INDIANAPOLIS — After coming off back-to-back road wins over No. 2 Villanova and Xavier, the Butler basketball team took a couple days off before getting ready for Saturday’s game with Seton Hall.
“Whenever you are playing well, you’d like to keep playing,” Butler coach Chris Holtmann said. “I’ve always said that, you’d like to stay in that rhythm.”
But a break can help, too. Following the last seven-day break, Holtmann said Butler came out and beat host Marquette 68-65. After losing on the road to Providence in the next outing, the Bulldogs have won four in a row.
“We’re playing a really good Seton Hall team that is hot as anyone in our league,” Holtmann said. “We’ll need to play well on Senior Day. But I think having a chance to get a little more rest is a good thing.”
The No. 13 Bulldogs (23-6, 12-5 Big East) will face Seton Hall (19-10, 9-8) at 2:30 p.m. ET in the Big East regular-season finale at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Pirates have won six of the last eight games. Despite shooting 35.2 percent, Butler topped Seton Hall 61-54 on Jan. 25.
“Both teams struggled offensively,” Holtmann said. “They’re really tough defensively. They’re physical. They’re tough-minded. They’re a solid team, well-coached. Hopefully, we can be a little better offensively. I’m sure they will be better offensively. They just missed some shots they normally make.”
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard is proud of how the team has turned things around in the second half of Big East play.
“When we were 3-6 (in the Big East) people had given us our last rites and this team has found a way to get to be 9-8,” Willard said.
Pirates senior guard Madison Jones said the Pirates have put themselves into position to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Of course, beating Butler would be a step in the right director.
Junior guard Khadeen Carrington averages a team-high 17.0 points for the Pirates, followed by junior forward Desi Rodriguez at 16.0 points and junior forward Angel Delgado at 15.6.
Butler junior forward Kelan Martin has pulled himself out of a midseason slump, averaging 20 points and eight rebounds in the past four games. He is averaging a team-high 16.0 points.
“Kelan is doing some really good things for us,” Holtmann said. “He’s impacted the game and been more efficient offensively, which is our challenge for him. It’s what he’s got to continue to do. That’s the sign of good players is their efficiency. He’s really been efficient of late and that’s been beneficial to our team.”
This will be the final home game for six Butler seniors, including forward Andrew Chrabascz, who has started 99 of his 123 games with the Bulldogs. He is averaging 11.3 points and 4.6 rebounds.
Holtmann said he hasn’t given much thought to next week’s Big East tournament.
“Hopefully, we’ll play well there,” Holtmann said. “We’ve obviously struggled there (in previous three seasons), but it’s not always been because we’ve played poorly. Our focus is now on Seton Hall. I’m so proud of our seniors and what they have been able to do and accomplish.
Andrew Chrabascz is going to play in his third NCAA Tournament. So is Steven Bennett. It’s been an outstanding group to coach. I’m proud of their leadership this year.”