NCAA Tournament March 26th #6 Creighton vs #5 SDSU Betting Preview
Bluejays or Aztecs Moving On to Final Four?
Sunday’s Creighton vs SDSU betting matchup is your classic meeting of offense vs defense. The Bluejays have averaged 81.0 ppg this tournament in wins over NC State (72-63), Baylor (85-76), and Princeton (86-75) and have five players averaging over 11.0 ppg so far in March Madness 2023.
San Diego State used their defense to beat #1 overall seed Alabama 71-64 on Friday night, getting the outright victory as +6.5 point underdogs. The Aztecs are just +2.5 point underdogs vs. Creighton, but it’s also a quick turnaround following such an emotional victory over the Crimson Tide.
Why Creighton Can Cover -2.5 Points
An argument could be made that Creighton is a bit underseeded for this tournament at #6. They had gotten ranked inside the top 10 before an 81-79 loss to Arizona kickstarted a 6-game losing streak. The Bluejays rallied to go 11-3 over their past 14 games of the regular season.
Sunday’s Creighton vs SDSU betting matchup is the second straight season these two schools have met in the tournament, with the Bluejays picking up a 72-69 OT victory in the 1st round last year as +2.5 point underdogs. Creighton big man Ryan Kalkbrenner had 16 points and 10 rebounds in that game, but also injured his knee and missed the Bluejays 79-72 loss to Kansas in round 2.
Kalkbrenner is back healthy for the rematch, having a nice run with 31 points in the win over NC State in the opener and adding 22 vs. Princeton on Friday. Ryan Nembhard also missed the game against San Diego State last year after injuring his wrist in late February, but he’s back as well and dropped 30 in round 2 against Baylor. Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman also just had 21 against Princeton so this is a deep scoring team.
Why San Diego State Can Cover +2.5 Points
Creighton has a very deep scoring team with all five starters averaging double figures in scoring. Forgive San Diego State if they are not impressed though, as the Aztecs just beat the #7 scoring team in the country Alabama 71-64, holding All American Brandon Miller to 3-19 shooting from the field.
SDSU’s defensive performance against the Crimson Tide was not a fluke, as they had the #4 ranked adjusted defensive efficiency this season according to KenPom. Kalkbrenner is a force for Creighton, but the Aztecs have a great counter in 6’10” Nathan Mensah who is the 2X Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.
San Diego State’s defense will not be a concern on Sunday, but they also have only one player that averaged in double figures also season in Matt Bradley (13.0 ppg). A lack of offense wasn’t a concern against Alabama though, as Darrion Trammell blew up for 21 points – plus Creighton’s defense hasn’t exactly provided a lot of resistance in giving up 75.5 ppg their last two.
Free Creighton vs San Diego State Pick
The Aztecs defense can win them this game – but how much is left in the tank after the big win over Alabama on Friday. Creighton can push the pace, and breezing to an easy win over #15 Princeton on Friday has them in a better position to be successful in this spot.
Free Pick: Creighton -2.5