Horizon League Basketball: Butler Bulldogs Welcome the Cleveland State Vikings into Hinkle Fieldhouse

Cleveland State Vikings at Butler Bulldogs
Friday, 1/13/12, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPNU
Opening Point Spread:  Butler -3
Current Betting Line:  Butler -3
Opening Total:  118
Current Total:  120.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Butler Bulldogs own a 30-7 all-time record against the Cleveland State Vikings

Cleveland State enters this contest with a 14-3 overall record and tied for first place in the Horizon League.  The Vikings won two of three in their recent homestand, going ‘over’ the posted total in each contest, including a 69-48 win over Loyola Chicago on Saturday.  The program has had very little success in this particular series, winding up on the losing end in 30 of 37 meetings, including five losses in a row.  Cleveland State is 1-5 ATS when playing with five or six days of rest the last two-plus seasons.

The Vikings take care of the basketball and rank 12th nationally with a plus-4.5 turnover margin, while sitting 16th in three-point percentage defense.  Cleveland State has been on fire from beyond the arc in the past five games, hitting 48-of-100 shots.  Winning on the road is something the team has taken pride in during the 2011-12 campaign, capturing seven of eight true road games away from the Wolstein Center.  Three senior starters currently average in double figures—led by forward D’Aundray Brown, who is scoring 12.6 points a night.

Butler has faced a first-place Cleveland State squad in the last three meetings in this series, as it looks to bounce back from a disappointing 76-65 loss to the Detroit Titans as two-point road underdogs last time out.  It’s important to note that the program suffered its first two-game homecourt losing streak during the Brad Stevens era earlier this year.  The team is still a dominating 158-22 inside Hinkle Fieldhouse since the start of the 1999-2000 campaign.  Butler is 0-5 ATS as a favorite this season.

The Bulldogs last five wins have come by an average margin of 3.2 points per contest, with each being decided in the final minute of play.  Butler will certainly need to improve upon its defensive effort in this affair, as it allowed Detroit to shoot 56.3 percent from beyond the arc last time out.  Junior Andrew Smith has been a force offensively over the past five games, hitting 24-of-36 shots from the field.  He averaged 15.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in three games against tonight’s opponent last year.

Bettors will likely back the Bulldogs due to their 4-1-1 ATS as a home favorite of 6.5 points or less, while the Vikings are 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games.

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