The 6th ranked Villanova Wildcats will encounter a huge test tonight facng a Butler Bulldogs who has quietly snuck into the AP top 25 with 5 consecutive victories and are tuning up for tournament time.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 pm ET tonight at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NCAA basketball odds board lists Villanova as a 2 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 129.5
Both teams are very stingy defensively as Villanova allows 60.3 points per game while Butler averages 61 points per game.Butler is one of those teams which is never given enough credit and sneaks up come NCAA Tournament time and makes a big splash. The Big East is a great conference for Butler to be in. Aside from Villanova, teams like Seton Hall and St.John's are good, but a level below Butler and this has enabled the Bullogs to pad their record, so to speak.
While Butler is 12-1 at home, these two teams have met before this season with Villanova winning quite easily, 67-55. In that game, it was the Bulldogs who sealed their own fate as they shot just 35.5% from the field and while Villanova struggled from beyond the arc, they still manage to shoot near 50% percent. Will Butler get that much of a boost from their home court tonight is the main question?
It might be difficult to pronounce his last name and it also might be difficult for the Bulldogs to contain this junior guard out of Langhorne Pennsylvania as he's elevated the level of his play during Villanova's 5 game winning streak.
Arcidiacono, who averages just over 10 pints per ball game while shooting under 40% from the field, has had games of 18 points against DePaul and Marquette respectively and is also coming off of a 20 point performance against Providence. Arcidiacono doesn't take a ton of shots, but he knows how to be aggressive and draw fouls.
In his last 5 games, he's shot 12 for 27 from 3 point range. Villanova head coach Jay Wright, would gladly accept anything near the numbers that Arcidiacono has been putting up lately, but against a good Butler defense on the road, this will be the ultimate test.
Aside from Arcidiacono, leading scorer, Darrun Hilliard II brings consistency and senior leadership to the Wildcats squad and he's played rather well as of late, averaging 15.6 points per game in his last 5 contests. Look for these players to be key factors if Villanova is to come out of Indianapolis with a win.
The Model Of Consistency
Butler's leading scorer, shooting guard, Kellen Dunham, has been a player that the Bulldogs can rely upon on a game to game basis. Dunham is coming off of back to back 20 plus point games against good teams in St. John's and Seton Hall. He's proficient at knocking down the 3-ball and has been the main reason why Butler has been mowing their way through inter-conference play.
Dunham is averaging 50% from the field or better in 3 out of his last 4 games and most importantly, is a 85.8% free throw shooter. If this game is close like it should be, we will see Butler featuring Kellen Dunham with the basketball as he's as a reliable a shooter that you'll see in the Big East Conference.
Look for Butler to pull off the mini-upset as this is the right place and the right time. While Villanova has players in Ochefu and Pinkston that can dominate the boards, the Butler fans will dominate Hinkle Fieldhouse and Butler will have revenge on their minds and have beaten top-level squads before. Expect the upset and add Bulldogs to your NCAA Basketball picks.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Butler +2 at 5Dimes