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Bulldogs vs. Huskies National Championship Final 4 Pick + Preview

2011 March Madness Tournament Predictions – Butler Bulldogs vs UConn Huskies

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#8 Butler Bulldogs vs. #3 Connecticut Huskies
NCAA TOURNAMENT – Championship game
Date/Time: Monday, April 4, 9:23 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
Broadcast: CBS
Bulldogs vs. Huskies Betting Lines from Bookmaker.com
Money Line: Off
Spread: Wildcats -3
Over/Under: 128.5
Check Out Our Indepth CBB ATS Betting Stats For This Game —>
Bet on The 2011 National Championship Final NOW at Bookmaker.com

The 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion will be crowned tonight when the Butler Bulldogs square-off against the Connecticut Huskies at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Tip-off is set for 9:23 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on CBS.

Butler will be making its second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s title game. Last season the Bulldogs made it to this point but fell two points short of a national title in a 61-59 loss to Duke as a seven-point underdog. This year’s five-game journey to the title game included victories over No.1 seed Pittsburgh in the third round and No.2 seed Florida in the Southeast Region finals. They earned a shot at the title with a 70-62 win over VCU on Saturday night as a 3 ½-point favorite in the Final Four round.

Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack will undoubtedly be the key to beating Connecticut on Monday night as they have led the way for Butler throughout this tournament. Against the Rams Howard found himself in early foul trouble but still came away with 17 points and eight rebounds. Mack put up a team-high 24 points while adding six rebounds of his own in the winning effort.

The Bulldogs won this game on the boards by outrebounding VCU 46-32. More important was their 15-5 edge in offensive rebounds. Head coach Brad Stevens has now led his team to an amazing 10-1 record in the last two NCAA Tournaments combined.

Connecticut began its quest for a national title as a No.9 seed in its five game run through this year’s Big East Tournament. The Huskies took the momentum from winning that championship and funneled it into victories over No.2 seed San Diego State in the Sweet 16 and No.4 seed Arizona in the West Region finals. Their shot at a national title came after pulling out a dramatic 56-55 win over Kentucky as a two-point underdog in Saturday night’s Final Four matchup.

Junior guard Kemba Walker has been simply spectacular in Connecticut’s current 10-game winning streak. He has averaged 25 points a game in this tournament and scored a game-high 18 points in the win over the Wildcats. He also added six rebounds and seven assists just for good measure. Freshman guard/forward Jeremy Lamb and sophomore forward/center Alex Oriakhi have also played a huge role in the Huskies’ success this postseason. Lamb scored 12 points and had eight rebounds against Kentucky while Oriakhi pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds in the winning effort.

The Huskies had to overcome a 1-for-12 performance from three point range and 15 turnovers against the Wildcats, but they built 10 point lead at the half and held off a very talented Kentucky team down the stretch. The overall effort was once again was a testament to the resolve of Jim Calhoun’s team’s desire to win.

If you had the insight and/or guts to wager on either of these teams to win it all, you would be in line for a healthy payday especially if Butler pulls off the upset. Bodog.com had opened the Bulldogs at 200-1 and the Huskies at 28-1 to win the title before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Butler is 8-2 against the spread in its last 10 games overall with the total going ‘over’ in three of its last four games. Connecticut has gone 9-1 ATS in its 10-game run and the total has stayed ‘under’ in five of its last six games.

This game has all the makings of an instant-classic as it should be a battle until the bitter end. Take Walker and the Huskies to win the national title, but stick with Butler to cover with the three points.

Trends:

Under is 6-2 in BUT last 8 Mon. games.
Over is 6-2 in BUT last 8 neutral site games.
Under is 7-3 in BUT last 10 NCAA Tournament games.
UCONN are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall.

The Pick: Butler +3

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