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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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NCAA Tournament Betting Odds Butler Bulldogs vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish Free Pick

Tonight the Butler Bulldogs will do battle with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Consol Arena in Pittsburgh, PA in the 3rd round of the NCAA Tournament. The game has a start time of 9:40 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on TBS. Current Vegas betting odds have the Fighting Irish listed as 4.5 point favorites, while the total is set at 134. 

Analysis: The Butler Bulldogs very quietly had a solid year as they finished 2nd in the Big East and are now 23-10 overall the after taking out Texas in a very tough 56-48 win on Thursday. That win now has butler at 20-12 in their history in the Big Dance. Butler has gone 38-15-1 ATS in their last 54 neutral site games and 7-0 ATS in their last 7 vs the ACC, but just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a S.U. win. The Bulldogs have been a decent offensive team this year, ranking 126th in scoring (69.2 ppg), 170th in shooting (43.6%), 115th in 3 point shooting (35.7%) and 221st in FT shooting (68.1%). The defense for this team has been very good this year, ranking 42nd in points allowed (60.8 ppg), 99th in defensive FG% (41.4%) and 26th in 3 point defense (30.7%).

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish finished 3rd in the ACC during the regular season and then had a remarkable run in the ACC Tournament as they beat Duke and Carolina on BB nights to win the Title. The Irish may have not recovered from their ACC Title run as they struggled with Northeastern for much of their game before finally pulling out a 69-65 win. The 30 wins the Irish have this year are the most in school history. Notre Dame has gone 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record, but 0-7 ATS in their last 7 NCAA Tournament games. The Irish have been a very good offensive squad this year, ranking 12th in scoring (78.5 ppg), 2nd in shooting (51.2%), 16th in 3 point shooting (39.2%) and 29th in FT shooting (73.9%). The defense for this team has been rather average, ranking 146th in points allowed (65.6 ppg), 168th in defensive FG% (42.9%) and 105th in 3 point defense (32.8%).       

Pick: I will be going with the Under in this game. I just can't see this one getting out of hand as far as scoring, especially with the way that Butler plays defense and the way that the Notre Dame defense has come around of late. The Bulldogs have allowed just 60.8 ppg on the year overall, while in their last 6 games, in regulation, they have given up just 55 ppg. They have really played tournament defense down the stretch for sure. The Irish have had questions about their defense all year, but it is really starting to play well as they have allowed more than 65 points just once in their last 9 games and the one they did was to Carolina. No shame there. Lets also note that Butler does not have a Carolina offense and they also have really slowed it down at that end of the floor as they have scored just 59.6 ppg in their last 5 games and they have averaged just 62.3 ppg in neutral site games. Yes the Irish offense is very good, but I just don't see them getting a ton off this tough Butler defense. The Under is 12-3-1 in Notre Dame's last 16 NCAA Tournament games and 8-0-1 in Butler's last 9 overall. 65-60 sounds about right for this one.     

 

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MovieNCAA Basketball: Who Can Win it All?
Teddy Covers and Steve Fezzik from Pregame.com discuss who they feel will win it all in the NCAA Tournament, while throwing in some teams that have a chance to make a deep run in the tournament.