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Elite 8 Betting – Butler Keeps Rolling Through Elite 8

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/6/2014 2:36:43 AM

The two regional finals on tap this Saturday in the 2011 NCAA Tournament are two matchups that hardly anyone predicted before the start of this event. Expect the unexpected this weekend.

NCAA basketball betting:Southeast Regional Final: (8) Butler vs. (2) Florida

Here’s the biggest thing you need to do in advance of this matchup, which tips off at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday and leads off the first of two Elite Eight doubleheaders (with the second double-dip coming on Sunday in the Southwest and East Regionals): Ignore the seeds. Butler might be a No. 8 seed, but the Bulldogs are playing at a Final Four level. Butler might have lost all concentration and focus in the latter stages of Thursday night’s 61-54 win over fourth-seeded Wisconsin, but the Bulldogs were never in danger of losing. Wisconsin, down by 13 points at 53-40 with just over three minutes left, pulled within four points on a couple of occasions but never got the deficit down to one possession (three points or fewer). Moreover, the Badgers never had the ball when trailing by four points, either. Butler’s defense limited Wisconsin to one field goal – one! – over a stretch of 14 minutes in the Southeast Regional semifinals. That’s the kind of defense Butler played a year ago en route to the NCAA national championship game against Duke. Coach Brad Stevens has Butler playing phenomenal halfcourt defense, and that’s bad news for a Florida team that takes a lot of bad shots. The Gators hoisted way too many three-pointers against BYU on Thursday. Florida got whatever it wanted when it pounded the ball inside and attacked the paint, but whenever the Gators remained chained to the perimeter and never made a foray to the rim, they chucked a long-distance shot that almost always missed the mark. Florida needs to be patient in this game and use its size on the glass to great effect. However, the Gators simply aren’t known for their prudence at the offensive end of the floor. Butler might not score a lot of points, but it usually defends well enough to win games just the same. The team with experience at this stage of the tournament is not the regular-season SEC champion; it’s the winner of the Horizon League tournament. This will be a close game, but Butler’s March Madness run last year should come into play at crunch time.

March Madness betting: West Regional Final: (5) Arizona vs. (3) Connecticut

If you thought that Arizona would not only beat Duke but humble the defending national champions, you probably don’t need any advice on the betting play for this game. The Wildcats are riding a tidal wave of momentum and will be playing in Anaheim, California, where a lot of Arizona alumni reside. This will be a semi-home game for the Wildcats, who have come out of nowhere to reach the Elite Eight after very nearly getting eliminated in round one against Memphis. Coach Sean Miller’s Arizona ballclub is full of confidence and belief.

There’s just one problem for the Cats: Their opponent this Saturday (7:05 p.m. Eastern time) is on an even bigger roll. Connecticut won five games in five days to claim the Big East Tournament championship and earn a No. 3 seed in the West Region. The Huskies have won eight straight games, six of them against NCAA Tournament teams that have been seeded sixth or higher. UConn and coach Jim Calhoun have completely transformed themselves over the course of three weeks. Superstar Kemba Walker is once again playing like the man who dominated the Maui Invitational in late November. Meanwhile, freshman Jeremy Lamb is white hot, having hit 9 of 11 shots in Thursday’s regional semifinal win over San Diego State. Big man Alex Oriakhi grabbed a huge offensive rebound before feeding Lamb for the game-deciding triple on Thursday night against San Diego State. Ultimately, UConn’s size and power near the basket should be the difference. Arizona is a hot team, but Connecticut is even hotter at the moment.

Sports betting picks: Butler over Florida, Connecticut over Arizona



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