Story Ends for No. 12 Middle Tennessee in Close Loss to No. 4 Butler

middle tennessee

Friday, March 17, 2017 5:15 PM GMT

Just one game in the South Region on Saturday, but it should be a beauty with Cinderella No. 12 Middle Tennessee taking on No. 4 Butler on TBS. The winner heads to the Sweet 16. 

No. 12 Middle Tennessee vs. No. 4 Butler

South Region, second round, Saturday, Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m. ET

NAT TV: TBS

Middle Tennessee Breakdown

Right from the start, Middle Tennessee 31-4, 22-10-2 ATS) was absolutely fearless against Minnesota on Thursday, and once they built a working margin -- other than one run -- the Blue Raiders never lost confidence. Two things stood out and could mean something in this contest: MT played like it expected to win and thoroughly dominated the Golden Gophers on the glass with a +13 rebound margin. If the Blue Raiders are to beat the college basketball odds of +4.5 here, they will have step up their play and be even mentally stronger. They are 15-5 ATS playing against a team with a winning record this season.

Butler Breakdown

As tough as MT is, Butler (24-8, 18-12 ATS) is even more rugged. The Bulldogs are aptly named, and after a couple of indifferent showings in defeat Butler was fully engaged against Winthrop from the start in leading wire-to-wire. The Bulldogs are starless yet as fundamentally sound as any team left in the field, seldom beating themselves. In this conflict, they will have to box out to keep the Blue Raiders off the boards and play outstanding help defense to prevent Middle Tennessee from attacking the basket. Butler is 8-2 ATS playing against teams with an 80 or higher win percentage this season.

What To Watch For

For college basketball picks, Butler seems like the easy choice, coming from a bigger conference (Big East) and playing more difficult competition, but Middle Tennessee is not a fluke. Not calling for the upset, but I view this as one possession outcome.

NCAAB Free Pick: Middle Tennessee +4.5

Best Line Offered: JustBet

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3176488, "sportsbooksIds":[1275,19,1096,93,274], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]