INDIANAPOLIS — The Big East season is only a few days old but is already a wonderful, muddled mess. Unranked Butler entered Saturday with an 11-3 record and lacking a win over a team reasonably projected to be in the NCAA Tournament.
One shocking result later, the conference's standings, and college basketball's rankings, have major alterations to account for. Yes, 2017 is going out with an upset-themed bang because the Bulldogs will head into the new year as a 12-3 squad, the owner of the only victory against previously undefeated Villanova. The top-ranked Wildcats, for a second straight season — and the second time this calendar year — fell victim to Butler 101-93 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. And on Saturday, just like on Jan. 4, Butler ruined Villanova's flawless record.
Butler did it by going bonkers from 3-point range, sinking 15 3-pointers. The bombing barrage gave Bulldogs fans one of the most surprising revelations their team has pulled off in recent seasons. Butler almost never beats opponents by burying 3 after 3 after 3. But BU tapped into something outside their normal dimension on Saturday. If it was going to take something uncommon to swipe VIllanova, Butler found fire at the right moment. It needed that 22-point cushion, because Villanova rolled into a 14-0 run late in to the second half that cut the lead to as close as six in the final minute.
The game seemed to turn with approximately 3 minutes to go in the first half, when Butler laid a long-range assault on Nova. The Bulldogs led 53-45 at the break, shooting 59 percent from 3 (10 for 17) including some sniper shots from Paul Jorgensen, who established himself as an alpha scorer for BU. Jorgensen had 16 at the half and finished with 23 points. His 3-point from approximately 35 feet out might even make even Trae Young blush.
It made the Butler crowd explode.
The second half was nearly equal parts methodical for Butler and devastating for Villanova. Butler made another 5 3-pointers, but also established a 22-point lead midway through the second half thanks to some killer back cuts. The Bulldogs have made the past three NCAA Tournaments, and a win like this could help ensure they get to a fourth.
Butler's Kelan Martin had 24 points to lead the Bulldogs.
The big difference this season is who's in charge. A sellout crowd of 9,244 watched LaVall Jordan get his first signature win at Butler's coach. For Jordan and his team, Saturday was the initiation into big-time Big East play and could be the victory that kick-starts a new era for this program under a Bulldog alumnus.
CBS Sports writer Kyle Boone contributed to this story.