No. 4 Butler is not going to be given much of a chance to win its Sweet 16 showdown on Friday in the South Region, but don't sell the Bulldogs short going up against the betting odds vs. No. 1 North Carolina.
South Region, Sweet 16, Memphis, Friday, 7:10 p.m. ET
NAT TV: CBS
Butler (25-8, 19-12 ATS) is in the Sweet 16 for the first time in six years, and though the Bulldogs are a real long shot to win it all they bring a lot to Friday night's game with North Carolina. The first aspect to understand about the Bulldogs is their roster has great versatility; thus, to hone in on one player leaves too many options for Coach Chris Holtmann's crew. Their field-goal percentage defense of 44.2 percent is ordinary, yet Butler holds opposing teams to 68.2 PPG when they normally score 75 PPG. Also, these Bulldogs are rugged, sporting 12-5 and 11-6 ATS away records.
North Carolina Breakdown
No way to sugarcoat it, North Carolina (29-7, 18-16-1 ATS) was fortunate to survive Arkansas on Sunday. Up 32-17, over the next 20 minutes and 38 seconds the Tar Heels were outscored 48-28 and needed a 12-0 end of the game rally to reach Memphis. Butler plays nowhere as frenetic a defense as the Razorbacks, but the Bulldogs are more fundamentally sound in all areas and will not commit the kind of mistakes that doomed the Hogs. Let's face it, North Carolina has the talent yet still lost seven times, and them giving seven points against the college basketball odds when they are only 8-13 ATS away would be a cause for consternation.
What To Watch For
For college basketball picks, based solely on pure talent, North Carolina should win by double digits. However, unless Butler has a horrific shooting night (think national championship against UConn in 2011), it has the components and style of play to make life a challenge for the Tar Heels and can cover the spread.