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Butler vs Michigan State Picks – Hometown Bulldogs use tough defense to confuse Sparty

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/30/2010 11:19:37 AM
NCAA Betting odds – Butler -1.5

Online betting players are almost through one of the wildest NCAA Tournament of all times, and this matchup will feature a pair of gritty No.5 seeds. Butler will play in the Final Four in their hometown against Michigan State, who got to reach the Final Four in their home state last season, and the Spartans are missing their best offensive player, which is something that the defensive-minded Bulldogs will pounce on.

Butler vs Michigan State Betting Odds: Butler -1.5
  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Saturday, April 3rd, 6:07 PM ET
  • Where: Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
  • Key Stat: Butler hasn’t given up more than 60 points in this Tournament

The Butler vs Michigan State Storyline

The fifth-seeded Bulldogs emerged from the West region with a 63-56 win over Kansas State in the Elite Eight, which followed their upset of top-seeded Syracuse, and Butler will now be heading home to become the first school since UCLA in 1972 to participate in a hometown Final Four. The Bulldogs have now won 24 games in a row.

The Spartans, who are the fifth seed out of the Midwest, knows something about the pressure Butler will face as they played in last year’s Final Four in Detroit, which is a couple of hours away from East Lansing. Michigan State held off Northern Iowa before edging Tennessee 70-69, and while they surely miss injured Kalin Lucas, the Spartans will be a tough out in this battle.

Offensive Matchups

Butler is usually a balanced team, with four players averaging double figures, but Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack are their best players, and they stepped up to combine for 38 of the Bulldogs’ 63 points against Kansas State and their brilliant backcourt. The Bulldogs also had an uncharacteristic 20 turnovers in the contest, and that is something they’ll need to fix before they take on Sparty.

The Spartans had a very efficient offensive day against Tennessee without Lucas, who has a torn Achilles, as they shot 46.2% from the floor, and they had just 11 rebounds. Korie Lucious showed some nerves, though, committing five turnovers and he was just 1-of-7 from the three-point line. Lucious, who hit the buzzer-beater against Maryland in the second round, has responded well to the additional minutes, but he has to take better care of the ball.

Betting Edge: Michigan State

Defensive Matchups

The reason that the Bulldogs’ sportsbook odds are so good in this game is the Butler defense, which has yet to allow a team to break 60 points in the Tournament. They harassed Kansas State into shooting 38.6% from the floor, and they outrebounded the Wildcats 36-27. The Bulldogs can play either zone or man, depending on the opposition, but they’re fundamentally sound, and they know they aren’t going to outscore anyone in a track meet, so they play to their strengths.

The Michigan State defense isn’t as solid as previous years, and they allowed the Volunteers to shoot 51.1% against them, including 7-of-16 from the three-point line. The Spartans are still capable of shutting a team down, and they’re the best in the country on the boards, but they haven’t been consistent on this end of the floor all season .

Betting Edge: Butler

Injuries

We all know about Lucas (Achilles) being out, but there are some other Spartans playing through pain as Chris Allen (foot) and Delvon Roe (knee) are both playing with torn ligaments that will probably require surgery as soon as the Tournament is through for the Spartans.

Betting Edge: Butler

Betting Prediction: Purdue vs Michigan State Picks

The Bulldogs are 1.5-point favorites in their first-ever meeting with the Spartans, who are banged up, but they just keep fighting, like coach Tom Izzo. However, Butler’s Brad Stevens may be in line for a bigger job after guiding his team this far, and he’s come up with some brilliant defensive plans at the dance so far. Lucious had a couple of shaky moments against the Volunteers, and you have to know that the Bulldogs will try to force him into turning the ball over. We just don’t trust Michigan State’s defense to show up for this contest, and they know all about crowd support, but this is different. That was just in the Spartans’ home state: Butler is about 15 minutes from Lucas Oil Stadium, and they’ll have the crowd on their side.

Washington’s Pick: Butler -1.5

For more sports betting picks and tips, check out the Betting Edge at BetOnline before you head to your sportsbook.

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