Butler Bulldogs vs. Old Dominion Monarchs
Two of the hottest teams in the nation collide in a first-round NCAA Tournament Southeast Region game when the eighth-seeded Butler Bulldogs and ninth-seeded Old Dominion Monarchs meet Thursday.Â Old Dominion is a 2-point favorite and the over/under total is set at 122.Â The winner should face the number 1 seed Pittsburgh Panthers in the next round assuming Pittsburgh wins their first game.
Both teams are riding nine-game winning streaks. Old Dominion, winners of the Colonial Athletic Association Conference Tournament, is 13-1 in its last 14 games. The Monarchs, 27-6, finished the season with the highest Ratings Percentage Index of any CAA team, two of which also made it to the NCAA Tournament in regular-season league champion George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth. Its the first time in CAA history that three teams made the NCAA Tournament.Â Led by 6-foot-9 forward Frank Hassell the Monarchs ranked seventh in the nation in rebounding at 40.2 per game. Hassell averages 15 points, shoots 56.1 percent from the field and pulls down 9.6 rebounds per game. Old Dominion wins with defense and rebounding as Notre Dame found out the hard way in first-round action last season. The Irish lost to the Monarchs, 51-50, as 2-point favorites.
The Bulldogs had a tremendous run last season reaching the 2010 Championship Game, losing to Duke, 61-59, as seven-point underdogs. This will be the Bulldogs fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bulldogs, 23-9, arent as good as last season when they had Gordon Hayward, but they still are tough with forward Matt Howard and guard Shelvin Mack. Howard leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 16.7 points per game while Mack puts up 15.2 points per contest. Butler tied for the best mark in the Horizon League with Cleveland State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Bulldogs then won the conference tournament. The der has cashed in five of Butlers last six games. The Bulldogs have gone der during their last five NCAA Tournament matchups.
This should be an excellent game between two team evenly matched.Â Im going to lay off picking a side, but I am going to wager on the der, which is 122.Â Both teams play excellent defense and neither team pushes the ball.Â I think for this game, the only bet is the der