SAINT LOUIS BILLIKENS (20-5)
at BUTLER BULLDOGS (22-5)
Hinkle Fieldhouse Ė Indianapolis, IN
Tip-off: Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Butler -2.5, Total: 126
No. 15 Butler will look to cool down sizzling Saint Louis, which heads to Hinkle Fieldhouse for some A-10 action on Friday night.
When these two teams met earlier in the season, the Billikens defense smothered Butler en route to 23 turnovers and a 75-58 victory over the then-No. 9 Bulldogs. That game was the third in what has become an eight-game winning streak for Saint Louis, both SU and ATS. This rematch is critical for the A-10 title with Butler just one game behind the Billikens and Butler finally getting all of its top pieces back together. The Bulldogs are The Bulldogs are 13-1 SU at home, where they take much better care of the basketball (12.4 TOPG).
Can the Billikens keep their win streak alive in a tough environment? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Scott is 58% ATS (19-14) on college hoops Best Bets since Feb. 8, while StatFox Gary is 55% ATS (85-71-3) for Best Bets this season. StatFox Dave is 52% ATS (139-130-5) for the season, and StatFox Brian has been 50% ATS or better in nine of the past 12 days, posting a 5-3 ATS mark (63%) over the past three days.
Jordair Jett (10.0 PPG) led the Billikens to victory in the first meeting, dropping 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting off the bench. With 3.6 APG, Jett leads SLU in passing and is one of the teamís four double-digit scorers. Dwayne Evans (11.8 PPG, 6.9 PPG) is small for his position, but is an efficient scorer, making 52.4% FG. Heís been hot lately, averaging 15.0 PPG and 9.0 RPG in his past four contests. Cody Ellis (11.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG) joins him down low, but needs to up his offensive efficiency, hitting just 37.0% FG. Sharpshooter Mike McCall Jr. (10.0 PPG) rounds out the double-digit scorers, hitting 1.4 threes per game on a 42.2% clip. He broke a long skid with a 15-point showing in Saint Louisí most recent win against No. 24 VCU.
Butler stars Rotnei Clark (17.1 PPG), Andrew Smith (11.3 PPG) and Roosevelt Jones (10.6 PPG) have all dealt with injuries but are now healthy for head coach Brad Stevens. Clark led the way with 17 points in the first meeting against the Billikens, but the trio struggled from the field in the game, going a combined 13-for-32 (41%). Clark is a prolific 3-point shooter, hitting 43.1% from deep and hoisting 8.5 attempts per game, of which he makes 3.7. At 6-foot-11, Smith is the teamís biggest force down low, but can also threaten with a jump shot that stretches opposing defenses. He missed the teamís only home loss of the season, to Charlotte. Jones is an undersized forward at 6-foot-4, but leads the team with 5.8 RPG. Over his past three games, heís averaging 12.0 PPG and 8.3 RPG. Unlike Smith, heís not a shooter, but he is crafty with his small frame down low. He also leads the team with 3.4 APG. Sizy 6-foot-6 SG Kellen Dunham (10.5 PPG) is effective on the perimeter and the teamís final double-digit scorer, though Khyle Marshall (9.9 PPG) is also a key cog in the offense.