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The Bulldogs (+3.5*) are an even bigger underdog in the 2011 NCAA Basketball Championship title game than they were last season, when they lost in the final by two points to No. 1 Duke.
Butler was a No. 5 seed before falling to the Blue Devils, but it was an unheralded No. 8 seed before shocking the basketball world to win the Southeast Region this year.
The Bulldogs limped into the Big Dance after an up-and-down season that saw them nearly miss out on the Tournament entirely. Butler needed to win the Horizon League Tournament to guarantee itself a spot in March Madness, but that’s exactly what it did.
Shelvin Mack went for 24 points and six rebounds in the Bulldogs’ 70-62 win over VCU in the Final Four on Saturday night. Butler covered as 3.5-point favourites against Virginia Commonwealth to improve to 5-0 ATS in the Tourney.
Overall, the Bulldogs are 10-3-1 ATS over a current 14-game SU winning streak that came on the heels of a three-game losing skid in Horizon League play in late January and early February.
Pinnacle Sports opened Butler as 4-point underdogs against the Huskies on their NCAAB odds, but that line soon moved to 3.5*. The Huskies edged Kentucky 56-55 in the Final Four, cashing as 2.5-point underdogs against the Wildcats and are 4-1 ATS in the Tournament heading into Monday night.
The Huskies last won the national title in 2004, and like the Bulldogs, it didn’t look like they were destined to make the national final only a short time ago. Connecticut went 1-4 SU and against the number to end the Big East regular season schedule before catching fire.
The Huskies ran the table over five days to win the Big East Tournament, and they’ve been rolling ever since. UConn’s only ATS loss in the Dance came in its two-point win over No. 5 Arizona in the West Region final, as it advanced to the Final Four as a No. 3 seed.
The NCAAB Championship Final total is set at 129*, and if Kemba Walker and the Huskies have their way the matchup could be headed for the ‘under’. Connecticut is 1-5 O/U in its last six games overall (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS).
*Odds subject to change
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