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ELITE 8 SATURDAY
BUTLER VS KANSAS ST
WEST VIRGINIA VS KENTUCKY
The Sweet Sixteen wasn’t as exciting as the first two rounds of the tournament,
but the Elite Eight will definitely be. We have finally reached the point where
true powerhouses will be bucking heads. Saturday will see West Virginia do
battle with Kentucky, and Butler will take on Kansas State. The line on the
first game favors Kentucky at -3.5, and Kansas State is -4 in the second game.
All four teams have worked hard to get to this point. The Elite Eight is where
we will find out how good they truly are.
The Butler Bulldogs looked great against the Syracuse Orange. They forced many turnovers and snatched an early lead. After losing that lead late in the second half they didn’t lose their composure and re rallied for the win. Gordon Hayward had 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals for the Bulldogs. Matt Howard was strong with 9 points and 7 rebounds. Shelvin Mack had 14 points, 5 assists, 2 steals and 6 rebounds. Butler will have to stick to tough defense and efficient shooting to defeat Kansas State. Containing Clemente and Pullen will be their key to victory. It can be done, but it certainly won’t be an easy task for this team which owns the longest win streak in the NCAA.
The Kansas State Wildcats would not be denied in the Sweet Sixteen as they defeated the Xavier Musketeers 101-96 in 2OT. They blew a 15 point lead in the first half. CBS cameras showed Coach Martin the locker room firing them up. His leadership played a role in their victory over the X-Men. G Clemente single handedly kept them in the game by scoring over 20 points in the second half. G Pullen nailed a “dagger to the heart” three pointer late in the game. He was playing with foul trouble for most of the game. That is something he will have to avoid against Butler. The Wildcats may be a bit fatigued after that game with Xavier.
The Kentucky Wildcats have yet to meet a team that can stop them. The three headed freshman monster of Wall, Cousins, and Bledsoe is quite strong. Cousins can hardly be stopped from rebounding, and Wall and Bledsoe are both wonderful shooters. Add junior Patrick Patterson to the mix, and this seems like a team that is headed for the National Championship. They easily disposed of Cornell in the Sweet Sixteen. Before that they crushed a decent Wake Forest team. This Elite Eight game with West Virginia will easily be the toughest of the year.
Led by Bob Huggins, the West Virginia Mountaineers are still riding high on their win of the Big East Tournament. They haven’t let up on the gas, and they will give Kentucky everything they want. Their last game came against the Pacific 10 Tournament Champions Washington Huskies. They won with ease which is saying something because the Huskies entered the game white hot. Sophomore F Kevin Jones steadied the Mountaineers with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Butler and Ebanks combined for 26 points. The senior leadership of Butler will go a long way towards helping West Virginia down the monster that is the Kentucky Wildcats.
In the first game of the day we like the Butler Bulldogs. They enter the game with a 20+ game win streak. They just defeated 1 seed Syracuse. Hayward and Howard are two of the best players in the nation. The Bulldogs will get the job done. In the second game we will take the West Virginia Mountaineers. They played in the toughest conference (Big East) and fared quite well. They haven’t been challenged yet this year. At this stage, both underdogs getting +4 present some nice value.