The Tip-Off

• Butler, the No. 8 seed, opens the 2024 BIG EAST Tournament Wednesday with a first round match-up with No. 9 seed Xavier.

• Both Butler and Xavier joined the conference prior to the 2013-14 season; this marks the fifth time that the two teams will meet in the BIG EAST Tournament.

• Butler is 3-9 all-time in the BIG EAST Tournament, with two of those victories coming against Xavier.

• Butler and Xavier split the two 2023-24 regular season match-ups with each winning on their home court.

Butler (18-13, No. 8 Seed) vs. Xavier (15-16, No. 9 Seed)

2024 BIG EAST Tournament First Round

Wednesday, March 13;  4PM

Madison Square Garden; New York City

TV: FS1 – Tim Brando & Bill Raftery

Radio: WXNT 1430AM, Varsity Network Radio App, SiriusXM 138 or 201, SXM App 964 – @MarkMinner & Nick Gardner (@n_gardner)

The Series with the Musketeers

• Butler has been part of BIG EAST Tournaments since 2014; the Bulldogs have faced Xavier in four of those prior tournaments.

• Butler captured wins over Xavier in both 2021 and 2022 (both in the first round and both in overtime); Xavier won match-ups in the quarterfinals of the 2015 and 2017 tournaments.

• The first meeting between Butler and Xavier came in 1937.

• The two programs have been rivals in three different conferences: the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, the Atlantic 10 for a single season in 2012-13, and in the BIG EAST since the 2013-14 campaign when both programs, along with Creighton, joined the league.

Series:  Xavier Leads, 47-27

Streak: Butler, W1

Neutral Court: Xavier Leads, 4-3

First Meeting: XU, 28-26; 1/16/1937 (at XU)

Last Meeting: BU, 72-66; 3/6/24 (at BU)

Connection Points

• Thad Matta served as the head coach at Xavier for three seasons (2001-04) following his initial season as the head coach at Butler. Sean Miller was on his Xavier staff and took over the program when Matta left for Ohio State in 2004.

• Matta and Miller were both assistants on the coaching staff at Miami (Ohio) for the 1996-97 season.

• Both Matta and Miller are in their second head coaching stint at their respective school.

Second Time Around

• Butler came away with a 72-66 win over Xavier March 6 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in the Bulldogs’ final game of the regular season.

• Butler’s 17-0 run gave the Bulldogs a 20-4 advantage with 14:52 remaining in the first half. At that point in the contest, Butler had hit eight of 10 attempts from the field.

• Butler never relinquished the lead after that initial run, but had to endure a scoreless drought that began with 4:46 remaining in the first half and didn’t end until the 13:29 mark of the second half.

• Four Bulldogs found double figures, led by Jahmyl Telfort at 18 points. Alexander (16), Pierre Brooks II (14) and DJ Davis (11) joined him. Alexander added six assists, four assists and four steals.

• Butler shot only 41 percent for the game, but committed only nine turnovers.

• Xavier’s top three scorers – Desmond Claude, Quincy Olivari and Dayvion McKnight – were held to combined 16-for-43 shooting and a total of two three-pointers.

• Xavier shot 37 percent from the field and had only five assists, while committing 15 turnovers.

• The teams combined to make 24 of 25 free throw attempts.

First Time Around

• In a game that featured huge swings of momentum and scoring runs back and forth, Xavier was able to post an 85-71 win over Butler Jan. 16 at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

• The Musketeers held their largest lead of the game at 46-27 in the closing minutes of the first half and an eventual 46-32 halftime advantage.

• The Bulldogs would fight all the way back. A 20-3 Butler run capped by 11 straight points from Posh Alexander (nine on three-pointers) gave the Bulldogs a 60-58 lead with 11:01 remaining in the game.

• Xavier would respond with the next 13 points to take control of the game at 71-60.

• Desmond Claude (26) and Dayvion McKnight (20) paced the Musketeers, who also got 15 points from Quincy Olivari.

• Pierre Brooks II led Butler with 22 points, while Alexander added 21.

Of Note

• Butler’s 15 NCAA NET ranking Quad 1 games this season are tied for third nationally (Baylor and Houston are the nation’s leaders at 17 and 16, respectively; through the games of Sunday, March 10).

• Butler’s NCAA NET strength of schedule is No. 11 nationally, while KenPom ranks the Bulldogs’ schedule as the nation’s 13th-toughest slate (through the games of Sunday, March 10).

• Butler has committed a total of only 15 turnovers over the last two games. The Bulldogs have 16 games this season with 10 or fewer turnovers; the Bulldogs are also 13-5 this season when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent.

• Butler made 12 of its 13 attempts from the free throw line in the regular season finale against Xavier. On the season, Butler ranks seventh nationally in free throw shooting at 79.2 percent. Butler has shot 70 percent or better from the line in all but one game.

• DJ Davis ranks No. 1 nationally in free throw percentage at 96.8 percent; he has made 57 of 58 free throw attempts in BIG EAST play.

• Butler had a season-high eight blocks in the regular season finale win over Xavier. Jalen Thomas matched his season-high with three blocks, while Posh Alexander had his first two blocks of the season, which also matched his career-high.

• Butler’s defense has back-to-back games of forcing an individual opponent into six turnovers: Xavier’s Desmond Claude and DePaul’s Chico Carter Jr.

• Butler’s defense limited Xavier to only five assists in the regular season finale, a season-low for a Butler opponent.

• Butler handed out 24 assists (one shy of the team’s season-high) in the March 2 road win at DePaul. Alexander handed out nine of those, matching his second-highest total of the season.

• Butler shot 50 percent from the field against the Blue Demons March 2. The Bulldogs are 9-1 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field and a perfect 16-0 when shooting a better percentage than their opponent.

• With four steals against Xavier, Alexander now has 67 steals this season, which is tied for fourth on Butler’s single-season list. Alexander leads the BIG EAST and is 21st nationally at 2.23 steals per game.

• Finley Bizjack was selected to the 2023-24 BIG EAST All-Freshman Team.

• Butler’s typical starting five has each led the team in both scoring and rebounding in the same game at least once this season (Davis, Thomas and Jahmyl Telfort have each done it twice).

• Butler’s offense put up 82 points at DePaul March 2. Butler has 13 games this season scoring 80 points or more (including seven games of 90 or more).

• The Bulldogs commit just 13.8 fouls per game, which ranks 12th nationally.

• Alexander is sixth in the conference and 55th nationally at 4.9 assists per game.

• Thomas ranks seventh in the BIG EAST in blocks (1.19 per game) and 15th in rebounding (6.1 per game).

• Telfort is fourth in the BIG EAST in minutes per game (34:48).

Home, Sweet Hinkle

• Butler is 12-5 at Hinkle Fieldhouse so far this season.

• Thad Matta is 35-12 at Hinkle Fieldhouse as the head coach at Butler (2000-01 and his current stint that began prior to the 2022-23 season).

• Butler has scored at least 80 points in eight of its home games this season (going over the 90-point mark five times).

• Butler is 77-2 over its last 79 non-conference home games, winning 15 straight.

Balancing Act

• Four different Bulldogs (Brooks, Alexander, Davis, Telfort) have multiple 20-point scoring performances this season.

• Butler has had multiple players post 20 or more in the same game four times this season.

• Ten different Bulldogs have scored in double figures in at least one game so far this season.

• Butler’s balanced attack has seen at least five players score in double figures in the same game seven times this season, including most recently in the Jan. 23 win at Georgetown.