The Real Kelan

Player of the Week

Kelan Martin, F, Senior, Butler Bulldogs

Kelan MartinKelan MartinMartin, who has only gotten better as Big East conference play has progressed, has Butler at the apex of their season. Martin, averaging 20.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, has been the prime facilitator of vaulting The Bulldogs all the way to the third spot in the Big East. He has gone for at least 22 points in five of his last six games, two of them with 30 or more. Martin 19 and 26, respectively, against Providence and Creighton in their last two wins. These wins, against two of the top Big East teams, have shaped Butler as one of the conferences top squads with a 9-7 in conference record. After a rocky, inconsistent start of the season, his Big East play has been tremendous and he is continuing to vault himself into the conference Player of the Year conversation.

Who’s Hot

Mikal Bridges, F, Junior, Villanova Wildcats

Bridges has gone above and beyond his season averages the past two games in helping secure Nova with the all likely top seed in the Big East and NCAA Tournament when it’s all said and done. Averaging 17.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and an effective 1.6 steals per contest, he went for 25 and 27 points against Xavier on the road and at home against DePaul. His stellar performance against the Musketeers especially was valued, with Nova on a bit of a skid and looking uneasy without Phil Booth. They dominated Xavier on the road and Bridges was in full control. Now, with Booth back to take some load off, Bridges and Villanova are waltzing into the conference tournament and Big Dance.

Who’s Not

Markus Howard, G, Sophomore, Marquette Golden Eagles

In Marquette’s win last Saturday against Creighton, Howard, who has been sporadic and inconsistent this season while second in the conference in scoring, left early with injury. Howard suffered a hip contusion and missed Wednesday’s game against St. John’s. Howard’s three-point shot, which he used to lead college basketball last season with, has been down considerably from 54.7 last year to 38.6. With him injured and doubtful to miss Saturday’s game against DePaul, the Golden Eagles’ tournament chances keep getting lowered.

Creighton Bluejays

Creighton has been in the top three or four in the Big East for just about the whole season, but as of recent they are on a skid. They suffered two straight losses over the last week, one especially tough against Marquette at home, and then on the road at Butler who jumped up into the third spot in the conference. It doesn’t get much easier for them now, with top Big East Villanova coming into town Saturday.

Top Big East Home Court Advantages

1. Xavier Musketeers (16-1, Cintas Center)

Xavier has called the Cintas Center home since 2000 and been nearly unbeatable there each season. This season, they are 16-1 at home with their only loss coming at the hand of Villanova last week.

2. Butler Bulldogs (14-3, Hinkle Fieldhouse)

Butler plays at Hinkle Fieldhouse, one of the oldest college basketball arenas in the country. The Bulldogs first set up shop there in 1928 and find a way to pack the place full of raucous fans. They handed then top ranked Villanova their first loss of the season earlier in the year.

3. Creighton Bluejays (14-2, CenturyLink Center)

Since 2003, Creighton takes on opponents in CenturyLink Center and usually prevails in each matchup. This year has proven no different, although they did take a tough loss at home to Marquette last week.

4. Villanova Wildcats (13-1, The Pavilion/Wells Fargo Center

Usually, the Wildcats have called The Pavilion their home and have since 1986, while playing some games in the season at the larger, Philadelphia 76ers/Flyers home Wells Fargo Center off Broad Street. However, this season The Pavilion has been under renovations and the Wildcats have played each game in the WFC, which holds more fans but doesn’t have the homely, college basketball environment The Pavilion does. They also suffered a bad loss at home to St. John’s some weeks back which hurt.

5. Seton Hall (13-2, Prudential Center)

The Pirates, like Nova, also play in a professional sports team size arena in New Brunswick, New Jersey at the home of the NHL Devils. The arena holds 18,000 seats and when Seton Hall has one of their best seasons, like this season, they can take down anyone. It recently showed when they took down Creighton earlier this season at home.

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