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The second round of March Madness is in full effect, and the NCAA Tournament on Sunday features an exciting matchup between Baylor and Creighton! Baylor has reached the second round for two seasons in a row, while the same has occurred for the Creighton Bluejays. If you’re trying to make a bet on the NCAA Tournament second-round game, Baylor vs Creighton, there are some great bonuses to take advantage of at Caesars Sportsbook!
This South Region second-round game will occur at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. With a berth in the Sweet Sixteen just one win away, you can rest assured that both Baylor and Creighton will put on a competitive match!
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After finishing the season third in the Big 12, Baylor entered the 2023 NCAA Tournament ranked lower than a first seed for the first time in three years. Matched up with UC Santa Barbara, the 14-seed, in the first round, the Bears and the public thought they would cruise to victory. That was not the case, at least in the first half.
Baylor overcame UC Santa Barbara, but that didn't dispel the Gauchos' efforts, as they finished the first half with a 36-35 lead after 13 lead changes in 20 minutes. The Bears eventually found victory by winning the second half 20-39 and holding the Gauchos to 46.9% from the field and 25.0% from three-point range.
Still commanding on the glass but lacking overall defensive punch, Baylor's shooting must be locked-in against Creighton. The Bears were one of the best shooting teams in the nation this season, averaging 77.2 points per game (55th overall) while hitting 9.7 threes per game (14th overall) on 37.2% efficiency (38th overall). They eventually found their mark in their first-round match against the Gauchos, converting on eight of their 22 three-point field goal attempts, with six of those made coming in the second half.
Keyontae George led the Baylor Bears in scoring all season, but he was primarily invisible for them in their Round of 64 matchup. On the season, George averaged 15.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists on 38.7% from the field and 34.9% from the three-point range. Against the Gauchos, he was just two of nine from the floor and one of seven from three, producing nine points and three rebounds.
Adam Flagler maintained his composure when he faced UC Santa Barbara in the opening round, as he scored 18 points and dropped five assists on seven of ten shooting from the field and three of five shooting from deep. His consistency from the field saved the Bears, and his five-to-one turnover ratio indicates his efficiency - especially in the second half.
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The Creighton Bluejays took care of business in their first-round match against the NC State Wolfpack. It was a high-scoring affair, and despite Creighton’s struggles shooting the ball, they showed that their defense could hold against some formidable offenses. Their ability to control the pace will be critical against Baylor.
On the season, Creighton held teams to 68.5 points (131st overall) on 42.2% shooting from the field (84th overall) while limiting opponents to just 6.4 threes per game (74th overall). In their 63-72 win over the NC State Wolfpack, the Bluejays held their opponents to just 37.5% shooting from the field and 21.4% from three-point range. Their defense was crucial, as their usual sharpshooting wasn’t an active threat.
Creighton is usually a team that can punish opponents from the three-point line, but they should have done so in the opening round. Against a tough defensive team like Baylor, who hold their opponents to 32.2% shooting from three (86th overall), they must get their shooting back on track. Creighton’s passing game was solid last time out, collecting 15 assists on 26 field goals, but they’ll need to be even more clinical to upset the Bears.
Creighton big man Ryan Kalkbrenner led the way for the Bluejays in their first-round win over NC State. He had a massive game, posting 31 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks on 11 of 14 shooting while converting on his sole three-point attempt! He’ll be a key player in this matchup, as Baylor’s interior defense hasn’t been the greatest - allowing teams to shoot 53.3% inside the arc (332nd overall).
Forward Arthur Kaluma was also a significant factor in Creighton’s success, leading the Bluejays’ effort on the glass despite his offensive struggles. Kaluma posted 10 points, nine rebounds, and four assists on two of six shooting from the field while failing to convert on any of his three-point attempts. Usually reliable for at least one three per game, Kaluma needs to find his range against the Bears.
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Creighton opens this game as a 1.5-point underdog against the Baylor Bears.
In their last game, the Baylor Bears finished the game with a combined points total of 130.0 points. Creighton finished their first-round match with a combined points total of 135.0 points. We’re projecting this game to finish over 146.0, as Baylor’s defense remains a concern while their offense and Creighton’s could combine for a high-scoring affair.
The Bluejays and Bears have posted some of the country’s best offensive numbers this season, but in a one-off game, they both need to be wary. Both Creighton and Baylor struggled to shoot the ball in their opening round game, and if that holds, the Bluejays definitely project to have the offensive edge.
Given their current form, the Creighton Bluejays are a worthy play for this matchup. Given Baylor’s defensive issues, you could see Creighton’s guards running free on the offensive side of the ball. Given both teams’ defense, this could result in a shootout; in that regard, the Bluejays have the advantage.
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Location: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
Game Time & Date: 7:10 PM EST, Sunday, March 19th, 2023
TV Network: TBS
Streaming: YouTube TV, Paramount+, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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