With most of the nation’s top conferences getting their tournament schedules underway Wednesday or Thursday, Tuesday’s attention turns to the Horizon Conference where an upset could loom on the horizon for Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
For lines and analysis on the rest of Tuesday's action, as well as lines and odds for all the other conference tournament action this week, check out SB Nation lines partner OddsShark.com. Today, our focus is on the mid-majors.
Horizon Championship: Butler Bulldogs vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers
The Butler Bulldogs (22-9) were one of the biggest tournament surprises in recent history last year, making not only their first Elite Eight and Final Four in school history, but getting all the way to the championship game against Duke. Butler fell just a shot short in the final game, putting the "madness" back into March Madness along the way.
While this year’s Bulldogs haven’t had as strong a season as last year’s group, they have still done enough in most pundits’ minds to earn a trip back to the dance. But a win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee would erase any doubt, and extend the Bulldogs’ winning streak to nine.
"They are a 3-point favorite today, but two of Butler's nine losses this year came against the Panthers (19-12), who beat the Bulldogs 76-52 at home and 86-80 in overtime on the road," said Mark Presley of OddsShark.com. "Other bubble teams are cheering for Butler, because a Panther win will burst one more bubble team."
Looking for their first tournament bid since 2006, Wisconsin-Milwaukee needs this win badly, and should definitely have the extra incentive in this one. Butler may be the favorite, but if you're looking for an underdog, Wisconsin-Milwaukee deserves a long look.