Longhorns To Stuff Butler in PK80 Tournament

Willie Bee

Thursday, November 23, 2017 12:49 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017 12:49 PM UTC

College basketball bettors and fans are treated to a huge lineup on Thanksgiving that includes Butler tangling with Texas in the PK80 Tournament.

Butler Bulldogs vs Texas Longhorns

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Free NCAAB Pick: Texas -1½ (-105)Best Line Offered: at Heritage

A lot is being made about this year’s PK80 Tournament which is an early 80th birthday celebration for Nike founder and University of Oregon benefactor Phil Knight, and the hype is well-founded for the 16-team event that serves up several matchups that fit the criteria for being March Madness previews.

Take one of the opening round games on Thanksgiving pitting the Butler Bulldogs and Texas Longhorns. ESPN will carry the 7 PM (ET) tip from Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland where Texas is priced -1½ to -2 at SBR’s top sports books with 146½ for the scoreboard target.


Butler’s Strength In The Frontcourt

Both teams entered the campaign ranking in the top 30-40 of most polls, and each is currently outside the top 25 of the two conventional polls but still getting some love from the voters. LaVall Turner’s team begins the tournament with three wins and a loss, the setback coming at Maryland as a 5 point underdog on the NCAA basketball odds and couldn’t find the bucket in an off-shooting performance.  Give the Terps some of the credit for holding the Bulldogs to 65 points on 23-of-67 (34%) from the field.

Butler reached 82+ in the three wins while connecting on at least 50% of its attempts. Seniors Kelan Martin (15.0 pts, 8.3 reb) and Tyler Wideman (12.3 pts, 4.0 reb) form a strong frontcourt duo with Kamar Baldwin (13.8 pts) leads a deep backcourt that will only get better once prized freshman Aaron Thompson gains a little experience and confidence.

 Freshman Bamba Already Taking Charge For ‘Horns

It might have been more than six years ago when he was directing VCU, but don’t think Shaka Smart doesn’t remember his lone battle against Butler. It came in the Final Four, the Bulldogs knocking his Rams out of the event after a solid run, and he’d certainly like to even up that score to keep moving on in the winners bracket of this tourney.

Smart has some talent of his own in the frontcourt with much of the country getting their first look at Mo Bamba, the 6-11 freshman center teamed down low with 6-9 junior Dylan Osetkowski. This will be the Longhorns’ first lined game of the season.

The only time these schools met came in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, Butler posting a 56-48 decision as a 2 point underdog. I do believe both teams will post scores in the 70s, which makes the ‘over’ an inviting play, but will instead back Big Mo and the Longhorns with my free college basketball pick.

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