Winthrop vs. Butler Pick

March Madness: Will Butler cover a double-digit spread vs. Winthrop? 3/16/17

Should No. 4 Butler run into any trouble when it takes on No. 13 Butler in today’s NCAA Tournament first round game at 1:30PM ET?

According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Butler is the favorite in this game, as the Bulldogs are getting odds of -11 points against Winthrop. The over/under total for the game is listed at 145 points. These two have no recent meetings and this game will take part in the South Region and air on TNT from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Butler got an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament after going 23-8 on the season and 12-6 in the Big East. The Bulldogs are 17-12 against the spread on the season while averaging 76.3 points per game on offense and allowing just 68.4 per game on defense. Kelan Martin is leading the team with 16.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while Andrew Chrabascz is adding 11 points and 3.2 assists per contest.

Winthrop got the automatic bid by winning the Big South Tournament. The Eagles are 26-6 on the season and went 15-3 in conference play to win the regular-season title as well. Winthrop has won eight straight coming into March Madness. Winthrop was just 3-4-1 against the spread this season in eight lined games. The Eagles averaged 79.3 points per game on offense this season while allowing 71.2 on defense. The team has been led by Keon Johnson, who averages 22.5 points per game while shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point land. Xavier Cooks adds 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest.

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It’s hard to get a real in-depth look at what to expect from Winthrop because of its limited competition against top-level opponents. The Eagles did defeat Illinois this season and lost 100-86 at Florida State. Butler hasn’t exactly been playing well the last two weeks and they were just 4-3 ATS as a double-digit favorite this season. With the NCAA Tournament, single players can really take over games and Winthrop has two capable guys in Johnson and Cooks. Johnson can shoot the lights out from the outside and Cooks can work in the paint. Assuming the two stay out of foul trouble, I like this game to be close.

 

MARCH MADNESS PREDICTION: WINTHROP +11

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