Northwestern Wildcats vs Butler Bulldogs
A pair of teams coming off 20-win seasons and with high hopes this winter. They’ll gain an early measure on that progress when they meet Wednesday (Enter Contest). Northwestern cruised in its first two contests, while Butler looks to extend its non-conference home winning streak to 30 games at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Wildcats, with three returning starters, rolled over Mississippi Valley State 94-63 in their Friday opener and pulled away from Eastern Washington 86-72 on Monday. A big boost has come from sophomore forward Vic Law, who missed last season with an injury, as he set successive career highs in points with 18 and 26. Butler’s Kelan Martin, who scored 21 points in 26 minutes during an 89-52 season-opening victory over Northern Colorado on Saturday, was a preseason first-team All-Big East choice. The Bulldogs rely significantly on point guard Tyler Lewis, who was 7-for-7 from the field and had 16 points in the opener.
ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (2-0)
The Wildcats have one of the nation’s most effective point guards in Bryant McIntosh (18 points, seven assists against Eastern Washington). The team, which dresses only two seniors, also has Scottie Lindsey (14.5 points) and Isiah Brown (11.0) averaging in double figures. Fourth-year coach Chris Collins shortened his rotation against Eastern Washington as seven players combined to play all but five minutes. Northwestern plays its next three games against NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago in Butler, Texas and Notre Dame or Colorado.
ABOUT BUTLER (1-0)
Lewis and Avery Woodson are fifth-year players and with starters Andrew Chrabascz, Tyler Wideman and Martin have combined for 208 starts. Kamar Baldwin, who had 11 points in the opener, is the only true backup to Lewis while Kethan Savage recovers from pneumonia. The Bulldogs, picked to finish sixth in the Big East, held Northern Colorado to 34.8 shooting from the floor. Butler won the last meeting 65-56 on Dec. 6, 2014 and has won five straight in the series. The Bulldogs play the second of four straight home games to open the season and won’t hit the road until meeting Vanderbilt in Las Vegas on November 24.