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Butler Bulldogs vs. Villanova Wildcats Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/31/13

Villanova Wildcats (11-1) at Butler Bulldogs (10-2)

College Basketball: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 7:30 pm (Hinkle Fieldhouse)

The Line: Butler Bulldogs +4 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: Fox Sports One

The 11th ranked Villanova Wildcats kick off conference play with a visit to face the Butler Bulldogs at 7:30PM on Fox Sports One.

Villanova saw their undefeated season come to an end this past weekend as they fell at former Big East foe Syracuse 78-62. Villanova withstood an early Syracuse run to pull within four at the break.  In the 2nd half, multiple cold shooting spells were the difference as the Orange pulled away in front of a rowdy Carrier Dome crowd.  James Bell led the way for Villanova and was really the only contributor who came to play.  Bell finished with 25 points and 5 rebounds.  The Wildcats other usual contributors struggled mightily -- Jayvaughn Pinkston finished with just 3 points on 1-4 shooting and no other Nova starter scored more than 7.  The Wildcats finished the game 19-50 from the floor and committed 27 team fouls that Syracuse converted into 29-35 at the line.

Butler Bulldogs vs. Villanova Wildcats Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/31/13

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Butler sits at 10-2 on the year and have won five in a row after losing back to back games a few weeks back.  Most recently, the Bulldogs made easy work of the NJIT Highlanders 66-48.  Butler pulled away early in this one but was fueled by a rock solid half court defense.  The Bulldogs forced NJIT into 18-60 shooting and held them to just 16 first half points before loosening the ropes a bit after the break.  Khyle Marshall led the way with 21 and 5 boards and Kameron Woods added 9 points and 12 boards down low.  Butler finished 49% from the floor but struggled from deep, going 3-13 with Kellen Dunham finishing just 1-6 from behind the arc.  The Bulldogs also struggled from the line, shooting 13-23 - they will need to improve in both of these areas as the competition level increases dramatically over the next few weeks as Big East play kicks off.

Some trends to consider -- Villanova is 7-1 against the spread in their last 8 games overall and Butler is 5-1 against the spread in their last 6 Tuesday games.

Butler is very tough at home and while they will certainly be competitive in this game, they will miss the presence of Roosevelt Jones both on the offensive and defensive end.  The Wildcats will get up and down and I don’t foresee a situation where Jayvaughn Pinkston does not impact the game on the offensive end.  I like the Wildcats to get strong games from Pinkston and once again from Bell as they surge to the late win and cover on the road against the Bulldogs.

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Villanova -4

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