Butler Visits the Blue Demons in Chicago

Blue Demons Look To Snap 11 game Losing Streak to Bulldogs

In January, 2014, DePaul and Butler met up in Hinkle Fieldhouse for the first time as Big East opponents.  For the first 30 minutes of the game, the Bulldogs had the game in hand, building a 12 point lead with 10 to go.  At that point, the Blue Demons mounted a furious attack lead by Cleveland Melvin, Brandon Young, and Freshman, Billy Garrett Jr.  When regulation was over, the Demons found themselves tied with Butler.  After 28 points combined were scored in Overtime, DePaul and the Bulldogs remained tied.  Finally, after 2 Overtimes, the Blue Demons won an epic game 99-94.  DePaul has not beaten Butler since.    Sounds like a recurring them.

Cleveland Melvin Eyes a Rebound in Last DePaul Victory against Butler.  Melvin had 30 points in the Double Overtime victory.

DePaul is coming off of a tough loss at Villanova.  AP ranked #5, Butler is coming off their 1st home loss and first Big East loss against Seton Hall.  Let’s hope the referees try to extricate themselves from deciding this game.


The Setup

DePaul takes on Butler Saturday, January 18th at high Noon at Wintrust Arena in the South Loop of Chicago.

The game will be on The UToo on Comcast and on Radio 670AM.

Fun Facts

First Meeting ever?  November 26th, 1977, when DePaul beat Butler 93-65.

Butler leads the all-time series 11-5.  In other words, at the time of the last DePaul victory in 2014, the Bulldogs had never beaten the Blue Demons before.

DePaul Has A New Guy:  DJ Williams

6’7″ Power Forward, DJ Williams has joined the Blue Demons as a Graduate Transfer.  He is immediately eligible.  Williams transferred from George Washington after playing one season there, starting in 31 game.  Before that he was at Illinois for 2 seasons playing between 10 to 20% of the minutes.


He is a career 27.6% 3-point shooter.  He takes 3 times the amount of 2 point shots compared to 3 point shots.  He has a reputation as a shoot first type of guy, taking 27.6% of all of GW’s shots last year, the 208th rate in the country.  It will be interesting how he will fit into DePaul’s rotation.  He rebounds more like a guard and is not known for his defensive prowess.  He is a local guy from Thornton High School.

What Does Each Team Like to Do?

The ‘Play by Play splits’ chart below can really give you a good idea of what shots each team takes and defends, along with how well they do in each quadrant.



Butler is pretty balanced and intelligent when it comes to shot selection.   38% of their shots come from close 2s and 37% come from 3-pointers.  As a team they make the extra pass to get the best shot.  They also control the pace of the game.

DePaul prefers an inside out approach.  44% of the Demons shots are close 2s, 32% are from 3s, 24% are long 2s, and finally 10% are dunks.


Butler’s opponents have shot a 40% of their shots from 3 point range, and they have shot them poorly making only 26.4% of the shots.  Their opponents have shot almost as many long 2s and close 2s.  The 28.4% from long 2s is one of the main reasons that the Bulldogs have been so dominant on defense this season.

DePaul is better at defending close twos and are not as quality at defending the 3-point shot.

Who Can Hurt DePaul?  A lot of different guys.

Butler play 4 guys for 70% or more of the game.  Aaron Thompson, 6’2″ Junior Point Guard leads the way in minutes; he does not shoot 3 pointers at all and is 60% from free-throw land.  Next comes Sean McDermott, 6’6″  Senior, Small Forward, then Kamar Baldwin, 6’1″ Senior Shooting guard, and finally 6’7″ Junior Power Forward, Bryce Nze who shoots exclusively from inside the paint, and is even worse from the free-throw line than Thompson.

Kamar Baldwin

Kenpom.com has him at the 10th, in the ‘Player of Year’ statistic.  The T-Ranks  give less value to Baldwin, having him only being 3.6 times above average.  He shoots 35.5% from 3 point range and 83.3% from the free-throw line.  He takes nearly 35% of all shots for the Bulldogs.  He gets in the paint frequently taking twice as many 2 point shots as 3 point shots.  Romeo Weems will have his hands full.

Sean McDermott

The sharp-shooter runs all around trying to get space.  He has made 42% of his 3-point attempts and is 85.3% from the free-throw line.  He has an off the charts offensive rating of 136.  He will not take a bad shot.  He is patient and waits for the right time to pull the trigger.

Jordan Tucker

All around pain in the rear.  He shoots nearly 40% from 3 and 83% from the free-throw line.  He is a long defender.

Common Opponents

Both teams beat Minnesota, although DePaul did it on the road.

Both teams lost to Seton Hall at home.

Butler survived St. John’s on the road, while DePaul faltered down the stretch.

The Bulldogs handled Providence, while the Blue Demons lost in the last second.

DePaul Trends

For the first time in a while, DePaul shot excellent from 3-point range.  Check that Charlie Moore shot excellent from 3 point range making 5 of 7.

On the other side of the equation, the Blue Demons’ opponents have continued to torch them from beyond the arc.  The rolling 5 game average against is nearly 37% made, which is very bad, since the D1 average is 33%.

DePaul’s 3 Point Against

Here is a fun one.  Let’s look at Butler’s game scores and DePaul’s game scores over the season thus far.  The game score shows how consistent a team is game to game. The closer to 100 shows how close to perfection the team played in a particular game.  It also corresponds to how well that particular game would be in comparison of all other team in the country.  So a score of a 100, would be similar to a top 5-10 team, which a score of 16 (The Buffalo game), would be similar to the 294th team.

Butler’s Game Score is a Picture of Consistency.

butler gamescore
Butler’s Game Scores

DePaul’s Game Scores look schizophrenic.

depaul gamescore
DePaul’s Game Scores

Tale of the Tape


This is the most lopsided Tale of Tape thus far this year.  Butler plays excellent defense.  The Bulldogs help and recover with the best of them.  They are the 5th best in the nation at Effective Field Goal percentage, which means that teams do not score many point on each possession.  They block out extremely well on defense and contest all shots.  The boys from Indianapolis hold opponents to 26.4% from 3 point land, which is 4th best in the nation, and to 44.1% from 2-point land, which is 44th best in the nation.  The do not leave their man to try to get steals.  They are disciplined with their assignments and when the ball goes up, they are putting their rears into their opponents.

On a good note, Butler’s Free-throw rate is relatively low and they shoot 71.2% from the line.  So maybe we will not see the foul-fests that we have not enjoyed in Big East play.

What’s Going to Happen?

Butler is coming off their first Big East loss and only 2nd of the year, after falling apart late against Seton Hall.  The way the game ended was so similar to DePaul’s defeat to the Hall.  The Bulldogs are not invincible.   Against common opponents both teams have had similar scores and almost similar results.

If DePaul can force Butler into shots they do not want to take, they have a good chance.  The Bulldogs do not shoot until they have they shot they want, even as the shot clock is winding down.  It will take a team effort to keep the defensive intensity up.

On the offensive side, the Blue Demons will be going against the best defensive team that have played this year.  DePaul will need to make the extra pass to get the shots that they want, and they will have to be disciplined.  Does that sound like DePaul???




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