This is the seventh match-up of a 16-person bracket looking at the best individual season performances of the last decade. The complete bracket is at the bottom of each match-up. Vote early and share. The more votes, the better.
3. Steve Novak (2005-2006) vs. 14. Jimmy Butler (2009-2010)
The case for Novak: Welcome to the Big East. Novak poured in 41 points in Marquette’s first game as a Big East member, upsetting No. 2 Connecticut, and that was only the start. Novak finished his senior season with the best offensive rating in the country, according to KenPom. He shot 46.4 percent from beyond the arc, made an astonishing 74-of-76 free throws and got Marquette back into the NCAA Tournament. His 5.9 rebounds per game were an added bonus, as well. Here’s some perspective: Novak made four or more 3-pointers 17 times that season. Darius Johnson-Odom? Just five times his senior year.
The case for Butler: Going into Butler’s junior season, if I told you he would be a first round NBA draft pick would you have accused me of binging on the blue and gold cKol aid? Of course you would. Yet the shy kid from Tomball, Texas, turned into a clutch scorer, hitting two game-winning shots within the course of the season. The first was during a visit at UConn. Sitting at 3-5 in the Big East and having lost two of the past three games, Marquette needed a victory to stay within striking distance of the Tourney. With 2.4 seconds left in the game, Jimmy F. Butler drained a 12-footer to give Marquette a win over the No. 19 Huskies, its first road win of the season. As if that wasn’t clutch enough, Butler repeated the feat, this time hitting in overtime at St. John’s as the buzzer sounded. JFB finished the season averaging 14.7 points and 6.4 rebounds, earning an All-Big East Honorable Mention selection.