Mon, Apr 4, 10:17pm by Kevin Pitstock
Where: Reliant Stadium Houston, Texas
When 1:02 PM AEST April 5, 2011
This is the Sampson vs. Goliath affair. The BCS Major conference UConn Huskies taking on the Mid-major conference Butler Bulldogs for the National Championship. Butler comesinto the game with 28-9 record from the Horizon League. UConn starts with a 31-9 record from the Big East conference where they finished 9th for the season. Let’s preview the teams and then make our free pick for this game.
The Huskies have shown they are most likely the quickest team to play in the NCAA tourney and arguably have the best player with Kemba Walker suiting up for them. Walker leads the team in many offensive categories. He scores at a 23.7 points a game clip, and hands out 4.6 assists a game. He is also a tenacious defender where he has accumulated 1.9 steals per game. His compliment is Alex Oriakhi that grabs 8.7 rebounds per game and blocks 1.6 shots a game from his position inside the lane. Oriakhi also shoots 50% from the field. Jeremy Lamb contributed 12 points and 8 rebounds in their win over Kentucky in the semi finals.
The team averages 72.9 points a game and out score their opponents by 7.5 points per game. From the field they shoot 43.6% and fire in one third of their 3-point attempts. They are a 76% free throw shooting team. Rebound is a plus and a key to winning this game. The Huskies gather in 39.3 boards per game which is 8 more per game than their opposition.
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The Bulldogs are back in the championship game for the second year in a row. Don’t count out that experience as 34 year old coach Brad Stevens has put together a very fundamentally sound team. The team averages 72 points a game and allow their opponents to score 66 a game. From the field they shoot 44% along with 35% from beyond the 3-point arc. They are successful from the free throw line on 73% of their attempts. Rebound is a plus for Butler as they grab 6.4 boards more than the teams they are playing.
Matt Howard is the leading scorer for the team at 16.7 points a game and he grabs 7.8 rebounds a game to go along with add a block every other game. Shelvin Mack tosses around 3.5 assists per game and Ronald Nored contributes 1.1 steals per game. In their win over VCU in the semi finals Mack led the team with 24 points and Howard added 17 to go with Shawn Vanzant’s 11 points.
Pick and Prediction
Defense and quickness will be seen through this game.Butler will have the big game experience but UConn plays a tougher conference schedule and knows to be tough. The Bulldogs will have some trouble keeping UConn off the boards and the Huskies have the best player in the game with Kemba Walker possibly taking over the game to determine the outcome. The odds according to Sportsbet is UConn is favored by -3 for the game. We have some confidence in this that the Huskies will cover the spread and win the game.
Our pick: UConn -3
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