Xavier Musketeers (18-10, 8-7)
Butler Bulldogs (22-6, 11-5)
Get someone going from deep- Butler concedes the arc on defense, which is a two-edged sword. Creighton, Georgetown, and Providence all shot 40% or better from deep in recent wins over Butler. Georgetown did it while turning the ball over 13 times and getting 3 offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, Butler turned it over 16 times against Nova, but still won because the Wildcats shot 6-24 from three.
Get the crowd going early- It is no secret X has been sputtering of late, losing three straight on the road, but they are back at the Cintas Center today, where theu have only lost twice this season. If Xavier can get off to an early lead, it may well boost the team's flagging confidence. Butler will likely not be cowed by the situation, having erased an 8 point lead in the final 13 minutes at Villanova, but X sure could use the boost.
Recognize the situation- Coming into this season, Xavier was a top 10 team and was seen as a fairly safe bet to play into the latter parts of the NCAA Tournament. Now there is the creeping possibility that they may not make the event at all, should their free fall continue. Today is a chance to stop the rot, sure up the resume, and serve notice that they are still a force to be reckoned with all in one. It is a big chance, and Xavier is running out of those.