Today the Texas Longhorns will do battle with the Butler Bulldogs at Consol Arena in Pittsburgh, PA in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. The game has a start time of 2:45 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on CBS. Current Vegas betting odds have the Longhorns listed as 1.5 point favorites, while the total is set at 124.
Analysis: The Texas Longhorns have not really played well down the down the stretch as they have won just 3 of their last 8 games. The Longhorns went 20-13 overall, but just 8-10 within the Big 12. Still that was good enough to get them an invite to the Big Dance. The Longhorns have been to 31 NCAA Tournaments with 3 Final Fours, but have yet to win it all. Texas has gone 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games, but just 0-6 ATS in their last 6 NCAA Tournament games. The Longhorns have been an average offensive team this year, ranking 164th in scoring (67.9 ppg), 171st in shooting (43.6%), 202nd in 3 point shooting (33.9%) and 65th in FT shooting (72.4%). The defense for this team has been very good this year, ranking 39th in points allowed (60.4 ppg), 4th in defensive FG% (36.8%) and 214th in 3 point defense (34.8%).
The Butler Bulldogs very quietly had a solid year as they went 22-10 overall, while finishing 2nd in the Big East with a 12-6 record. They did lose in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament, but overall their body of work was enough to get them in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs have had good success in the Big Dance, going 19-12 overall, while making it to 2 final fours, but they have yet to win a title. Butler has gone 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 NCAA Tournament games, but just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. The Bulldogs have been a decent offensive team this year, ranking 112th in scoring (69.6 ppg), 149th in shooting (43.9%), 107th in 3 point shooting (35.8%) and 229th in FT shooting (68.0%). The defense for this team has been very good this year, ranking 47th in points allowed (61.2 ppg), 107th in defensive FG% (41.6%) and 26th in 3 point defense (30.6%).
Pick: I will go with the under here as this one really has the feel of a 60-57 type of game. Texas is not a good offensive team and they come in averaging just 62.4 ppg in their last 5 games in regulation and just 64.0 ppg away from home. Butler has also struggled on offense of late as they have averaged just 61.2 ppg (Regulation) in their last 7 games. Defensively these teams have been very good of late as the Bulldogs have allowed just 56.8 ppg (Reg) in their last 5 games, while the longhorns have given up just 58.8 ppg (Reg) in their last 5 games, plus Texas has allowed just 58.5 ppg in their 4 neutral site games. Two slow paced team that don't shoot the ball very well vs a couple of tough defenses is the perfect recipe for a game to put no more than 120 points on the board.
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Handicapping Tips: NCAA Tournament Round 1
Steve Fezzik and Teddy Covers from Pregame.com give some insight and tips on handicapping the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament.