No. 17 Purdue has won six straight games overall and 13 consecutive in the month of December. Butler, the last team to defeat the Boilermakers in December, will try for its sixth straight win overall and against Purdue on Saturday in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Four of the Bulldogs’ five consecutive wins against Purdue have been at Bankers Life with three coming in the Crossroads Classic. Butler, under first-year coach LaVall Jordan - a two-time all-conference performer when he played for Butler in 1998-2001 - last loss in the Phil Knight Invitational to Texas on Nov. 23. In its most recent outing on Dec. 9, sophomore guard Kamar Baldwin scored a season-high 19 points and Butler shot a season-high 58.5 percent in a 95-67 win over Youngstown State. Purdue beat IUPUI 86-61 last Sunday behind a career-high 27 points from Carsen Edwards, 14 from Isaac Haas as well as 12 points and 12 rebounds from Vincent Edwards, as the Boilermakers won a sixth straight contest - five of which have come against teams ranked in KenPom.com’s top 100.
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ABOUT BUTLER (8-2): During the five-game winning streak, 6-6 senior forward Kelan Martin is averaging 20.8 points and 8.2 rebounds, while junior guard Paul Jorgensen is averaging 13.2 points and connecting on 16-of-30 shot beyond the arc. Martin (17.6 points, 7.7 rebounds) and Jorgensen (10.5 points) are joined in double-figure scoring by Baldwin (13.4 points) with senior forward Tyler Wideman averaging 9.8 points on 71.4 percent shooting - tied for first in the Big East. Butler has always been known for defense, and the Bulldogs have not allowed an opponent to shoot over 46 percent in any of the past seven games - four shooting 40 percent or worse.
ABOUT PURDUE (10-2): The Boilermakers are one of the top offensive teams in the country, averaging 85.9 points on 49.8 percent shooting from the floor and 76.2 percent from the line. Carsen Edwards is averaging 17 points per game, Isaac Haas chips in 15.1 points and 5.4 rebounds, while Dakota Mathias contributes 13.8 points and 4.6 assists and Vincent Edwards adds 13.5 points and 9.2 rebounds. Reserve guard Ryan Cline has shot a combined 10-of-16 from the field in the last three games, including 8-of-12 beyond the arc after starting the season 4-of-23.
1. Purdue leads the all-time series 37-19.
2. In his most recent outing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Martin had 28 points, including five 3-pointers, in an 83-78 win over Indiana in the 2016 Crossroads Classic.
3. Purdue is looking for its second straight win in the event and first against Butler since Dec. 19, 1998. The Boilermakers defeated No. 21 Notre Dame last year 86-81, overcoming a 19-point deficit to win.
PREDICTION: Purdue 74, Butler 67