bulldogs. And its not like they are wondering about the NCAA basketball tournament, either.

Not after losing to Providence 80-57 Wednesday night in the Big East tournament at New York. Not after five losses in six games and nine in 13.

Share Share How to watch Villanova vs. Providence tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Providence was downright dominant in their Wednesday night victory over Butler, and theyll get the reward of #1 seed Villanova on short rest. While Nova did the double over the Friars during the regular season, both games were odd in nature.

The National Invitation Tournament is a possibility. The College Basketball Invitational is not because Butler has already decided to decline that. This would be just the fourth time in 23 years Butler has not played in the postseason.

Madison Square Garden has been a tough venue for the Bulldogs, who are 1-6 in six Big East tournaments. Providence has been tough on them, too, sweeping Butler 3-0 for the second time in four years. In a 16-day span, the Friars led Butler by 14 at Indianapolis, by 28 at Providence, by 26 at New York.

What will Thursdays matinee hold? Villanova is playing for NCAA Tournament seeding, while the Friars need to take home the Big East Tournament trophy if they are going to go dancing next week.

I think our length played a major factor against Butler all season, Providence coach Ed Cooley said.

At 16-16, Butler is an iffy candidate for the NIT. For one thing, the Bulldogs will be pitted against other Big East teams that dont make the NCAA field. And they did tie for last place.

Also, the NIT is not that easy for a power conference team to make because slots are guaranteed to mid-major champions that dont win league tournaments.

This group could use more games because it returns largely intact. The Bulldogs lose seniors Paul Jorgensen and Nate Fowler, and they add transfer Bryce Nze, redshirt Markeese Hastings and recruits Khalif Battle and John-Michael Mulloy.

For our two seniors, in that locker room, theres a group of guys that care about each other, love each other, that wanted like crazy to advance and continue to fight for Butler, Jordan said. It just didnt happen.

Butler lost an early 10-point lead but was heading for halftime in good shape until White scored 11 successive points for Providence in the closing 3 minutes. The Friars 25-23 lead suddenly became 38-27.

And never stopped. After going 2-of-12 from the field, the Friars shot 27-of-40 thereafter, or 67.5 percent. Butler once led 17-7, then was outscored 73-40.

The Friars had been perhaps the worst 3-point shooting team in the Big East. They were 11-of-19 from the arc against Butler on Saturday and 11-of-23 Wednesday.

White scored 19 points, Alpha Diallo 18, David Duke 16 and Isaiah Jackson 13. It did not matter that freshman A.J. Reeves, who scored 24 Saturday, was limited to three.

No. 9 seed Providence (18-14) advanced into a noon quarterfinal Thursday to play No. 1 seed Villanova (22-9) in a rematch of last years championship game.

Kamar Baldwin got in foul trouble and was limited to eight points, his lowest output since scoring six in a Dec. 1 loss at Saint Louis. That gave him 1,442 points, passing Bobby Plump (1954-58) for 16th on Butlers all-time list.

Hes one of the best players in our league, Cooley said. Were going to have to deal with him another year.

Butlers top three scorers for the season – Baldwin, Paul Jorgensen and Sean McDermott – totaled 15 points, or 24 below their collective average. McDermott went 2-of-18 from the 3-point line over the past five games.  He was called for a flagrant foul on a hook-and-hold ruling late in the game.

Now the Bulldogs might have an offseason to ponder what adjustments are needed to return to the NCAA tournament.

Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at david.woods@indystar.com or call 317-444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007. 

BUTLER (16-16): McDermott 0-3 0-0 0, Fowler 2-5 1-2 6, Jorgensen 3-10 0-0 7, Baldwin 4-10 0-0 8, Thompson 5-5 1-3 12, Golden 1-2 0-0 2, Tucker 5-11 0-0 14, David 1-2 0-0 2, Brunk 2-4 2-2 6, Donovan 0-1 0-0 0, Baddley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-53 4-7 57.

PROVIDENCE (18-14): Watson 2-5 0-0 4, Duke 6-8 2-2 16, Diallo 7-13 2-3 18, Reeves 1-3 0-0 3, White 8-11 0-1 19, Young 1-2 2-5 4, Nichols 0-0 1-2 1, Monroe 0-0 0-0 0, Fonts 1-1 0-0 2, Edwards 0-1 0-0 0, Jackson 3-6 4-4 13, Ashton-Langford 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 29-52 11-17 80.

Halftime—Providence 38-27. 3-Point Goals—Butler 7-21 (Tucker 4-7, Thompson 1-1, Fowler 1-2, Jorgensen 1-5, David 0-1, Donovan 0-1, McDermott 0-1, Baldwin 0-3), Providence 11-23 (Jackson 3-5, White 3-6, Duke 2-3, Diallo 2-3, Reeves 1-3, Young 0-1, Edwards 0-1, Ashton-Langford 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Butler 23 (Fowler 5), Providence 31 (Diallo 8). Assists—Butler 15 (Thompson 6), Providence 15 (White 5). Total Fouls—Butler 19, Providence 9.

The #1 seed Villanova Wildcats will clash with the #8 seed Providence Friars in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament Thursday afternoon from Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats won the Big East with a 13-5 conference record paired with a 22-9 regular season record, and the Friars posted a 17-14 record with a 7-11 mark in Big East play. Villanova defeated Providence in both meetings this season, winning 65-59, and 85-67.

The Providence Friars enter this one confident after cruising to a dominating 80-57 win against Butler in the first round of the Big East Tournament on Wednesday night. The Friars were able to shoot a sizzling 55% while limiting Butler to a 43% clip. Friars leading scorer Alpha Diallo came through with a stellar performance, sinking 18 points on 7 for 13 shooting. The junior guard has reached 20 points four times in conference play, and he is averaging 16.2 PPG and 8.2 RPG on the season. Diallo scored a combined 21 points on 8 for 20 shooting in two games against Villanova this season.

Isaiah Jackson is locked in, shooting at least 50% in three consecutive games which included 13 points on a 3 for 5 mark from the field in Wednesdays first-round win. The senior guard stands third in team scoring with 9.7 PPG on 40% shooting.

The Friars are currently ranked at 80th in the country in Ken Pomeroys college basketball rankings, and they are not currently projected to reach the NCAA Tournament if they don’t win the Big East tourney according to ESPNs Bracketology. Providence has won three out of their last four games overall. They are currently averaging 71.7 points on the season, ranking them 205th. The Friars are allowing an average of 69.3 points, positioning them 129th in the country.

The #25 Villanova Wildcats will be seeking their third win over the Friars this season. The Wildcats needed a loss from Marquette on Saturday to clinch the regular season Big East title. Villanova dropped a 79-75 road decision to Seton Hall in their season finale, and they have lost four out of their last six games overall. Wildcats top scorer Phil Booth closed the season with two solid performances, connecting on 15 of 25 field goal attempts for a combined 44 points in his last two games. The senior guard consistently produced this season, and he is sporting an average of 18.6 PPG on 43% shooting. Booth scored 23 and 22 points respectively in two games against the Friars this season.

Eric Pashcall led the Wildcats in rebounding this season with an average of 6.1 RPG. The senior forward only averaged 10 points over his last three games, and he is posting 16.5 PPG on a 45.2% field goal percentage.

The Wildcats are currently projected as a #6 seed for the NCAA Tournament in ESPNs latest version of Bracketology, and they dropped two spots to 25th in the country in the latest AP Top 25. Villanova scored 75 points in each of their last two games, and they are averaging 74.6 points on the season, ranking them 121st in the country. The Wildcats are holding opponents to 67.1 points, placing them 61st overall.

I am taking the points with Providence in this contest. Providence is playing with confidence, and they have won three out of their last four games with sharp play in both ends of the court. They have scored at least 80 points in back-to-back games, and defensively they have limited their opponents to an average of 66 points in their last four games.

Furthermore, Villanova did not play well down the final stretch of the season, winning only two out of their last six games. The Wildcats are very inconsistent offensively, and they only averaged 68 points in their final six games.

I am going with the under in this clash. Providence continues to play outstanding defense, and they have limited their last three opponents to a field goal percentage below 44%, plus the under is 6-1-1 in their last 8 games against a team with a winning percentage below .600.

In addition, Villanovas defense is their greatest team strength, and they held the Friars to only 59 and 67 points respectively in their two meetings this season, plus the under is 7-3 in the Wildcats’ last 10 games overall.

The under on the Villanova team total is a strong option. The Friars defense has been a strength recently, and they just limited Butler to 57 points in Wednesday nights first-round victory. As mentioned, Villanova hasnt been reliable from an offensive perspective this season, and they are only shooting 44.4% as a team.

I am sticking with Providence on the halftime line. Villanova hasnt fared well from an offensive standpoint in the first half recently, averaging only 31 points in their last three games. Also, the Friars have only allowed an average of 26.3 points in the opening half in their last three contests.

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about about various sports as well as personal finance. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.

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