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Bulldogs vs. Golden Eagles Betting & NCAA Tourney Preview | Free Pick

Bulldogs vs. Golden Eagles NCAA Tourney Spread/Handicapping

The No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles barely avoided being on the wrong end of a Cinderella story Thursday night. They survived a close Round 2 contest, and now they’ll have to face a former Cinderella in the No. 6 Butler Bulldogs.

NCAA Tourney – East Bracket
No. 6 Butler Bulldogs (27-8, 11-5 A 10) vs. No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles (24-8, 14-4 Big East)
Saturday, March 23, 2013
7:45 PM ET
Lexington, KY
Spread: Marquette – 2.5 at WagerWeb
ML: Butler (125), Marquette (-145)
OU: 126

Matchup | Preview

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Butler Bulldogs

The Butler Bulldogs have become a team that quietly dominates year after year. They’ve established themselves as a No. 6 seed, which shows they’re at least earning respect, but they were also a popular choice to be upset in round 2 of the NCAA Tournament.

A 13-point win over the Bucknell Bison quickly put that thought to rest. Rotnei Clarke is going to have an impact on this game one way or the other. If Marquette plays physically with him on the perimeter, his shot could struggle, taking away a vital ingredient to this team’s offense.

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However, if his three-point shot is falling, it is going to put Butler ahead of Marquette in offensive efficiency.

Davidson exposed the fact that Davante Gardner gets removed from Marquette’s offensive equation when he is heavily double teamed. If Butler can take that blue print and put it into execution, it’ll remove the second-leading scorer on the Golden Eagles from this contest.

Andrew Smith, standing nearly 7’0” tall, will be a big part of that defensive attack. [ad-6571516]

Marquette Golden Eagles

Thursday night, the Marquette Golden Eagles took on one of the biggest bracket busters in the Tournament—the No. 14 seeded Davidson Wildcats. Marquette escaped with a one-point win (59-58), and they’ll need to put that one behind them and focus on round 3.

Marquette will be playing a similar team to Davidson, in the sense the Bulldogs are well-coached, extremely organized and disciplined in almost every facet of the game. The difference is that Butler has more talent, and is an even bigger threat to knock them out of the tournament.

In round 3, Marquette has to be more efficient in its offense. Shooting 34.5 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from deep range won’t get it done, and counting on late-game heroics in the form of three-point shooting is more dangerous the deeper you go in the tournament.

Davante Gardner could be a huge x-factor in this game. He averages 11.4 points in just 21.1 minutes, and how many touches he gets—and how he reacts to double teams—could directly affect the outcome of this game.

If Marquette is going to win Saturday, it will have to play with crisper execution than it did against Davidson. It certainly has the ability to outplay Butler on a physical level, but playing physically doesn’t make up for poor offense.

It’s tough to bet against Butler at this point. Their convincing victory over Bucknell set the tone coming into this one, and this is the kind of matchup they’ve played so well in over the last few years.

Prediction: Butler 69 – Marquette 63

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