Butler Bulldogs vs. California Golden Bears Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 9th 2023

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If the start of this season is any indication, Butler again might be a force to be reckoned with in the Big East Conference.

The Bulldogs are off to a 7-2 start after a 72-59 win Tuesday night over Buffalo. Their only losses are to ranked teams — Michigan State and Florida Atlantic — and they own solid wins over Penn State, Boise State and Texas Tech.

Butler will try to add another victory to its resume Saturday in Indianapolis when it hosts California in another non-conference matchup.

Jahmyl Telfort nearly recorded a triple-double against Buffalo with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Jalen Thomas contributed 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Pierre Brooks scored 17 points.

The Bulldogs’ early success is a function of making shots and keeping the opposition from doing so. Per kenpom.com, they’re top 50 nationally in effective field goal percentage and defensive effective field goal percentage. Not bad for any team, but particularly one with 11 new players.

“It’s chemistry; we all like each other, we all want to play with each other,” Telfort said. “We just want to win, to be honest with you. So we’ll do whatever it takes.”

Meanwhile, the Golden Bears (3-5) are still searching for what Butler’s found. They snapped a four-game losing streak last Saturday after Northern Arizona transfer Jalen Cone drained seven 3-pointers and finished with 26 points in an 84-69 win over Santa Clara.

Cal isn’t that far off from having a winning record. In its four-game skid, it lost by a combined 18 points. A 76-67 loss to San Diego State last month came in overtime after the Golden Bears missed two chances to possibly win the game in regulation.

Cal coach Mark Madsen pointed to a season-low seven turnovers against Santa Clara as evidence his team is starting to figure things out.

“That’s going to be a huge key for us this year,” he said.

The Bulldogs’ 82-58 win last season over the Golden Bears in Berkeley, Calif., was the first meeting of the two teams.

–Field Level Media

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