Saint Louis vs. Butler Bulldogs
Tip-off: Friday, February 22, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
The Butler Bulldogs college basketball team is looking healthy and currently coming off one of best defensive performances of the season. YouWager experts believe the team is ready to make a push for their first Atlantic 10 regular-season title.
The 15th-ranked Butler can clear a big hurdle by assuming sole possession of first place — perhaps at least temporarily — with a victory tonight over surging conference leader Saint Louis Billikens.
The Bulldogs (22-5, 9-3) have endured injuries to their three leading scorers in their first A-10 season but trails St. Louis (20-5, 9-2) by only one-half game. Even though a victory tonight would push Butler ahead of the Billikens, No. 24 VCU Rams have an opportunity to improve to 10-3 on Saturday.
Leading scorer Rotnei Clarke was not able to suit up for the last three games in January after severely spraining his neck at Dayton, and center Andrew Smith sat out the team’s only home defeat – versus the Charlotte 49ers on Feb. 13 — with an abdominal injury.
Roosevelt Jones has played the past four college basketball games with an ailing shoulder. While wearing a brace, he had three double-digit scoring performances before finishing with six points in Tuesday’s 68-49 home victory versus last-place Duquesne.
The Bulldogs come into tonight’s most important showdown after giving up their fewest points in 10 games and holding a rival under 40.0 percent shooting for the fourth time in five contests.
However, Butler could certainly use a better defensive effort versus St. louis, who shot 50.0 percent in a 75-58 home win over the Bulldogs on Jan. 31.
The Billikens’ Jordair Jett matched his career high with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and leading scorer Dwayne Evans had 15 while making six of eight shots.
St. Louis also scored 26 points off 23 turnovers, the Bulldogs’ most in one game in 10 years.
According to the college basketball free picks, St. Louis is allowing a conference-low 57.9 points per game and their defensive prowess was once again on display in Tuesday’s 76-62 victory over the Rams.