Big East College Basketball Handicapping: Georgetown Hoyas at Butler Bulldogs

Georgetown Hoyas at Butler Bulldogs
Hinkle Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, Indiana

Saturday, January 11, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: Butler -2
Current Line: Butler -2 1/2
Opening Total: 131
Current Total: 131
Opening Money Line: Butler -135 / Georgetown +115
Current Money Line: Butler -145 / Georgetown +125 

Georgetown is a 2.5 point underdog at Butler Saturday night in Big East action.
Georgetown is a 2.5 point underdog at Butler Saturday night in Big East action.

The 10-4 Georgetown Hoyas travel to Indianapolis to take on the 10-5 Butler Bulldogs in a key Big East match-up Saturday. The two schools are now conference rivals, and are meeting for only the second time ever. Georgetown won the only previous meeting 72-65 in the 2009 Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Georgetown is 2-1 in the Big East behind Villanova, Creighton, and Xavier, who are all 3-0. Butler is in last place at 0-3. The Bulldogs and St. John’s are the only two schools in the new look Big East without a win.

Georget0wn is coached by John Thompson III. The Hoyas have losses to Oregon in South Korea, to Northeastern in a tournament in Puerto Rico, at Kansas, and Wednesday at Providence 70-52. The Providence loss snapped a 3 game winning streak for the Hoyas and it was also the first conference loss for Georgetown. The Hoyas have key wins over Wright State at home, Kansas State and VCU in Puerto Rico, Depaul and St. John’s both at home. Georgetown is 6-7 ATS and the total is 8-5 this season.

Georgetown is outscoring teams 74-65 this season. The Hoyas are #54 nationally in points allowed. Georgetown is shooting 48.8% from the field including 34.4% from 3 point range. The Hoyas are #22 nationally in field goal percentage. Georgetown makes 68% of their free throws. Hoya opponents are shooting 38.6% from the field and 28.9% from 3 point range. Georgetown is #24 in opponents’ field goal percentage and #27 in three point defense. The Hoyas average 35 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.4 per game. Georgetown averages 14.4 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 6.7 steals, and 4.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.7 assists, 13.6 turnovers, 7.1 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.

Hoya guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera averages 17.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. This is a homecoming for Smith Rivera as he went to high school in Indianapolis.  Guard Markel Starks averages 15.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1 steal per game. Center Joshua Smith is questionable because of academics. He averages 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and i steal per game. Forward Jabril Trawick is out indefinitely with a broken jaw. He averages 7.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. Forward Mikael Hopkins averages 6.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. Forward Nate Lubick averages 5.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Aaron Bowen, Reggie Cameron, and Moses Ayegba will also get minutes in the rotation.

Butler is coached by Brandon Miller in his first year. He replaced Brad Stevens who left to take over the Boston Celtics in the NBA. Butler has losses to Oklahoma State and LSU in a tournament in Orlando, a road loss at Xavier, plus home losses to Villanova and Depaul Thursday night 99-94 in double overtime. The Bulldogs have lost 3 straight games. Four of Butler’s five losses are by 5 points or less, and three of them went into overtime. The Bulldogs have key wins over Princeton and Vanderbilt at home, at Ball State, Washington State in Orlando, Purdue, and at Evansville. Butler is 8-5 ATS and the total is 6-7 this season.

Butler is outscoring teams 76-67. The Bulldogs are shooting 45.4% from the field and 35.1% from 3 point range. Butler makes 66.7% of their free throws. Butler opponents are shooting 43.9% from the field and 31.1% from 3 point range.  The Bulldogs average 37.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.6. Butler averages 11.4 assists, 10.8 turnovers, 6.8 steals and 3.9 blocks per game. Bulldog opponents average 11.2 assists, 12.9 turnovers, 6.1 steals, and 3.9 blocks per game.

Butler guard Kellen Dunham averages 18.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Forward Khyle Marshall averages 15.8 points, and 5.7 rebounds per game. Forward Kameron Woods averages 9.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Elijah Brown averages 7.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Forward Erik Fromm averages 7.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. Guard Alex Barlow averages 6.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.1 steals per game.

Georgetown is 6-1 ATS after a straight up loss, 13-5 after failing to cover, 7-3 in Saturday games, 2-5 overall, 1-4 in road games and against teams with winning home records.

Butler is 5-1 ATS against teams with winning straight-up records, 16-5 after failing to cover, 7-3 at home, and overall, 2-5 after scoring more than 90 points, 2-5-1 against Big East teams, and 3-9-2 in Saturday games.

Butler has been a little unlucky losing some very close games. Neither one of these teams rebound very well, but Georgetown could really struggle on the boards without Smith and Trawick. Both teams are comfortable playing in low to mid 70’s. I like Butler to win a close game and claim their first Big East win.

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