The scene was set for the Butler Bulldogs to take control of the Atlantic 10 Conference standings. The Saint Louis Billikens led the standings entering the epic battle in Hinkle Fieldhouse last night, as the Bulldogs were one game behind with the opportunity to tie them with a win.
A loss would be detrimental, as Saint Louis upset Butler 75-58 back on Jan. 31, and would sweep the Bulldogs with a victory on their home court.
Unfortunately for Butler, they took a loss 65-61 and have now fallen two games back of Saint Louis in the standings with three games to go. Now, Butler can’t tie Saint Louis as they would lose the tiebreaker, and now need help in their quest take the top spot in the Atlantic 10.
Butler has a tough task in their next game in playing on the road at VCU next Saturday. Again, it’s a must-win for Butler, as the Rams sit a 1/2 game ahead of them in the standings and need the win to stay afloat for at least a top-two finish.
The Dogs then follow that game up with their final road game of the season at Massachusetts, and host Xavier in the regular season finale on Mar 9. Saint Louis on the other hand has two road games left at George Washington and at Xavier sandwiched by home games against St. Joe’s and LaSalle.
The loss last night makes the road to a conference championship harder, as Butler obviously needs Saint Louis to lose three of those games to win the conference title and earn the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament.
That’s a lot to ask for, considering that they have to win out themselves. It puts Butler is the position of needing help instead of controlling their own destiny.