Butler landed their biggest win of the season on Saturday, as they broke the century mark against No. 1 Villanova, winning 101-93. The Bulldogs have now beaten Villanova all three times that they have played in the 2017 calendar year. Kelan Martin led the way with 24 points for Butler, who shot 60 percent from the floor and 15-for-22 from beyond the arc. As a team, Butler posted 1.40 points-per-possession against a team that entered the day as a top ten team according to KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric.
I’m not sure how else I can explain this. It was a ridiculous performance from a Butler team, the first marquee win for them this season and the first statement win for LaVall Jordan as the head coach of the Bulldogs. When it comes down to it, this could end up being the difference between a bid to the NCAA tournament and a trip to the NIT.
And all of that came after the Bulldogs erased a 20-point deficit in the second half of their Big East opener, on the road against Georgetown.
It was a loud and impressive start to Big East play for Jordan.
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
- ALABAMA: It came against a shorthanded No. 5 Texas A&M, but Alabama landed themselves a marquee win, blowing out the Aggies, 79-57. That win is going to look great on their résumé come Selection Sunday. It shouldn’t hurt Texas A&M all that much, however. The Aggies were without leading scorer D.J. Hogg and off-guard Admon Gilder, two of their three leading scorers and their two best three-point shooters.
- TEXAS TECH: It was a loud and resounding start to Big 12 play for Chris Beard’s club. They demolished No. 18 Baylor, 77-53, in a game that never seemed like it was actually a game. Might the Red Raiders be the second-best team in the conference?
- SETON HALL: The Pirates started out Big East play with a pair of wins, landing a come-from-behind win over No. 25 Creighton in their opener before surviving a dogfight against tri-state area rival St. John’s on New Year’s Eve.
- KENTUCKY: The Wildcats not only won their SEC opener over a scrappy Georgia team, but they also managed to absolutely embarrass their archrivals, beating Louisville by 29 points in a game that never seemed like it was competitive after the first 10 minutes.