BUTLER BULLDOGS (2-1)
vs. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (4-0)
Maui Invitational Semifinals – Maui, HI
Tip-off: Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: North Carolina -9, Total: 141.5
North Carolina looks to stay unbeaten, with a spot in the Maui Invitational title game on the line, when it meets Butler Tuesday night.
The Heels blew away Mississippi State in their first round game, allowing them to hold back their starters and stay fresh. Carolina has been a double-digit favorite in all three of its lined games this season, and has covered each time. Butler needed a Rotnei Clark buzzer-beating three to knock off Marquette on Monday afternoon, winning despite an awful shooting performance from behind the arc (4-for-21).
Can the Tar Heels keep their perfect season going? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. This season, the experts are a collective 43-36-2 ATS (54.4%) on Best Bets. StatFox Gary is 9-3 ATS in the past seven days and 65% (11-6 ATS) Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave is 7-1 ATS since Friday, including a perfect 4-0 ATS on Monday. He's at 55% ATS (16-13) for the season. StatFox Scott also had a perfect record on Monday, going 3-0 ATS.
Carolina has leaned on sophomore PF James Michael McAdoo (18.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG) thus far, though it got some big shooting performances from perimeter players to pull away from Mississippi State, a 95-49 win. SG Reggie Bullock (11.5 PPG, 52.4% 3-pt FG) scored 16 on 5-for-6 FG and 4-for-5 threes. Off the bench, SG Leslie McDonald (8.3 PPG, 53% 3-pt FG) scored 21 points on 7-of-12 FG (6-of-9 threes), and SG P.J. Hairston (10.0 PPG) added 18 points on 7-of-11 FG (4-of-7 threes) in just 15 minutes. The Heels held MSU to 28.3% FG and 11.8% 3-pt FG.
Butler is leaning on its new backcourt of Arkansas transfer Clark (16.0 PPG) and freshman Kellen Dunham (11.0 PPG). Clark, who averaged 14.2 PPG and hit 42% of his three-pointers in three seasons for the Razorbacks, has been a little off in the early going for Butler. He scored 20 against Marquette but needed 21 shots to get them. In their previous game, a loss at Xavier, he scored just seven points on 3-for-11 FG and 1-for-7 3-pt FG. After scoring double-digits off the bench in his first two collegiate games, Dunham drew his first career start in the Marquette win, but was largely invisible (four points, all from the line). PF Khyle Marshall (15.0 PPG on 58% FG, 5.7 RPG) stepped up in the win, going for 24 points (11-for-15 FG) and nine rebounds. However, Butler’s undersized frontcourt will have a much harder time on the glass against Carolina's great size.