Predictions are ready in the college basketball game between VCU and Butler.
The #8 seeded Butler Bulldogs (27-9) and thee #11 seeded VCU Rams (28-11) will play this afternoon for the right to advance to the 2011 NCAA Basketball championship game, and our final score predictions will help make sense of these two underdog stories. Las Vegas has Butler a small wagering favorite and this one has a 6:09 PM ET start time. The game will be played at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, and VCU’s 17-8 record away from home this year leads Butler’s 15-7 mark.
Injuries don’t figure to play a big part in deciding a winner her, but it is worth noting that VCU guard Ed Nixon (7.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.9 APG) is currently listed as probably after suffering a shoulder injury in his last game. The Rams have made it this far in the NCAA Tournament by beating USC (59-46), Georgia Tech (74-56), Purdue (94-76), Florida State (72-71), and Kansas (71-61), while Butler has advanced with victories over Old Dominion (60-58), Pittsburgh (71-70), Wisconsin (61-54), and Florida (74-71).
Butler scores 71.8 points per game on the season and has capable shooters from inside and long range, but the Bulldogs are even better at playing lockdown defense. This team allows opposing squads to shoot just 42.7% from the field and their perimeter defense will play a huge part in this game as the Rams are lights out from 3-point range. The Bulldogs haven’t been playing great offense in recent clashes, but they can definitely win this game if they can frustrate VCU’s offense like they’ve done to other teams in the tournament.
VCU’s offense also averages 71.8 points per game this season and their 37.0% shooting from long range makes this team tough to guard. The Rams have been shooting 43.8% from 3-point range over their last 5 games but their defense hasn’t been as statistically strong as Butler’s this season. VCU is not a good rebounding team and I’m expecting Butler to control the boards while also taking better care of the ball in the turnover department.
Ultimately, I think VCU would have to stay ridiculously hot from beyond the arc to win here and I just don’t see it happening against a defense as active as the Bulldogs’. Butler should be able to score points on second chance shots while playing tough defense and taking care of the ball better. The Bulldogs are my choice to win here and last year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament runner-up should get another shot at the glory against the winner of the Kentucky and Connecticut game.