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NCAAB: DePaul, Butler get back to business with Big East matchup

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Let’s try this again.

After enduring a number of COVID-19-related postponements of their would-be Big East Conference openers, Butler and DePaul will give things another shot Wednesday as the Bulldogs host the Blue Demons in Indianapolis.

Butler (7-4) has been idle since falling 77-48 to visiting No. 3 Purdue on Dec. 18. DePaul hasn’t played since edging intracity rival Illinois Chicago 72-66 on the road four days earlier.

Butler’s pre-Christmas lull was in part due to the schedule, as the Bulldogs missed just one game (at St. John’s on Dec. 23).

The Blue Demons, however, have seen postponements mount as they have tried to build on a three-game winning streak. DePaul’s initial nonconference finale, on Dec. 18 at Northwestern, was the first schedule casualty before Big East home games against Creighton and No. 15 Seton Hall were postponed in the past eight days due to COVID-19 concerns within the Blue Demons program.

Initially, tempers flared when the Big East announced that schools unable to field seven healthy players due to COVID-19 or injury would be forced to forfeit.

“These rules not even making sense,” the Blue Demons’ Javon Freeman-Liberty tweeted Dec. 20. However, the league rescinded the policy a few days later, confirming the Big East would work to reschedule games moving forward.

In its most recent game, Butler’s four-game winning streak was halted by Purdue, as double-figure scoring efforts from Bryce Golden (17 points) and Jayden Taylor (11) weren’t enough against the Boilermakers.

“You’ve got to play well, and we did not,” Bulldogs coach LaVall Jordan said. “They’ve cornered the market on elite size, and they’ve all gotten better and developed over time. It’s hard to keep them away from the basket.”

The Bulldogs hope the lull can help rejuvenate a lineup that was without leading scorer Chuck Harris (non-COVID-related illness), Bryce Nze (shoulder) and Bo Hodges (knee) against Purdue.

Butler has won three straight in the series, including a 68-58 victory last season.

–Field Level Media

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