Salukis and Bulldogs duke it out in Indy
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – A tremendously intriguing matchup of mid-
major powers will ensue this afternoon, as the 13th-ranked Butler Bulldogs
host the 16th-ranked Southern Illinois Salukis in BracketBuster action.
Southern Illinois will put its eight-game winning streak on the line, and it
will attempt to improve an already stellar 22-5 record. The Salukis are
coming off a 51-47 triumph over Missouri State on Tuesday, and they are 13-3
versus Missouri Valley Conference competition.
Butler has likely already clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament, as the club
has beaten Gonzaga, Indiana and Notre Dame out of conference while winning 11
of its 13 Horizon League games. Still, a win today over the Salukis would leave
absolutely no doubt. The Bulldogs are playing their second straight non-
conference game, as they knocked off Florida Gulf Coast by a 79-65 final on
Tuesday. Butler is 12-0 at home this season, and it won its only previous
series meeting with Southern Illinois.
Randal Falker was outstanding for Southern Illinois in the win over Missouri
State on Tuesday, as the standout center posted 20 points and 12 rebounds while
shooting 8-of-11 from the field. Jamaal Tatum pitched in 16 points for the
Salukis, who connected on only 32.7 percent of their field goal attempts,
including a 4-of-16 effort from three-point range. Fortunately, they were able
to limit their opponents to 37.8 percent shooting while forcing 18 turnovers.
Tatum leads SIU with 14.3 ppg on the strength of his 40.6 percent shooting from
three-point range. Falker adds 13.1 ppg and 7.5 rpg to the mix, and he is a
60.8 percent shooter from the field. The big man has also blocked 55 shots, but
his free throw shooting is still a weakness. Matt Shaw rounds out the double-
digit scorers for the Salukis with 11.3 ppg, and the team is limiting its
opponents to 55.7 ppg on 41.5 percent overall shooting.
In the win over Florida Gulf Coast, Butler got 24 points from Mike Green and 22
points from A.J. Graves. The Bulldogs got the job done at the defensive end,
forcing 18 turnovers while limiting their opponents to 39.7 percent shooting
from the field. A 27-13 advantage in points from the foul line also helped the
cause. Graves is the team leader with 17.6 ppg this season, and while he is
shooting only 39.3 percent from the floor, his 96.5 percent accuracy from the
foul line places him among the national leaders. Green is netting 14.1 ppg to
go along with 112 assists, and he has attempted 208 free throws through 27
outings. Brandon Crone is contributing 10.4 ppg for the Bulldogs, who are
limiting opponents to 56.4 ppg on 39.8 percent overall shooting.