Horizon League Conference
The Horizon League Conference Tournament turned out exactly as predicted and the Butler Bulldogs are bound for the Big Dance.
In the conference tournament final Butler squared off with Wright State and rolled to an easy 70-45 win as a 7.5-point favorite at Bovada. Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack each poured in 14 points in the win, while Butler was nearly perfect from the charity stripe, shooting 92%.
Butler’s win over Wright State extended their nation-best winning streak to 20 games. The Bulldogs’ last loss was back on December 19 versus UAB. They’re also the only team in the nation to post a perfect conference record this season. Despite their lengthy winning streak Butler hasn’t been filling bettors’ pockets with a lame 9-11 ATS record during that time.
Butler has become a tournament regular in recent years and this year’s tourney berth will be their fourth in a row. Last year they entered the tournament as a No. 9 seed, but were bounced in the first round after a 75-71 loss to No. 8 seed LSU. Butler’s best tournament performance was in 2007 when they surprised everyone by making it to the Sweet 16.
This year’s Butler squad put together a solid 28-4 record during the season, which included an 18-0 mark in the Horizon League. Three of their four losses this season came against ranked teams, which included Minnesota, Clemson, and Georgetown. The Bulldogs were a mediocre 13-19 ATS during the regular season, making them a money-loser for bettors. As the current No. 12 team in the nation there’s a good chance they’ll be favored in their tournament opener. That doesn’t mean bettors should immediately gravitate to them because they were only 11-17 ATS this season when favored.