Florida Gators vs. Butler Bulldogs
The Florida Gators are 3-point favorites over the Butler Bulldogs for the right to play in the NCAA Final Four.Â The over/under total for the game is set at 131.Â The game is being played on a neutral court in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Butler, a mid-major power from the Horizon League, has won at least 20 games for six consecutive seasons. The Bulldogs nearly upset Duke in last years NCAA Tournament championship game, losing 61-59 as seven-point underdogs. The 26-9 Bulldogs were underdogs in all three of their NCAA Tournament games this season. They probably shouldnt have been an underdog to #4 seed Wisconsin. That was proven this past Thursday when Butler beat the Badgers, 61-54, as 4-point underdogs. The combined 115 points dipped der the 123-point total. Butler reached that game by getting past Old Dominion, 60-58, as one-point underdogs in the first round. The combined 118 points went der the 123-point total. The Bulldogs took out Pittsburgh, the top seed in the Southeast Regional, 71-70 as eight-point underdogs in the second round. The combined 141 points went er the 125-point total. Few anticipated the Bulldogs being this close to another Final Four appearance after losing Gordon Hayward to the NBAs Utah Jazz. But the Bulldogs still have star power with forward Matt Howard and guard Shelvin Mack. Mack is averaging 19.3 points per game in the tournament while Howard is averaging 17 points a game.
Florida, 29-7, last reached a regional final in 2007 when it won the tournament for the second consecutive year. The Gators have tremendous depth inside with Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Chandler Parsons, Vernon Macklin, Alex Tyus, Patric Young and Erick Murphy. They also have an excellent backcourt in Kenny Boynton, who had 17 points and five assists versus BYU, and playmaker Ervin Walker. Florida coach Billy Donovan has a veteran team with all five starters back from last year. The Gators have posted 13 consecutive seasons of at least 20 victories. The Gators are 9-1 against the spread in their last 10 games.
In todays game I see Florida winning the game quite handily.Â Butler has had a great run in the tournament once again but Floridas depth will wear down Butler.Â I look for Florida to win and cover the 3-point margin nd move on to the Final Four being played in Houston, TX.
Florida Gators -3 Butler Bulldogs