BUTLER VS LSU
1ST ROUND NCAA TOURNEY
Bet Jamaica Line LSU -2.5 O/U 127
A good friend of mine, whom I regard higher than anyone else when
it comes to handicapping the NCAA Tournament, told me this earlier
in the season: “I pity any team that has to dance with the Butler
Bulldogs”. I can’t say that I disagree with him. Butler has spent
the vast majority of the year in the Top 25, and they are always an
upset threat. LSU is the team, that if you go by my friends logic,
has the misfortune of playing Butler in the first round of the NCAA
Tournament. These two are clearly heavyweights, despite their 8 and
9 seeds. Let’s take a look at each team, and figure out who will
advance to the second round of the Big Dance.
LSU won the regular season SEC title, but lost to Mississippi State
in the SEC tournament. I can forgive that loss, because MSU was a
team on a mission, and was shooting the lights out of the ball. The
Tigers do not have an abundance of quality wins. Their best
victories came against Florida, Kentucky, and USC. On the reverse
side, they dropped a 30 loss to Utah, and were easily handled by the
Xavier and Vanderbilt. LSU is 4-6 for their last ten games versus
Butler boasts a 27-5 record, with wins over Xavier and Davidson.
They took two of three from conference rival Cleveland State who won
25 games this year. The worst loss for the Bulldogs was a defeat at
the hands of Loyala. On the whole, they didn’t play a very tough
schedule, but they did take care of business. Their victory over
Xavier proved they can play with the big dogs. Butler has a history
of pulling off upsets. Like their opponent LSU, Butler is also 4-6
for their last ten games ATS.
Marcus Thornton is the leader on the court for the Louisiana State
University Tigers. The senior was named to the All SEC First Team,
and was also the SEC Player of the Year. He is putting up a whopping
20.7 PPG, and grabbing 5.5 RPG. He proved his worth against Florida,
when he drained six three pointers and put a total of 32 points.
Tasmin Mitchell is just as valuable to the Tiger effort. He is a
fellow All SEC First Team selection, and is averaging 16.3 PPG, and
7.2 RPG. The junior is also hitting three pointers are an amazing
Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward lead the attack for the Butler
Bulldogs. Howard was named Horizon League player of the year. He is
putting up 14.6 PPG, and 6.7 RPG. The sophomore will continue to get
better and be an asset for Butler. Howard was integral in Butlers
win over Xavier due to his 19 points and 14 rebounds. Hayward is
good for 13.2 PPG and 6.5 RPG. He is among the best freshman in the
country. He went wild on Davidson, posting 27 points. This Butler
team is very young, and will only get better from here on out.
I’m not going to be surprised regardless of who takes this game.
Both are champions of their respective conference. Some may argue
that the SEC is leaps and bounds better than the Horizon, but it is
nothing like the ACC or Big East. If Butler can contain Thornton,
chances are they will take this one. Howard will need to have a big
game, and that is far from out of the question. I think this young
team has got a hell of a shot.