2013 Crossroads Classic Purdue vs. Butler Preview, TV, Time, Odds, & More

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue and Butler play in game 2 of the Crossroads Classic on Saturday.

I am getting to this a little early, but tomorrow is a busy day with a holiday party at the day job, so I may not get a chance to get to the preview before then. Saturday evening in Indianapolis our Boilers take the floor for their fourth and final neutral site game of the regular season. It comes in one of the best in-season events you will see, as we take on Butler in the 2013 Crossroads Classic.

I am a huge fan of this event. I love that it brings together the state's four major programs for two games in a venue designed perfectly for basketball. Purdue and Notre Dame have both been to Final Fours. Indiana has its history. Butler brings its recent rise from mid-major to high major in the Big East and reigning title of Best Team in the State.

Lest people want to argue, Butler is the state's premier program right now when it comes to basketball. They have had that honor for a few years after making consecutive national championship games. Success in March is valued over everything in this sport, and Butler has had more success in March since 2000 than any other program in the state. Here is how the four programs stack up against each other this century:

Indiana Major Programs Since 2000

Butler Purdue Indiana Notre Dame
NCAA appearances 9 8 9 9
Sweet 16 appearances 4 3 3 1
Elite 8 appearances 2 1 1 0
Final Fours 2 0 1 0
Conference titles 9 1 2 0
Conference tournament titles 5 1 0 0

The Bulldogs get it done. There is nothing else to say. They have actually grown beyond their mid-major roots to become one of the jewels of the new Big East once conference realignment settled down a little. Even head-to-head against the other three programs Butler has more than held its own. The Bulldogs have won three straight vs. Purdue and took down No. 1 Indiana last season. They are undefeated in the Crossroads Classic all-time at 2-0.

Projected Starters

Purdue Boilermakers (8-2)

Butler Bulldogs (7-2)

Terone Johnson - Sr.

Kellen Dunham - So.

Ronnie Johnson - So.

Alex Barlow - Jr.

Kendall Stephens - Fr.

Kameron Woods - Jr.

Basil Smotherman - Fr.

Khyle Marshall - Sr.

Jay Simpson - Fr.

Erik Fromm - Sr.

Series with Purdue:

Purdue leads 37-16 (our most played non-conference series

Last Purdue win:

12/19/1998 at Butler 63-54

Last Butler win:

12/17/2011 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse 67-65

Odds:

no line yet

Blog Representation:

Victory Firelight

Location:

Indianapolis, Indiana

Best Postseason Result:

National runner-up in 2010 and 2011, 19-12 in 12 NCAA appearances

2012-13 record:

27-9, Made NCAA round of 32

Coach:

Brandon Miller (7-2 all-time and at Butler)

RPI:

55

Time:

6pm

TV:

Big Ten Network

Radio:

Purdue Radio Network

Streaming Audio:

TuneIn.com


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Kellen Dunham 9 35.1 5.8 13.4 43.0 3.1 6.6 47.5 4.0 5.0 80.0 0.6 3.6 4.1 2.0 2.0 0.7 0.1 0.8 18.7
Khyle Marshall 9 28.4 7.2 12.9 56.0 0.0 0.4 0.0 2.6 4.8 53.5 3.4 3.1 6.6 0.9 1.0 1.0 0.6 2.0 17.0
Kameron Woods 9 31.8 3.9 6.9 56.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.6 4.1 62.2 2.3 6.6 8.9 1.8 1.8 1.1 1.3 1.7 10.3
Elijah Brown 8 17.8 2.6 6.6 39.6 1.1 3.6 31.0 1.3 1.6 76.9 0.1 2.4 2.5 1.3 1.3 0.3 0.3 1.9 7.6
Erik Fromm 9 22.0 2.2 6.8 32.8 0.7 3.2 20.7 1.3 1.4 92.3 1.3 1.8 3.1 0.3 1.1 0.6 0.4 2.1 6.4
Alex Barlow 9 26.9 1.9 4.2 44.7 1.0 2.0 50.0 0.8 1.0 77.8 0.1 3.0 3.1 3.3 0.8 1.9 0.3 3.2 5.6
Rene Castro 6 6.8 1.5 2.8 52.9 0.5 0.8 60.0 0.5 1.2 42.9 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.0 0.7 4.0
Michael Volovic 2 3.5 1.0 2.0 50.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 1.0 1.5 66.7 0.0 1.0 1.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.0
Steven Bennett 1 5.0 1.0 1.0 100.0 1.0 1.0 100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 3.0
Jackson Aldridge 9 11.3 0.9 2.7 33.3 0.6 1.3 41.7 0.1 0.7 16.7 0.1 0.7 0.8 0.7 0.2 0.2 0.0 1.1 2.4
Andrew Chrabascz 9 14.6 0.7 1.6 42.9 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.0 1.1 90.0 1.7 1.6 3.2 0.3 0.3 0.6 0.2 1.9 2.3
Devontae Morgan 8 9.1 0.9 2.1 41.2 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.5 1.1 44.4 0.3 1.0 1.3 0.6 0.4 0.5 0.1 2.1 2.3
Nolan Berry 8 5.4 0.9 1.6 53.8 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.3 0.3 100.0 0.4 1.1 1.5 0.3 0.4 0.0 0.1 0.5 2.0
Elliott Kampen 2 4.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0


This year's game with Purdue should be another good one. As we remember, Purdue had a big second half lead two seasons ago before completely falling apart and losing 67-65. That was the only Butler team since 2007 to miss the NCAA Tournament, but Purdue lead 46-35 at halftime and pushed the lead close to 20 in the second half before coming apart just as it did against Xavier a few weeks earlier.

This Butler team is far better, and will have a partisan crowd on their side as Indiana fans who stay around after the Indiana-Notre Dame game will undoubtedly back the Bulldogs for an evening. So far Butler has lost only twice, both in Orlando at the Old Spice Classic. Free throw shooting was their undoing in a loss to Oklahoma State, as Khyle Marshall missed a pair that would have given them the lead with 8.4 seconds left. In the third place game LSU topped them in overtime 70-68.

This is your typical Butler team of extremely smart, fundamentally sound players that rarely make mistakes. That's probably why they are my secret guilty pleasure team, as I love watching them play and I even try to go up the road a few miles from my home to take in a game at Hinkle every season. Kellen Dunham is the latest Indiana shooter that Butler always seems to have. I saw him play in high school a few times and I am not exaggerating when I say that if he can see the rim, he can hit it. In the 2011 Marion Regional for Pendleton Heights, he combined for over 70 points in two games, a 58-53 win over Bryson Scott and Ft. Wayne Northrop in the morning game and a 58-55 double overtime loss to Kokomo in the night game. I was at the night game and it was actually his fault they lost despite his scoring, as he missed a critical free throw with less than 10 seconds left in the first overtime that allowed Kokomo to come down and tie it with a three.

It was a rare miss. He finished his career with 1,899 points at Pendleton Heights and would have been a 2,000 point scorer like Scott with a little more postseason luck. Last season he was an 86% free throw shooter too, but this season he is averaging 18.7 points per game while shooting 80% from the line, 43% from the field, and 47.5% from three. He is 28 of 59 on the season from three and their leader by far in that category.

Fortunately, we have players that have played him before. As mentioned, Bryson Scott faced him in the 2011 regional. Basil Smotherman played against him in 2012 when Pendleton Heights beat Lawrence North 56-50. That year he also got a win against Ronnie Johnson and North Central 61-56 at North Central. That was RJ's second game vs. Dunham, as they also met in 2011 (a 54-45 North Central victory). The kid led Pendleton Heights to a 73-24 record over four seasons and three straight sectional titles.

Butler is more than Dunham, however. They have good size with Khyle Marshall, Erik Fromm, and Kameron Woods giving them a formidable front court. Then you have Alex Barlow running the point. The former walk-on who slayed Indiana last season averages 3.3 assists per game and his scoring is up to 5.6 points per game. Off the bench Jackson Aldridge and Andrew Chrabascz provide some good minutes, but this relies heavily on its starters plus Elijah Brown.

Butler isn't going to bomb away from deep like the Butler teams of old. This is a more physical team that will challenge A.J. Hammons and Jay Simpson in the post. This is where a player like Errick Peck can have a big game just by doing the little things, like rebounding and setting screens. Marshall and Woods are smart players that work very well near the basket. Both are shooting over 56% from the field.

Both Purdue and Butler are pretty evenly matched, so I expect a close, hard-fought game. Both teams would love to have the other as a win on their NCAA profiles, but Purdue likely needs it more. Butler already has a couple decent wins over Vanderbilt and Washington State, while Purdue has only a sub-.500 Boston College as its best win. Given their recent national profile Butler is also a "name" win. They have gone from, "well, a Big Ten team should beat a mid-major" to "whoa, Butler is pretty good."

The game will be decided with the effort of Hammons, Peck, and Simpson against Marshall, Woods, and Fromm. Purdue also needs to not lose Dunham, because he is a shooter that needs only a split second of space to nail a look. If Purdue can send multiple guys at him defensively like it did against Steph Curry and Davidson a few years ago it will help out a lot.

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