IU basketball: Hoosiers conclude non-conference with depleted Butler at Crossroads

Indiana wraps up its non-conference schedule with a rare morning tip at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.

While Indiana has managed to play all of its non-conference games, it has been a different story altogether for Butler.

The Bulldogs will play just their third game of the season on Saturday as the team just recently emerged from a lengthy pause due to COVID-19.

Butler is still finding their way and dealing with injuries, but as IU has learned at this event in the past — this is a proud program that cannot be taken lightly.


Butler (1-1) vs. Indiana (4-2)

  • Tip time:  11:30 a.m. ET
  • Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Television:  FS1 (Vince Welch and Stephen Bardo)
  • IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Errek Suhr, Joe Smith)
  • Series:  Indiana leads 39-15 (Indiana won last meeting 71-68 in 2018)
  • Point Spread:  Indiana is around an 8-point favorite
  • KenPom has No. 17 Indiana by 5 points over No. 63 Butler

[Complete 2020-21 IU schedule]

See also:

Meet the Bulldogs

Projected starters (based off last game)

#2 AARON THOMPSON (questionable)
G, 6-2, Sr., Glenn Dale, Md.
2020-21: 17.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.0 apg

  • Scored career-high 21 points vs. Western Michigan 11/25
  • 396 career assists (seventh in Butler history)
  • Semifinalist for 2019-20 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award

G, 6-3, Gr., Brooklyn, N.Y.
2020-21: 16.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.5 apg

  • Led Butler with 18 points (4-7 3FG) at Villanova 12/16
  • Set career-high with nine rebounds vs. Western Michigan 11/25
  • Averaged 8.5 pts, 2.4 rebs, 41.2% 3FG in 2019-20 for South Carolina

G, 6-2, Fr., Washington, D.C.
2020-21: 9.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg

  • Scored 12 points in first career start at Villanova 12/16
  • Scored seven points in Butler debut vs. Western Michigan 11/25
  • First-team all-state selection (D.C. State Athletic Association)

F, 6-7, Fr., Denton, Texas
2020-21: 4.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg

  • Recorded first start of his career at Villanova 12/16
  • Four points, five rebounds in Butler debut vs. Western Michigan 11/25
  • Led Guyer to a 27-5 record as a senior; Texas All-State third team honors

F, 6-7, R-Sr., Hartland, Wis.
2020-21: 9.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, .500 FG%

  • Second-leading returning rebounder in the BIG EAST for 2020-21 season
  • Led team in rebounds in 13 games during the 2019-20 season
  • Led BIG EAST in field goal percentage (.629) in 2019-20

F, 6-7, R-So., Wyoming, Mich.
2020-21: 0.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg

  • Played career-high 12 minutes at Villanova 12/16
  • One rebound in four minutes vs. Western Michigan 11/25
  • Missed the first 10 games of the 2019-20 season (hip surgery)

F/C, 6-10, So., Carmel, Ind.
2020-21: 0.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg

  • Played career-high 15 minutes at Villanova 12/16
  • Career-highs with four points and six rebounds at Creighton 2/23/20
  • 2019 AP Indiana All-State First Team and 2019 Indiana All-Star

F, 6-9, Jr., Winchester, Va.
2020-21: 6.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg

  • Was unavailable for the Villanova game 12/16
  • Started all 31 games in 2019-20; 10 games in double figures
  • Career-high 18 points vs. Villanova 2/5/20 (9-12 FG)

G, 6-0, Fr., Roebuck, S.C.
2020-21: 3.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg

  • Made first career start in Butler debut vs. Western Michigan 11/25
  • Led Dorman to four straight 5A state championships; 1,874 career points
  • 2020 MaxPreps Player of the Year for South Carolina

F, 6-9, Fr., Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.
2020-21: 7.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg

  • Made his Butler debut at Villanova 12/16 with 7 points and 5 rebounds
  • 2019-20 Rhode Island Independent Schools Athlete of the Year

Bulldogs Arrive with a Depleted Roster

On his radio show earlier in the week, Indiana head coach Archie Miller referred to Butler point guard Aaron Thompson as the “heart and soul” of the Bulldogs.

Thompson, who is dealing with a knee sprain, is just one of several Butler players unlikely to suit up on Saturday against IU.

Transfer Bo Hodges was deemed academically ineligible this week.  Guard Campbell Donovan, and three forwards — Christian David, Mike Parker and Scooby Johnson — are all unavailable.

If Thompson can’t go, the point guard duties will be shared by a pair of freshmen, Chuck Harris and Myles Tate.

The news is just the latest blow for Butler.  After a season opening win over Western Michigan that was closer than it should have been (66-62), the Bulldogs went on a three week pause, only returning to full practice a few days ago.

“Butler has been through the gambit here in the last three or four weeks which has been unfortunate for them,” Miller said on Friday. “They got back on the floor Wednesday, not at full strength, but they did get back out on the floor. It looks to me like they have a unit that is continuing to get healthier and better which is good for those guys.”

After so much time off Butler could not have asked for a much tougher opponent.  The Bulldogs lost 85-66 at No. 7 Villanova.  The Wildcats pulled away late after Thompson left the game with his knee injury.

Before losing Thompson on Wednesday, Butler was already trying to figure out how to deal with the loss of their top scorer (Kamar Baldwin) and best three-point shooter (Sean McDermott) from last year’s team.

Even with all of their early season challenges, Indiana won’t be caught off guard in this one.

Miller has seen them enough to know that above all, the Bulldogs will bring toughness.

“We have a lot of respect for Butler,” Miller said.  “All and all, when you are playing against Butler, tremendous amount of respect for those guys. We know the game is going to be absolutely a bear and it’s a great non-conference opponent for us as we finish up our non-conference slate.”

Miller has schooled his team to be ready for the Bulldogs’ style.

“From what we’ve been told they are always a physical team,” sophomore guard Armaan Franklin said.  “We’ve got to be ready to be physical with them, keep them off the offensive glass.  We’ve got to drive to pass.  They like to take charges.”

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