The #2 Purdue Boilermakers will take on the #10 Butler Bulldogs in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday from the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Bulldogs recorded a 79-62 win over Arkansas in their first round battle, and the Boilermakers thumped CS Fullerton by a 74-48 score in their first round contest. Purdue notched an 82-67 road win against Butler in December. Carsen Edwards scored a team-high 18 points for Purdue, and Kelan Martin tallied 17 points for Butler.
Martin Shines in Bulldogs Blowout Win over Arkansas
The Butler Bulldogs played stifling defense in their 79-62 win against Arkansas in first round action on Friday afternoon. The Bulldogs converted on 49% of their field goals, and limited Arkansas to 35% shooting. Bulldogs’ leading scorer Kelan Martin was outstanding, sinking 27 points on a 9 for 16 mark from the field to go with seven rebounds. The senior forward wasn’t sharp in the Big East tourney, however he had a terrific season. Martin reached 20 points 19 times this season, and he is averaging 21 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Kamar Baldwin also played a big role in Friday’s victory, collecting 24 points and nine rebounds. The sophomore guard has only reached double-digits in points in four of his last seven games, however he is a solid player and stands second in team scoring with 15.7 points on 44.7% shooting.
The Bulldogs were able to limit a strong Arkansas offense to a 4 for 18 clip from beyond the arc which is a good sign going up against a Purdue team that ranks second in the country in three-point efficiency. Butler did not finish the year ranked in the Top 25, however Ken Pomeroy has them at 24th in the nation in his rankings. Butler is scoring an average of 79.1 points, ranking them 55th in the country. They are allowing an average of 72.5 points, placing them 176th overall.
Purdue Pummels CS Fullerton, Haas Injured
The Purdue Boilermakers took control in the second half in their convincing 74-48 victory against #15 CS Fullerton in their round win battle on Friday. The Boilermakers shot a poor 39% from the field, however they were able to hold CS Fullerton to 36% shooting. Purdue’s leading scorer Carsen Edwards only went 4 for 12 from the field, however he did finish with 15 points. The sophomore guard is on a rough 8 for 28 stretch from the field in his last two games, and he is currently averaging 18.4 points on 46% shooting. Isaac Haas contributed with nine points and ten rebounds in Friday’s win, however he suffered a fractured elbow and will miss the remainder of the tournament which is a big blow to Purdue in both ends of the court. The Boilermakers will need Vincent Edwards (14.5 PPG), and Dakota Mathias (12.3 PPG) to step up in his absence.
The Boilermakers could not get into a rhythm from an offensive point of view in Friday’s win, and they will need to be much sharper against a much tougher opponent. Purdue has now won six out of their last seven games with the lone loss in that span coming to Michigan in the Big Ten Tourney title game. They are an offensive powerhouse, averaging 80.9 points, good for 38th in the country. The Boilermakers are holding opponents to 65.1 points, ranking them 23rd overall.
The Butler Bulldogs are:
- 21-5-2 ATS in their last 28 NCAA Tournament games.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Sunday games.
- 41-16-2 ATS in their last 59 neutral site games.
The Purdue Boilermakers are:
- 2-11-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall.
- 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600.
- 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win.
I am taking the points with Butler in this contest. Butler was very sharp on both offense and defense in Friday’s win, and I am confident they can give Purdue all they can handle. Kelan Martin and Kamar Baldwin are both big threats, and they combined to score 51 points against Arkansas. Furthermore, Purdue only shot 39% against CS Fullerton on Friday, and the injury to Isaac Haas is a big loss for Purdue, as the 7-foot-2 center stands second in team scoring and rebounding. Butler was able to limit Arkansas to a 4 for 18 shooting performance from beyond the arc on Friday, giving me confidence they can neutralize Purdue from three-point territory.
Pick: Butler Bulldogs
Butler was able to shoot 48% in their first round win and Purdue should have some success from three-point range. The Bulldogs top two scorers were a force in Thursday’s win and I expect a solid offensive output from them again in this one, and the over is 14-5 in their last 19 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600. Purdue continues to have success from beyond the arc and Butler will give up points, plus the over is 5-1 in the Boilermakers’ last 6 NCAA Tournament games.