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Butler vs Kansas State Picks – Pullen, Wildcats finally rid of pesky Bulldogs

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/26/2010 2:02:48 PM
NCAA Betting odds – Pick Kansas State -4.5

Sports betting players have watched Butler make a major run through the NCAA Tournament, and they’ve reached the Elite Eight for the first time in their history thanks to a stifling team game on both ends of the floor. They’ll meet up with Kansas State in the West regional final on Saturday, and the Wildcats have a versatile offensive game, but their power comes from a guard that has been shooting the lights out.

The Butler vs Kansas State Betting Odds: Kansas State -4.5
  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Saturday, March 27, 4:30 PM
  • Where: EnergySolutions Arena – Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Key Stat: Jacob Pullen is averaging 25.7 points in the Tournament so far

The Butler vs Kansas State Storyline

The Bulldogs reached the Elite Eight for the first time in their history with a 63-59 win over the top-seeded Orangemen of Syracuse, jumping out to a 10-point lead by forcing turnovers. Butler now hasn’t lost since December 22nd, a span of 23 games, and they can win in a number of different ways. The second-seeded Wildcats needed double overtime in a 101-96 classic against Xavier, and you have to wonder if fatigue will be a factor, especially with the early start. The Wildcats are back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1988, and coach Frank Martin is a national Coach of the Year candidate.

Offensive Matchups

The Bulldogs didn’t try to get in a track meet with Syracuse, instead, they slowed the game down to their pace, and set themselves up for good shots. Gordon Hayward led the Bulldogs with 17 points, and Butler turned the ball over just seven times, which kept the Orangemen from getting out and running. Butler is a cerebral team, led by Hayward and Shelvin Mack, and as they showed against the Syracuse zone, the Bulldogs have some quick ball movement, and they take care of the rock.

The Wildcats are a backcourt-powered team, led by Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen, who combined for 53 points. Pullen hit a number of clutch three-pointers in the two overtimes, and he has license to fire from anywhere. Curtis Kelly had 21 points and eight boards, so they can go inside too, but their bread-and-butter comes from the ability of Clemente and Pullen to draw the defense out. They’re not that great at the charity stripe, though.

Betting Edge: Kansas State

Defensive Matchups

Butler pulled off the upset in your sportsbook because of a defense that forced 18 Syracuse turnovers, and they were relentless, especially in the first half to build up a lead. The Orangemen led the nation in field-goal percentage, yet the Bulldogs held them to 43.8% from the field, and Butler sent Syracuse to the foul line just 14 times. Defense is a total team effort with Butler, but they better not get in foul trouble, because they’re not that deep.

Kansas State got sucked into a three-point shooting contest with Xavier and luckily, they came out on top, but they can’t give up another 12 three-pointers and expect to win. The Wildcats also give up a lot of fouls, which is great for an excellent foul-shooting team like Butler, but they do force a fair amount of turnovers. Kelly and Dominique Sutton can take care of the boards.

Betting Edge: Butler

Injuries

Kelly (hand) was injured late in the Xavier game, but he returned and he’ll definitely play on Saturday.

Betting Edge: Even

Betting Prediction: Purdue vs Michigan State Picks

The Wildcats are 4.5-point favorites in their first-ever meeting with the Bulldogs, and this will be a clash of two teams that are mentally strong. The Bulldogs didn’t waver when Syracuse made their run, while the Wildcats won their war of attrition with Xavier. The key in this game may be Kelly, as the Bulldogs aren’t a big team, and Kelly can carve out some space in the paint. The Wildcats are going to have to hit their three-point shots, and with Clemente and Pullen feeling it in the Tournament, especially Pullen, the Wildcats should have enough in the tank to end Butler’s Cinderella run.

Washington’s Pick: Kansas State -4.5

Check out Washington’s Final Four picks in the Betting Edge at BetOnline.

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