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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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Butler Bulldogs at St Louis Billikens Preview Odds, Start Time, Free Pick

College Basketball on Thursday and we will see the Butler Bulldogs travel to St Louis, Missouri to take on the St Louis Bilikens. The game is scheduled for a 9:00 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised on CBSSN. Currently the odds for the game have St Louis favored by 2.5 points while the total sits at 124.  Check out Sportsbook Spy to see who the Public is taking on all of today's games.

Analysis: Butler and Saint Louis were members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference from 1982-91 but have met only twice since then. The Billikens won 72-54 in the most recent matchup Dec. 27, 2003, in St. Louis.

Brad Stevens' Bulldogs have settled in nicely in their new conference surroundings and currently sit atop the A-10 standings at 4-1. Butler is 17-3 overall and has some huge wins over the likes of Marquette, North Carolina, Indiana and Gonzaga already on the resume. The team's lone league loss came last week at La Salle (54-53), but Butler was able to distance itself a little with last weekend's 83-71 victory over Temple. Butler has shown the ability to win games at either end of the floor this season, but it was its offensive proficiency that stood out in the win over Temple. The Bulldogs got standout Rotnei Clarke back in the lineup after missing time due to injury, and the senior guard seemed to not miss a beat, pouring in a game-high 24 points. Khyle Marshall finished with 19 points and Kellen Dunham added 17, as Butler shot a scorching .520 from the field against the Owls. The Bulldogs come into this contest averaging 71.6 ppg, on a healthy .466 shooting. Clarke has certainly contributed in those areas, netting a team-high 16.7 ppg, shooting a hefty .434 from 3-point range (62-of-143). Four others supplement Clarke's contributions with double-digit averages of their own. Andrew Smith (11.7 ppg), Dunham (11.3 ppg), Marshall (10.5 ppg) and Roosevelt Jones (10.4 ppg) give the team plenty of options offensively.

Jim Crews has led Saint Louis to an impressive 14-5 overall record this season, a mark that includes a 3-2 league ledger. The Billikens have used stifling defensive play to frustrate most opponents, including last weekend, as the team recorded a 67-57 road win at St. Bonaventure. The victory was the second straight for Saint Louis, which has won 11 of its last 13 games overall. The Billikens jumped all over the Bonnies on the road last Saturday, taking a 15-point lead into intermission and holding St. Bonaventure off in the second half. Evans had a strong game, finishing with team-highs of 18 points and eight rebounds. Ellis added 10 points off the bench, while Grandy Glaze, McCall and Jordair Jett chipped in nine points apiece. Saint Louis takes another route to win games, leading the A-10 in scoring defense at a mere 57.8 ppg (18th nationally). It's a good thing too, because the play at the offensive end has been lacking at times. The Billikens are just 12th in the A-10 in scoring at a meager 66.7 ppg. Cody Ellis leads the team at 11.2 ppg despite not starting a single game. Mike McCall Jr. and Dwayne Evans are the other top producers, netting 10.8 and 10.7 ppg, respectively.

Free Pick: I am going with the over in this game. The Bilikens play a slowdown and very good defense, but this Butler squad can score, averaging 70.3 ppg overall and 65.5 ppg on the road and with Clark back they are that much more potent on offense. St Louis doesn’t have a great offense, but they still score 67.9 ppg at home and Butler allows 61.5 ppg on the road. The pace will not be upbeat, but it should be a close game with FT’s and maybe OT in the end. I look for both teams to hit the mid 60’s in this one. 



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