NCAA Tournament Round 2 Game: Murray State Racers (31-4 SU 15-14-1 ATS) vs. Butler Bulldogs (29-4 SU 14-19 ATS) HP Pavilion at San Jose, San Jose, CA 3:20 PM EST Saturday March 20, 2010 on CBS
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Murray State +4.5 / Butler -4.5
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In a 2nd round match up in the West Region the 5th seed Butler Bulldogs take on the 13th seed Murray State Racers. Murray State made the 2nd round with a major upset over 4th seed Vanderbilt 66-65 with a last second buzzer beater while Butler had an easier time in crushing UTEP 77-59.
Both of these teams come into this game on fire and not just because they won their opening round games. The Racers won the Ohio Valley Conference and they won 22 of their last 23 games including winning their last 5. President Obama even predicted they would beat Vanderbilt in the 1st round. Butler may be the hottest team in the NCAA tournament, as the Horizon League winners have won 21 straight.
Murray State has one of the most well balanced offenses in the Big Dance with 2 forwards, 2 guards, and a center averaging in double figures. There is no big gun for the Racers, as every player averaging in double figures averages between 10 and 11 ppg.
Both of these teams have solid defenses with each only allowing opponents to score an average of around 60 ppg.
Butler is led by their star G/F of Gordon Hayward (15.3 ppg 8.3 rpg), who leads the team in scoring and rebounding. He is the Bears go to guy and he has to play better than he did in the opening round win where he only had 13 points on 2-8 shooting, but he did get to line hitting on 9 of his 11 free throws.
Murray State did not play a tough non-conference schedule this season while Butler did playing such teams as Minnesota, Clemson, Georgetown, Xavier, and Ohio State, who they beat.
Both teams have to play solid perimeter defense, as each can really shoot from downtown. In Murray State’s win over Vanderbilt they shot a 3-pt FG% of 46.7% and in Butler’s win over UTEP they shot a 3-pt FG% of 41.9%. The Racers really have to worry about Butler’s G Shelvin Mack, who hit on 7 of his 9 long balls in their opening round win.
Butler beat UTEP 77-59 in the 1st round and the Bears outscored the Miners 50-26 in the 2nd half. The high scorer for Butler in the game was Shelvin Mack going for 25 points on 8/13 shooting. For the game the Bulldogs shot 23/50 from the field for a FG% of 46%. On D Butler was solid holding UTEP to 24/57 for a FG% of 42.1%.
In their 1st round game Murray State beat Vanderbilt 66-65. The high scorer for Murray State in the game was Isacc Miles going for 17 points on 5/9 shooting. For the game the Racers shot 25/60 for a FG% of 41.7%. On defense the Racers allowed Vanderbilt to shoot 22/50 for a FG% of 44%.
According to the Sagarin NCAA basketball ratings Butler ranks 14th (87.36) and Murray State ranks 49th (82.96).
Murray State is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog, 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games against teams with a winning record, and 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
Murray State has an Under record of 4-0 in their last 4 games, an Over record of 4-1 in their last 5 games as an underdog, and an Under record of 4-1-1 in their last 6 games against teams with a winning percentage above 60%.
Butler is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against teams with a winning record, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite of 0.5-6.5, and 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games following a ATS win.
Butler has an Under record of 5-1 in their last 6 games, an Under record of 5-1 in their last 6 games as a favorite, and an Over record of 4-0 in their last 4 games as a favorite of 0.5-6.5.
Jason’s Pick: WRONG TEAM FAVORED! As hard as it may be to digest, Murray State is a better BOTH on the offense and defensive end. Take the points and maybe even grab a tiny piece of the moneyline here as I believe Murray State wins straight up as a +4.5 underdog!