Battle for Indiana: Butler vs. Indiana Preview and Predictions

Eric SmithCorrespondent IIINovember 26, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 19:  Christian Watford #2 of the Indiana Hoosiers shoots the ball during the game against the Savannah State Tigers at Assembly Hall on November 19, 2011 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tomorrow will be this season's toughest matchup yet for the Indiana Hoosiers (5-0). We will see if this Hoosiers team—one that has won their first five games of the season by over 20 points in each game—is legit.

The Butler Bulldogs (3-2), who have taken their Cinderella story into a real college powerhouse over the last two seasons where they were the national runner-ups, travel to Bloomington and take on the Hoosiers.

These two teams are arguably the best two programs in Indiana right now and enter this game going in two different directions.

Butler lost their best player, Gordon Hayward, to the NBA draft following their first NCAA Championship game appearance, and lost their two best players in Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard from last year's team to graduation and the NBA draft.

The Bulldogs are young, but still have some experienced players back from last year with point guard Ronald Nored, shooting guard Chase Stigall and center Andrew Smith.

Butler struggles at times on offense, but they still play the "Butler Way"—by defending strong and out-hustling you.

Indiana, on the other hand, is coming out of the rebuilding era and showing that they are a force. They play with a little more finesse and talent than Butler, but have the same demeanor. Indiana tries to get a hand on every ball and at least one player is on the floor on every loose ball.

This matchup will be physical, and I don't think the Hoosiers will extend their 20-plus point victory-margin streak.

This game will be the final game of the Hoosier Invitational, in which each team has played a round robin of three teams and—if you add both playing at Evansville—they have each played a rare four common opponents in their first five games.

Butler is 3-1 in those games, while Indiana is 4-0 with a victory margin of +85 over those same opponents.


Starting Lineups

Butler (3-2)

G 5 Ronald Nored 6'0 177 lb Sr. 5.2 PPG

G 20 Chrishawn Hopkins 6'1 161 lb. So. 12.0 PPG

G 33 Chase Stigall 6'3 197 lb. Jr. 9.2 PPG

F 23 Khyle Marshall 6'6 212 lb. So. 8.8 PPG

C 44 Andrew Smith 6'11 240 lb. Jr. 12.6 PPG

Indiana (5-0)

G 1 Jordan Hulls 6'0 181 lb Jr. 8.8 PPG

G 12 Verdell Jones III 6'5 195 lb. Sr. 10.8 PPG

G 4 Victor Oladipo 6'5 214 lb. So. 12.8 PPG

F 2 Christian Watford 6'9 225 lb. Jr. 10.2 PPG

C 40 Cody Zeller 6'11 230 lb. Fr. 14.6 PPG