Butler Bulldogs at Providence Friars

No. 6 Butler Bulldogs Preview

The Butler Bulldogs return after a five-day break sitting at No. 6 in the Associated Press poll, which is the best ranking in program history. Butler is on a five-game winning streak that followed its only loss of the season — a 53-52 squeaker at now-No. 4 Baylor, a result that is hardly a black mark on the Bulldogs’ resume. Butler gets it done on both ends of the court, but especially on defense, with a unit that ranks fourth nationally by allowing 54.1 points per game.

The Bulldogs, who held conference foes Creighton and St. John’s to 8-of-44 shooting from 3-point land, want to slow it down offense. They are led by senior guard Kamar Baldwin, who is averaging 14.7 points.

Providence Friars Preview

After a stretch of five losses in seven games — including consecutive losses to Penn, Long Beach State and Charleston — the Providence Friars have regrouped and come in hot. Looking like the NCAA Tournament team most expected it to be, Providence has ripped off four consecutive wins and sits atop the Big East with a 3-0 record.

The Friars are coming off an 81-80 overtime thriller at Marquette on Tuesday, their second consecutive one-point win, the other being at DePaul. Senior wing Alpha Diallo is a stat-stuffer who is averaging 13.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game, although he’s made only 12 of 50 3-point tries.