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East Region: Butler vs. Marquette, Cal vs. Syracuse


After an exciting second round that saw plenty of crazy upsets and nail-biting finishes, the NCAA tournament will resume today with its round of 32. This is where we will start to see more dominant teams assert themselves as they advance to the exclusive Sweet 16. Of course, there’s always room for a cinderella or two.

However, in the East region things have pretty much gone according to plan (at least so far) for the top seeded teams. Cal and Temple were the only “underdogs” to advance in the East, but they were probably the better teams in their respective match-ups. Today, the East will be whittled down to six squads, as two will be sent packing. Here’s a look at both of the games in the East today.

(6) Butler +2.5 vs (3) Marquette -2.5

After an incredible comeback performance against Davidson on Thursday, the Golden Eagles barely escaped with a one-point victory. However, it’s safe to safe they can’t afford to fall behind big against Butler, who has become known as one of the better clutch finishers in recent years’ tournaments.

Butler’s tournament experience in close games should definitely help it today, as odds makers are predicting a tight one. Butler didn’t enjoy its strongest regular season in recent years, but it always seems to come ready to play for the NCAA Tournament and the Bulldogs certainly looked as strong as the team that made that finals run in their previous win over Bucknell.

Marquette brings a lot of talent and athleticism into this battle, but the Eagles just haven’t looked that good lately. Their inability to hit open shots will hurt them down the stretch, so take Butler to advance to the round of 16 once again by covering +2.5.

(12) Cal +7 vs (4) Syracuse -7

Cal was underrated and underseeded coming into the round of 64 and their opening round win against a talented UNLV team proved that. However, the Golden Bears will face a whole new kind of skill and ability in their next challenge against the Orange.

Syracuse looked undeniably juggernaut-like in its 81-34 dismantling of Montana. Obviously, Cal will present a new slew of challenges and a tougher overall opponent, but with tourney experience on their side, the battle-tested Orange certainly have a significant edge.

The Orange will simply be too much for Cal to handle. With superior athletes and one of the best coaches in basketball history, Syracuse has too many advantages to lose this one. Take the Orange to cruise to victory and cover -7 today.

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