1 Louisville, 2 Kansas, and 4 Maryland will be in action, but the biggest matchup in college basketball tonight will feature the 18 Butler Bulldogs and the 11 Baylor Bears. Although neither have cracked the top ten this season, both have proven themselves to be teams on the rise to this point in the season.
Butler (9-0) is one of the eight teams that remain undefeated and is riding high after their fourteen-point win over Florida last Saturday. The Bulldogs are led by senior guard Kamar Baldwin (16.6 points per game). However, Butler is not a one man show on offense. Two more more Bulldogs, Bryce Nze and Sean McDermott, have double-figure scoring averages. These three scorers along with point guard Aaron Thompson (6.1 assists per game) give Butler a balanced offensive attack that opposing defenses have found difficult to shut down.
Like Butler, Baylor features a balanced offense but has two players who score on par with Baldwin: Jared Butler (18.6) and MaCio Teague (15.4). What distinguishes Baylor, though, is their aggressive play on defense. The Bears average 9.3 steals per game and 4.8 blocks. To say the least, Baylor poses a challenge on both ends of the court.
Baylor’s wins over Villanova and Arizona have solidified them as one of the best one-loss teams in college basketball. Butler, in contrast, has yet to receive fully the respect that their undefeated record commands.
Tonight, one thing is sure—either Butler will retain its spot among the unbeaten or Baylor will pick up its third win over a ranked team.
This should be a good one.