Xavier Musketeers vs. Butler Bulldogs Gambling Odds from Bookmaker
NCAA Basketball Spread: Xavier -6
Two of the best mid-major college basketball programs from the last few years will meet in Indianapolis Wednesday night. Butler has made an appearance in two straight NCAA Championship Games, and Xavier has been a perennial power in the Atlantic 10. The Musketeers haven’t been able to get to the Final Four, but this year they are really stacked. Can Xavier take down Butler on their home floor and keep their unblemished record?
Tu Holloway may be the best point guard in the country. Holloway is averaging 18 points per game, and he shoots 50% from the three-point line. He has only committed 12 turnovers all season despite having the ball in his hands constantly. Holloway is one of those players that is simply good at just about everything, and he is a great team leader. Kenny Frease gives the Musketeers a great presence inside. Frease has racked up 15 blocks already this year. He is averaging 9.5 points per game. Xavier’s offense is averaging 74 points per contest in 2011. The Musketeers are good from beyond the arc, and they get a lot of second chance opportunities. Xavier also plays very good defense. Opponents are scoring just 62.5 points per game against the Musketeers.
Butler lost a lot when Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack exited after last season. Howard was the team’s heart and soul in the low post, and Mack was the team’s play maker at the point guard position. The offense has appeared lost without them this year. Brad Stevens is one of the best coaches in the business, but it is clear the Bulldogs don’t have the talent that they have had in recent years. The entire team has really struggled from beyond the arc. Butler is shooting just 29% from three-point range this year. Opponents are knocking down 37% of their three-point attempts. The Bulldogs have been sending their opponent to the line far too often this season. The Bulldogs enter this game at 4-4, with two overtime losses.
This is definitely a tough one to figure out. Butler is 35-15-1 in their last 51 games as an underdog. At the same time, this year’s team isn’t on the same level as those Butler teams were. Xavier is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games. I think the Musketeers have too much talent for the Bulldogs in this one.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Xavier -6
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