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March Madness Betting – Bulldogs vs. Panthers Free Round 2 Pick

2011 NCAA Tournament Predictions – Butler Bulldogs vs Pittsburgh Panthers Preview

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#8 Butler vs. #1 Pittsburgh
NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET – SOUTHEAST REGION
Date/Time: Saturday, March 19, 7:10 p.m. ET
Venue: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Broadcast: CBS
Butler Bulldogs vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Betting Lines from Sportsbook.com
Money Line: OFF
Spread: Pittsburgh -7.5
Over/Under: 128

Check Out Our Indepth CBB ATS Betting Stats For This Game —>
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Butler Bulldogs (24-9)

It seemed like more bettors were talking up No. 9 seed Old Dominion than they were Butler in the Southeast Region of the March Madness bracket. Low and behold, Butler stunned OD with a buzzer beater from Matt Howard to win 60-58 on Thursday. Suddenly, the Bulldogs have a chance to become a Cinderella story and tournament darling if they can do the unthinkable against Pittsburgh.

So does Butler have a chance at all? The Bulldogs are certainly as confident as they could possibly be entering their round-of-32 battle with Pitt. Butler has won 10 straight games, going 6-3-1 against the spread over that time. It relied on a balanced attack to beat Old Dominion, with Howard and Shelvin Mack scoring 15 points while Andrew Smith added 11.

Most encouraging for Butler in the win was that its three best players were its three best players in crunch time. It’ll need that to happen again Saturday if it wants a shot against Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Panthers (28-5)

It was business as usual for Pittsburgh to open the NCAA Tournament. The Southeast Region’s top-seed was a 17.5-point favorite over N.C. Asheville and delivered with a 74-51 victory. As we often see with No. 16 seeds, the Bulldogs hanged around early and trailed by just five points at halftime before Pitt blew them out in the second half. Online Sports Betting at Sportsbook

Not surprisingly, Ashton Gibbs ran the show. He scored a game-high 26 points on 9 of 16 shooting and was an assassin from beyond the arc, draining three of six trey attempts. Strangely, Brad Wanamaker scored only six points and attempted just three shots. For now, we’ll assume that’s an anomaly and that the All-Big East Team member will be much more involved against Butler.

Trends:

BUT are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 Sat. games.
Under is 8-1 in PITT last 9 overall.
Over is 8-3 in PITT last 11 non-conference games.

The pick:

The buzzer-beater will probably go down as the highlight of Butler’s tournament. The Bulldogs are no slouches and they could theoretically make Pittsburgh sweat a bit with their shooting ability but the Panthers are in another class. They’re a far superior rebounding team and, if Gibbs keeps shooting like he did against N.C. Asheville, that’s just gravy.

The spread is a tough decision for Saturday. I think it’ll be very close. I see Pittsburgh winning by at least five but by no more than 10, so 7.5 points is tricky. Since Pitt still looked sharp without Wanamaker even doing anything on Thursday, I say it comes back strong again on Saturday and (narrowly) eclipses the spread. The Panthers are 11-6 ATS over their last 17 games.

Prediction: Pittsburgh 70, Butler 62

Money Line: OFF
Spread: Pittsburgh -7.5
Over/Under: OVER 128

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.


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