Daily Cup of City 6 (12/31/13)

By Sean Kennedy

Despite Brad Stevens moving on to greener pastures with the NBA’s Celtics, Butler is poised to have a big year in the new Big East.

Today’s Action

2:00 PM: Saint Joseph’s (7-4, 0-0 A-10) vs. Binghamton (3-9, 0-0 American East)

The Hawks will look to make it four straight wins heading into 2014 when they host the Binghamton Bearcats in the teams’ first-ever meeting. Binghamton is coming off a win against Bryant, which snapped a stretch of three-straight losses and defeats in 7 of their previous 8 contests for the struggling club. The Bearcats have one of the least effective offenses in the country, shooting just 38.4% from the field this season.

6’4″ sophomore guard Jordan Reed leads the team in scoring averaging 16.4 points and, for the second straight season, recording over 9 boards per game. Reed does much of his damage inside the arc, and attacks the offensive glass, averaging nearly 3 O-boards per game. The Hawks have a number of bigger wings to throw at Reed so I would anticipate their limited his damage in that phase of the game. The most efficient scorer for the Bearcats is 6’9″ freshman Nick Madray, who operates as a stretch four-type, shooting 44.0% from behind the arc. With so many players peaking recently for the Hawks, as long as they don’t look past the Bearcats to the New Year’s festivities, they should ring in 2014 with a 4-game winning streak under their belts.

7:30 PM: Villanova (11-1, 0-0 Big East) @ Butler (10-2, 0-0 Big East) – Fox Sports 1

Before watching the ball drop, why not catch the last City 6 basketball of 2013. Coming off their first loss of the season to Syracuse Saturday, the Wildcats have barely had time to lick their wounds before having to enter their conference schedule against a tough Bulldogs squad. Despite losing coach Brad Stevens to the Boston Celtics, Butler has not missed a beat this season. Their only two losses have come in a 2-point defeat to player of the year candidate Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State, and a 2-point overtime decision to LSU.

Butler has been a stingy defensive team this season, thanks in part to strong perimeter rotations that have limited opponents to just 29.1% shooting from behind the arc (39th in the nation). As we saw against Syracuse, though, sticking behind the arc isn’t necessarily the best course of action for Villanova, and they would be better served getting back to attacking the rim. Defensively, Villanova will have to contend with the Bulldogs trio of Kellen Dunham, Khyle Marshall, and Kameron Woods. The 6’6″ Dunham leads the team in scoring at 18.1 ppg, shooting a high volume of threes at an exceptional 44.7% clip. Forwards Marshall and Woods are both tenacious offensive rebounders, with the 6’6″ Marshall more of a slashing threat offensively, while the 6’9″ rangy Woods is among the nation’s leading windex men at 9.8 rpg. The Wildcats will need to shake off any malaise from their initial taste of defeat and come out strong; in their first season as a member of the Big East, Butler is ready to show it’s top dog.

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