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College Basketball Odds: Butler Bulldogs at VCU Rams

Virginia Commonwealth Rams Vs. Butler Bulldogs: 3/2/13 Chris's Free College Basketball Pick Against the Spread

College Basketball on Saturday and we will see the Butler Bulldogs travel to Richmond, Virginia to take on the VCU Rams. The game is scheduled for a 12:00 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised on ESPN 2. Currently the Odds for the game have VCU favored by 7 points while the total sits at 124.

Analysis: Butler and Virginia Commonwealth look to keep their Atlantic 10 title chances alive when they meet Saturday in Richmond, Va., their first matchup since the 2011 Final Four.

The Butler Bulldogs were the pre-season favorite to take down the Atlantic-10 conference in their first season since transferring to the Atlantic-10 from the Horizon League.  The Bulldogs had a monster start to the season opening the season with a 14-2 record in non-conference play.  Butler was dominant in the beginning of conference action, but has been somewhat streaky over the past few weeks. At the very least, they will be rested for this one. The seven-day break between games was Butler's longest such stretch in the regular season since 2009-10, when it reached the national title game for the first time. The Bulldogs have been held under 70 points in five straight games. They managed only 27 second-half points in the 65-61 loss to the Billikens. Kellen Dunham scored 14 points off the bench and Rotnei Clarke and Roosevelt Jones added 13 apiece for Butler, which shot 15-for-26 (57.7 percent) at the foul line. The Bulldogs are shooting 63.4 percent from the charity stripe over their last five games. Clarke has scored in double figures in nine straight games since returning from a neck injury.

VCU is coming off a solid 75-71 road victory over Xavier last weekend.  The Rams were dominated in the first half and trailed 39-26 at halftime.  Shaka Smart must have given his team quite a pep talk in the locker room as VCU came out recharged in the second half hitting back to back three pointers and continued to chip away at the 17 point deficit.  The Rams forced Xavier to commit a season-high 22 turnovers as they recorded 12 steals. Troy Daniels scored 19 points, Rob Brandenberg 18 and Treveon Graham 17 for the Rams, who made 6-of-11 3-pointers in the second half. The win at Xavier showed what coach Shaka Smart's team is made of. In erasing a big deficit on the road, VCU improved to 26-8 under Smart after a loss. In a lot of ways, the comeback was simply a product of effort. "In the second half, our guys said, 'We've got nothing to lose, we're down by a lot of points, let's just go after it,'" Smart told reporters.  VCU G Troy Daniels has taken 281 shots this year, 246 from 3-point range. His next make from beyond the arc will be his 100th this season. Virginia Commonwealth is 13-2 at home this season, 6-4 against the spread when playing at the Stuart Siegel Center.

Pick: Both of these team have had nice years once again and both are in a battle for the A-10 title in their first years in the league. I know that VCU is at home where they have gone 13-2 on the year, but I don't feel that they should be a favorite of this much. Butler has just two losses on the year of more than 4 points and they are a solid 6-2 SU on the road. This team play s very hard and in this nationally televised game you can bet they will play hard once again and till the final buzzer. VCU does have the advantage on the offensive end, but Butler gets a slight edge on defense allowing just 62.6 ppg on 41.1% shooting, while VCU allows 63.8 ppg on 44.1% shooting. On the road the Bulldogs have been a bit tougher allowing teams to hit just 38.5% of their shots. Defense will be key here and I feel that Butler's defense will be enough to keep this one close. 


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