NCAA Basketball Picks: Xavier vs. Butler

Joe Catalano

Saturday, March 9, 2013 3:18 PM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 9, 2013 3:18 PM GMT

Hinkle Fieldhouse is the stage for the final game of the regular season between the Xavier Musketeers (17-12, 9-6) and the Butler Bulldogs.

This is the time where Butler gets the engine running as they are known for great success at the “Big Dance”.

Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 pm ET on Saturday in Indianapolis, Indiana.

5 Dimes Sportsbook currently lists the Bulldogs as a 7.5 point betting odds favorite and the total for the game is 124.5.

Never Say Never

It’s highly unlikely that Xavier will get an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, but a win against a very solid Butler team will carry some weight as they enter the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. Are they up for the task?

Playing Up to the Competition

Xavier has won 2 out of their last 3 games, each game against a top 25 ranked opponent. In their most recent contest, they defeated the Atlantic 10 leading St. Louis Billikens in overtime, 77-66. The Musketeers basically shutout St. Louis in overtime and proved that this conference is wide open in the distribution of talent and they can beat any team on any given night. Travis Taylor finished the game with 19 points and 19 rebounds.

When Taylor plays well, the Musketeers seem  to win, but without leading scorer Semaj Christon, Xavier will have little success against a team like Butler. Christon is coming off of a 20 point, 7 rebound, 7 assist performance and is averaging 18.5 point and 6.5 assists in his last 2 games.  Since Christon is just a Freshman, he is only going to get better .

Butler does share a recent common opponent in St Louis, but they came out on the short end of the stick. Butler can ill-afford to finish out the regular season at home and to an inferior opponent.

Also, check out our pick on the Notre Dame game!~

Top Dog

The Bulldogs are a well rounded club, but they look to senior  and leading scorer Rotnei Clarke for guidance. Clarke has had great success since transferring for Arkansas and this is last hurrah as a Bulldog. He’s averaging a team leading 16.5 points per game and is shooting 41.9 % from 3 point territory. Look for Clarke to lead the way in this inter-conference grudge match.

Butler has a lot of role players that fit the system such as Roosevelt Jones and Andrew Smith. Forward Khyle Marshall has made the most of his limited time on the court, averaging 13.5 points in his last 2 games. He could possibly be a factor here.

[gameodds]14/223590/43/us[/gameodds]

Head to Head Trends

The Musketeers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 meetings

The Underdog is 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings

Road team is 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings

Overall, the Musketeers have had great success in covering the spread in 11 out of 16 Atlantic 10 games.

Outcome

I’m usually a Butler backer, but not here. Xavier has played up to the competition has proven they can not only cover the spread as a dog, but they can win these type of games. There will be some urgency in this game and I expect Christon and Taylor to be big contributors. Take Xavier to cover against Butler for your college basketball Picks.

NCAAB  Pick: Xavier +7.5 at 5 Dimes

comment here