BUTLER VS LSU
1ST ROUND NCAA Tourney
Bet 5dimes.com 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 cant 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. Lets 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 the spread.
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 didnt 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 52.6% clip.
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.
Im 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.
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