Knoxville, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Seeking to improve on a four-game win streak, the 15th-ranked Butler Bulldogs will hit the road to take on the Tennessee Volunteers in a non-conference clash at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Butler enters the game sporting an 8-1 record this season, with four straight victories. The Bulldogs are riding a wave of momentum after blowing past Kennesaw State in the most recent contest, 93-51.
Tennessee put a stop to a two-game skid with a narrow 65-64 victory over Kansas State last Saturday. The defeat of the Wildcats was the Vols' most notable win of the season, having only beaten Texas Southern and Santa Clara otherwise.
Butler owns the 2-1 lead in the brief all-time series with Tennessee. The last time these teams met on the court was during the 2008 NCAA Tournament, where the Volunteers came away with a 76-71 victory in overtime.
Not only did Butler use a punishing first half that included a 64-percent shooting touch from the field to take a commanding lead into the break, but the Bulldogs' 52 points in the opening period was more than Kennesaw State would score in the entire contest. Five players netted double figures for Butler, led by Roosevelt Jones's 19-point effort. Kelan Martin came off the bench to score 17 points, Kellen Dunham contributed 13, Kameron Woods chipped in with 11 and Jackson Aldridge added 10 points in the win.
The point total disparity between Butler and its opponents this season is an immense one. The Bulldogs enter this clash with Tennessee netting 74.2 ppg on an impressive 46.7 percent shooting, while at the same time the team allows opponents to net just 54.2 ppg. Dunham has picked up where he left off last season, netting a team-leading 16.3 ppg in nine starts. Jones follows that total up with 11.1 ppg and a team-best 5.3 apg, and Martin adds in 10.6 ppg to round out the double-digit scorers. Woods comes into the contest grabbing a team-best 8.3 rpg.
Tennessee built up enough of a lead in the first half against Kansas State (25-17) to be able to sustain a second-period comeback attempt from the Wildcats. Kansas State shot just 25 percent from the floor in the first half, and went 0-of-7 from 3-point range to hand Tennessee the early lead. Josh Richardson was the only player for the Volunteers to record a scoring figure in the double digits, netting 17 points in the one-point win. Willie Carmichael chipped in nine points and six rebounds, and Armani Moore dished out a team-best five assists with five blocked shots.
Tennessee, just one season after making it to the NCAA Tournament with a pair of victories in the tournament, has started a bit slow on the defensive end of the floor. The Vols are allowing opponents to score 68.8 ppg this season on 43.4 percent shooting. Meanwhile, the team is netting 65.7 ppg on its own, led by 16.0 ppg by Richardson. Moore contributes 11.0 ppg as the only other player averaging double-figure scoring. His 6.7 rpg is a team-best, while Kevin Punter has dished out a Tennessee-high 16 assists with 11 steals.