2017 NCAA Tournament
South Region – First Round
#4 Butler Bulldogs vs #13 Winthrop Eagles
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 1:30 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
BMO Harris Bradley Center – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Opening Line: Butler -11 1/2
Current Line: Butler -11 1/2
Opening Total: 143
Current Total: 144 1/2
Opening Money Line: Butler -700 / Winthrop +500
Current Money Line: Butler -700 / Winthrop +500
The 23-8 Butler Bulldogs take on the 26-6 Winthrop Eagles in the South Region First Round Thursday in Milwaukee. Butler finished second in the Big East with a 12-6 record and are the #4 seed in the region. Winthrop tied for first in the Big South with a 15-3 record and is the #13 seed. The winner will play either #5 Minnesota or #12 Middle Tennessee State in the second round Saturday. Butler and Winthrop have never played in basketball before this meeting.
Winthrop is coached by Pat Kelsey. The Eagles are making their 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 2010. Winthrop has won eight straight games including the Big South Tournament beating Campbell 76-59 in the Championship game March 5.
The Eagles have road losses at Florida State, Dayton, and UNC-Asheville, plus home losses to New Hampshire, Radford and High Point. Winthrop has home wins over Furman, Georgia Southern, UNC-Asheville, Liberty and Gardner Webb. The Eagles have road wins over Manhattan, Illinois, Hampton, Saint Louis, Liberty and Gardner Webb. Winthrop is 3-4-1 ATS and the total is 6-2 this season. The Eagles were 12.5 point favorites against Campbell and the total was 142.
Butler is coached by Chris Holtmann. The Bulldogs are making their 15th trip to the NCAA Tournament including three straight. Butler famously made Cinderella runs to the national championship game in 2010 and 2011. The Bulldogs have lost two straight games including being upset by #7 seed Xavier 62-57 in the Big East quarterfinals last Thursday.
Butler has road losses at Indiana State, St. John’s, Creighton, Providence, plus home losses to Georgetown, Creighton and Seton Hall. The Bulldogs have neutral site wins over Vanderbilt and Arizona in Las Vegas, and Indiana in Indianapolis (but not in Hinkle Fieldhouse), road wins over Utah, Georgetown, DePaul, Seton Hall, Marquette, Villanova, and Xavier, plus home wins over Northwestern, Bucknell, Norfolk State, Cincinnati, Vermont, Providence, Villanova, Xavier, Marquette, St. John’s, and DePaul. Butler is 17-12 ATS and the total is 14-13-2 this season. The Bulldogs were 6 point favorites against Xavier and the total was 143.
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Winthrop is outscoring teams 80-70 this season. The Eagles are #43 in scoring. The Eagles are shooting 45.7% from the field and 37.3% from three point range. Winthrop makes 72% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.5% from the field and 31% from three point range. Winthrop is in the top 30 nationally in both categories. The Eagles average 37.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.2 per game. The Eagles average 12.8 assists, 13.2 turnovers, 6.6 steals and 5.3 blocks. Opponents average 9.9 assists, 14.1 turnovers, 6.1 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.
Keon Johnson averages 22.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Xavier Cooks averages 16.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. Anders Broman averages 8.3 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Roderick Perkins averages 7.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Joshua Davenport, Bjorn Broman, Tevin Prescott, and Duby Okeke will also get minutes in the rotation.
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Butler is outscoring teams 76-68 this season. The Bulldogs are shooting 47.8% from the field and 36.3% from 3 point range. Butler is #33 nationally in field goal percentage. Butler makes 74% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 44.4% from the field and 33.4% from three point range. Butler averages 32.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.7. Butler is #327 in rebounding but #28 in rebounds allowed nationally. The Bulldogs average 13.2 assists, 10.2 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 2.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.2 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 4.9 steals and 2.7 blocks per game.
Kelan Martin averages 16.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. Andrew Chrabascz averages 11 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Kamar Baldwin averages 10 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Avery Woodson averages 8.6 points, and 2.5 rebounds. Kethan Savage averages 8.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Tyler Wideman averages 7.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Tyler Lewis, Nate Fowler and Sean McDermott will also get minutes in the rotation.
Winthrop is 1-4 ATS in non-conference games and as a neutral site underdog.
Butler is 4-0 ATS as an NCAA Tournament game favorite, 9-2-1 after a straight up loss, 20-5-2 in NCAA Tournament games, 11-3-1 in non-conference games, 7-2 after a cover, 38-11-2 in neutral site games, 14-5 as a favorite, 18-8-1 against teams with winning records, 2-6 as a favorite, and 1-4 as a favorite of 7-12.5 points.
Winthrop’s dynamic duo of Johnson and Cooks will create some problems for Butler. The Eagles can certainly pull off the upset as Butler has struggled down the stretch. Still, Butler beat Villanova twice this season, and I like the Bulldogs to escape with a close victory.