BUTLER (10-3, 0-1 BIG EAST) vs. XAVIER (11-3, 1-0 BIG EAST)
Saturday, January 4, 2 p.m. (ET)
Cintas Center - Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports National (FSN)
Radio: 107.5 FM
FAMILIAR FOE: Butler and Xavier will meet for the first time as BIG EAST opponents, but not for the first time as conference foes, when the Bulldogs travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, for a 2 p.m. (ET) contest on Saturday, Jan. 4. The game at the Cintas Center will be televised on Fox Sports National. Butler and Xavier, located 120 miles apart, competed against each other in two previous conferences, before both joined the BIG EAST this year. The two schools were charter members of the Midwestern City Conference (later renamed the Midwestern Collegiate Conference) and faced each other in that league from 1979 to 1995. Last season, both schools met as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Butler is looking for its first BIG EAST victory, after opening the league season with a 76-73 setback in overtime against #11 Villanova on New Year's Eve. The loss at Hinkle Fieldhouse snapped the Bulldogs' five-game winning streak. Xavier was successful in its BIG EAST debut, posting a 70-60 victory over St. John's at the Cintas Center in the first game of the BIG EAST New Year's Eve Marathon. The Musketeers are 9-0 at home this season. Following the trip to Xavier, Butler will return to Hinkle Fieldhouse to host BIG EAST games against DePaul on Jan. 9, and Georgetown on Jan. 11.
Butler won its last conference meeting with Xavier last March.
BOTH SIDES: Butler head coach Brandon Miller is returning to the place where his career started. After graduating from Butler in 2003, Miller accepted a position as a video intern under head coach Thad Matta at Xavier for the 2003-04 campaign. The Musketeers posted a 26-11 record and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight that season. The next year, Miller followed Matta to Ohio State as the Buckeyes' Director of Basketball Operations.
CONFERENCE OPENER: Butler's BIG EAST debut came up three points short against nationally-ranked Villanova. The Bulldogs held Villanova scoreless for the final 3:28 of regulation play and tied the game at 66-66 on a jump shot by sophomore Kellen Dunham with 0:22 remaining. The visiting Wildcats jumped back in front in the overtime period, before Butler staged another late comeback attempt. Dunham cut the Villanova lead to 74-73 with 0:15 left and the Bulldogs forced a turnover to regain possession. But a missed three-pointer and a Butler turnover led to a pair of free throws by the visitors in the closing seconds.
LATE CHARGE: Sophomore Kellen Dunham led Butler's comeback attempt against Villanova, scoring 15 of Butler's final 20 points in the contest. The 6-6 guard tallied eight of Butler's final 13 points in regulation play, including the shot that tied the game in the final minute, and he scored all seven of Butler's points in the overtime period. Dunham, Butler's leading scorer on the season, scored 18 of his team-high 22 points against Villanova after halftime. A former Indiana High School scoring champ, Dunham has posted four of his top five career scoring performances in Butler's last nine games. He tallied a career-high 32 points against Washington State at the Old Spice Classic in Florida and then returned to Hinkle Fieldhouse with 29 points against North Dakota. The second-year player notched 25 points against Purdue at the Crossroads Classic, before ending 2013 with his 22-point performance against Villanova. Dunham owns six of Butler's top nine single game scoring performances this season.
Kellen Dunham ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in scoring (18.4 ppg).
CAREER NIGHT: Freshman Elijah Brown ignited the Bulldogs in the first half against Villanova and went on finish with a career-best performance. Brown came off the bench and scored 13 points in the opening 20 minutes. He added six points in the second half, including a three-point field goal that gave Butler a 64-63 lead with 5:23 remaining. His 19 points were a career-high and his first double-figures scoring performance since Nov. 29, when he came off the bench with 15 points against #5 Oklahoma State. Brown hit a career-high four three-point field goals and a career-best seven of eight free throws against Villanova. He also pulled down a career-high five rebounds and recorded a career-high three steals in a career-best 26 minutes against the Wildcats.
Elijah Brown had the most points by a Butler freshman since Feb. 21, 2009, when Gordon Hayward scored 27 against Davidson.
PROGRESS CHART: Senior Khyle Marshall, who became the 15th Butler player to reach both 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds during the Bulldogs' Thanksgiving trip to the Old Spice Classic in Florida, moved into 28th place on Butler's all-time scoring list in Butler's game with Villanova. Marshall was limited to just four points against the Wildcats, but he boosted his career scoring total to 1,118 points and moved ahead of Ken Pennington, 1957-60, on the all-time list. The 6-6 forward trails his head coach, Brandon Miller, 2000-03, in the No. 27 spot by just three points. A total of 35 players in Butler basketball history have scored 1,000 career points. Marshall also stands 21st on Butler's all-time rebounding list with 542 career rebounds, six caroms shy of Dave Sanders, 1962-65, in the No 20 position.
HOMECOMING: Junior Alex Barlow will be competing in his home city of Cincinnati for the second straight year and for the first time as one of Butler's lead players. Barlow, who played both basketball and baseball at Moeller High School, has been the starting point-guard in all 13 games for the Bulldogs this season, and he currently leads the team in assists and steals. In his most recent game against nationally-ranked Villanova, he led the Bulldogs in rebounds (9), assists (5) and steals (3), while scoring six points in 43 minutes of action. Barlow has started 36 Butler games since his last visit to the Cintas Center in the fall of 2012. He played 11 minutes that day and scored two points.
Alex Barlow earned honorable mention All-Ohio honors as a senior at Moeller.
•Khyle Marshall scored his 1,000th career point against Washington State and pulled down his 500th career rebound against Oklahoma State at the Old Spice Classic.
•Khyle Marshall has started 54 of Butler's last 55 games. He did not start on Butler's "Senior Day" a year ago.
•Khyle Marshall stands sixth on Butler's all-time list for field goal shooting (.551).
•Kyle Marshall ranks fifth in the BIG EAST Conference in field goal shooting (.569).
•Khyle Marshall stands tenth in the BIG EAST in rebounding (6.4). He's second in the conference in offensive rebounds (3.1).
•Butler is 40-10 all-time when Khyle Marshall scores in double-figures. The Bulldogs are 24-2 in Marshall's last 26 games in twin-digits.
•Khyle Marshall was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll (Dec. 30) after scoring 21 points in Butler's victory over NJIT.
•Khyle Marshall is the only remaining player on Butler's roster who saw action in the Bulldogs' two games at the 2011 Final Four in Houston, Texas.
•Erik Fromm matched his career-high with 36 minutes played against Villanova.
•Erik Fromm came off the bench with six points in 12 minutes against Xavier at the Cintas Center last year.
•Kameron Woods leads the BIG EAST in rebounding (9.5). Woods, who had seven rebounds against Villanova, tops the league in defensive rebounds (7.1), and he's tied for seventh in offensive rebounds (2.5).
•Kameron Woods has averaged 11.0 rebounds over Butler's last four contests. He had a career-high 13 rebounds in Butler's win at Evansville on Dec. 21.
•Kameron Woods stands eighth in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage (.538).
•Kameron Woods is tied for fifth in the BIG EAST in blocked shots (1.3).
•Kameron Woods came off the bench with 15 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots in Butler's last meeting with Xavier.
•Alex Barlow is second in the BIG EAST and 39th in the NCAA Division I in steals (2.2).
•Alex Barlow ranks fourth in the BIG EAST in assist/turnover ratio (2.5). Barlow has 43 assists and 17 turnovers in 13 games.
•Alex Barlow stands 11th in the BIG EAST in assists (3.3).
•Kellen Dunham stands third in the BIG EAST in three-point field goals (2.8).
•Kellen Dunham has hit at least one three-point field goal in his last 14 games and in 40 career games.
•Butler is 31-9 all-time in games in which Kellen Dunham has hit a three-point field goal.
•Kellen Dunham ranks tenth in the BIG EAST in three-point field goal shooting (.425).
•Kellen Dunham stands fourth in the BIG EAST in minutes played (35.5).
•Kellen Dunham led the Bulldogs with 11 points in a reserve role in last year's game with Xavier at the Cintas Center.
•Andrew Chrabascz came off the bench and matched his career-high with seven points against Villanova. He had a career-best two assists in the game.
•The Bulldogs lead the BIG EAST in defensive rebounding percentage (.756). Butler is ranked third in the BIG EAST in rebounding margin (+6.0).
•Butler ranks third in the BIG EAST in scoring defense (63.5) and scoring margin (+11.5). The Bulldogs are second in the league in three-point FG% defense (.293) and third in turnover margin (+2.4).