East Third Round Betting: #3 Marquette Golden Eagles vs #6 Butler Bulldogs

2013 NCAA Tournament – East Region Third Round
#3 Marquette Golden Eagles vs #6 Butler Bulldogs
Saturday, March 23, 2013, 7:45 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Rupp Arena – Lexington, Kentucky
Opening Line: Marquette -2 1/2
Current Line; Marquette -1 1/2
Opening Total: 127
Current Total: 126 1/2
Opening Money Line: Marquette -140 / Butler +120
Current Money Line: Marquette -125 / Butler +105

Marquette is a 1.5 point favorite against Butler.
Marquette is a 1.5 point favorite against Butler.

The 23-8 Marquette Golden Eagles tied with Georgetown and Louisville at 14-4 for the Big East title. However, the Golden Eagles were upset by Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. They were still given a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament. Marquette came back from a 49-40 deficit with 6:27 to go against #14 seed Davidson Thursday in the second round. Marquette guard Vander Blue made a driving lay-up with 1.5 seconds left to give the Golden Eagles a 59-58 lead, then stole the in-bounds pass to preserve the win. The loss snapped a 17 game winning streak for Davidson.

Next up for Marquette is a game against the #6 Butler Bulldogs Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky. The winner will face either #2 Miami or # The 26-8 Butler Bulldogs are making their 6th trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last 7 years, after missing last year’s event. Butler played in two straight national championship games before that, an amazing accomplishment for a small school like Butler. After years in the Horizon League, Butler moved to the Atlantic 10 this year, and reportedly will join the new Big East along with Xavier and Creighton. Butler was tied for third in the Atlantic 10 with Temple and LaSalle with an 11-5 record. All three teams were behind 13-3 Saint Louis and 12-4 Virginia Commonwealth. The #5 seeded Bulldogs lost to Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 semifinals 67-56 last Saturday.

The #6 seeded Bulldogs played #11 Bucknell in the second round Thursday. Butler took a 29-18 lead in the second half, but Bucknell then went on a 19-2 run to take a 6 point lead. Butler regained the lead at 43-42 with just under 7 minutes to play. However, Bucknell would go almost 5 minutes without scoring, and Butler took control of the game. The Bulldogs would hold on for the 68-56 win. The Bulldogs held Bucknell center Mike Muscala to 9 points. Muscala is the two time Patriot League player of the year.

Marquette and Butler have played 28 times in history and the series is tied at 14-14. Butler beat Marquette 72-71 in the first round of this season’s Maui Invitational on a buzzer beating 3 pointer from guard Rotnei Clark. After Marquette jumped out to an early 12-2 lead, the game was back and forth. Butler took a 31-30 lead at halftime, and the two teams traded punches in the second half. Marquette and Butler will both be members of the new Big East next season.

Marquette is coached by Buzz Williams. The Golden Eagles have losses to Butler in the Maui Invitational, at Florida, at Green Bay, at Cincinnati, at Louisville, at Georgetown and Villanova. Marquette has key wins over Mississippi St and USC in Maui, Wisconsin, LSU, UConn, Georgetown, Pitt twice, Seton Hall twice, Providence, South Florida twice, DePaul, Syracuse, Notre Dame, at Rutgers, and at St. John’s. Marquette is undefeated at home this season. The Golden Eagles are 13-15 ATS and the total is 15-12 this season.

Marquette is outscoring teams 69-63 this season. The Eagles are shooting 46.7% from the field and 30.1% from 3 point range. Marquette is #34 in field goal percentage. Marquette makes 72.3% of their free throws. The Golden Eagles average 35 rebounds per game and give up 27.6 per game. Marquette is #37 in rebounds allowed.  Marquette opponents are shooting 40.5% from the field and 31.8% from 3 point range. The Eagles average 14 assists, 7 steals, 3 blocks, and 14 turnovers.

Guard Vander Blue averages 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1 steal per game. Forward Davante Gardner averages 11.5 points, and 4.9 rebounds per game. Forward Jamil Wilson averages 9.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. Guard Junior Cadougan averages 8.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.1 turnovers.  Trent Lockett averages 7.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Todd Mayo averages 6.2 points per game. Chris Otule, Steve Taylor, Jr., Juan Anderson, Jake Thomas and and Derrick Wilson also get significant minutes.

Butler is coached by Brad Stevens. The Bulldogs have losses at Xavier, to Illinois in the championship of the Maui Invitational, at LaSalle, Saint Louis 3 times, Charlotte, and at VCU. Butler has key wins over Marquette  and North Carolina in Maui, Ball St, at Northwestern, Indiana in Indianapolis, Evansville, at Vanderbilt, Penn, and Gonzaga. In conference, the Bulldogs have wins over St. Joseph’s, Dayton twice, Richmond, Temple, Rhode island, St. Bonaventure, George Washington, Fordham, Duquesne, Umass, Xavier, and LaSalle. Butler is 19-13-1 ATS and the total is 16-13 this season.

Butler is outscoring teams 69-64 this season. The Bulldogs are shooting 45.3% from the field and 34.8% from 3 point range. Butler makes 68.9% of their free throws. The Bulldogs average 36.7 rebounds per game and give up 26.4 per game. Butler is #13 in rebounds allowed nationally. Bulldog opponents are shooting 41.8% from the field, and 33.3% from 3 point range. Butler averages 13 assists, 6 steals, 2 blocks, and 13 turnovers a game.

Guard Rotnei Clarke averages 16.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Center Andrew Smith averages 11.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. Forward Roosevelt Jones averages 10.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Guard Kellen Dunham averages 9.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. Khyle Marshall averages 9.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Kameron Woods, Erik Fromm, Alex Barlow, and Chase Stigall makes up the rest of the rotation. None of them scores more than 4.6 points per game. Barlow leads the team in steals with 1.2 per game. No Butler player averages more than 0.6 blocks per game.

Butler is 17-5 ATS in NCAA Tournament games, 6-2 in non-conference games, 36-15 in neutral site games, 1-4-1 after a cover, and 0-5-1 in Saturday games.

Marquette is 1-4 after a straight up win, in non-conference games, and 0-4 overall.

This should be another close game like the one in Maui in November. Both teams are comfortable playing in the mid to high 60’s. I think Butler has a good shot at the upset.

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