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The #6 Creighton Bluejays will take on the #15 Princeton Tigers on Friday for a chance to advance to the South Region’s Elite Eight. Creighton enters after beating #3 Baylor and #11 NC State, while Princeton has beaten #2 Arizona and #7 Missouri. The winner will take on either #1 Alabama or #5 San Diego State for the region's spot in the Final Four. These teams will battle on TBS at 9 PM EST in Louisville, KY.
If you want to bet on this exciting matchup, we have you covered. Below we will share our previews, odds, prediction, best bet, and information on how to watch Creighton vs Princeton.
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Creighton has had an impressive run in March Madness as they won both of their matchups by nine points. The most impressive was again #3 Baylor, where they led almost the entire game. They made 45.8% of their threes and held Baylor to 22.7%. It was the second-straight game where they held their opponent under a 23% three-point percentage. This wasn’t a considerable strength during the regular season, but they should be able to keep it up against a Princeton team that was fifth in the Ivy League in three-point percentage (33.9%).
While their stats mostly rank in the top half of the Big East, the one that has stood out the most has been their free throw percentage. In a tournament filled with poor shooting from the charity stripe, Creighton has made 95% (39-41) of their free throws through the first two games. That is a critical stat this time of year, making it difficult to mount a comeback against these Bluejays.
46.7% Field goal percentage
35.8% Three-point percentage
78.0 Free throw percentage
15.8 Assists per game
10.7 Turnovers per game
68.5 Opponent PPG
42.2% Opponent field goal percentage
33.5% three-point percentage
37.0 Rebounds per game
5.1 Steals per game
4.2 Blocks per game
Ryan Kalkbrenner: 15.7 PPG / 6.2 RPG / 2.2 BPG / 70.6 FG%
Trey Alexander: 13.6 PPG / 4.2 RPG / 1.1 SPG / 42.3 3P%
Baylor Scheierman: 12.5 PPG / 8.2 RPG / 1.1 SPG / 35.5 3P%
#11 NC State: Won 72-63
Creighton beat the Wolfpack by shooting well from the field and playing solid defense. They were about even in rebounds, but their 15 assists helped them move to the ball well and make 46.4% of their shots.
#3 Baylor: Won 85-76
The Bluejays dominated Baylor for much of the game, thanks to making 45.8% of their threes and going 22-22 from the free throw line. They had 14 assists in this game, again showing their ability to move the ball to find the open man.
Princeton danced their way to the Sweet 16 as a Cinderella team thanks to wins over #2 Arizona and #7 Missouri. While their win over Arizona earned them the most respect, their win over Missouri was even more impressive. They dominated in rebounds and outshot them from the field and from three. That’s impressive, considering that Missouri was among the top offensive teams in the country and knew Princeton couldn’t be overlooked. Princeton held them to a 41.0% field goal percentage and a 27.3% three-point percentage. They also forced Missouri to turn the ball over a whopping 18 times, a strong follow-up to the 13 they forced against Arizona.
People have underestimated just how good this team is. They rebound well, and their defense has contained two offenses that ranked in the Top 25 in the country. There is no doubt that Princeton has the talent to advance to the Elite 8, but they will need to improve their performance from the free throw line. They were better against Missouri but were awful when facing Arizona. We expect this game to be close, so making those shots will greatly impact the final result.
45.5% Field goal percentage
33.9% Three-point percentage
71.4% Free throw percentage
13.5 Assists per game
12.3 Turnovers per game
67.9 Opponent PPG
42.1% Opponent field goal percentage
32.0% three-point percentage
39.4 Rebounds per game
4.9 Steals per game
3.4 Blocks per game
Tosan Evbuomwan: 14.8 PPG / 6.3 RPG / 4.8 APG / 51.9 FG%
Ryan Langborg: 12.3 PPG / 3.1 SPG
Matt Allocco: 10.8 PPG / 4.8 RPG / 38.5 3P%
#2 Arizona Wildcats: Won 59-55
Holding Arizona to 55 points may be the most impressive performance of the tournament. The Wildcats were seventh in the country in svoring, averaging 81.9 points during the season. Princeton won thanks to their defense, despite making 16% of their three-point shots.
#7 Missouri Tigers: Won 78-63
Princeton dominated this game by vastly outrebounding Missouri and holding them to a 27.3% three-point percentage. 16 of their 44 rebounds were on the offensive end, giving them plenty of second chances.
Creighton is 18-17 against the spread this season and has covered five of their last six games.
Princeton is 17-12 against the spread this season and has covered their last six games.
O 140.5 (-114)
U 140.5 (-106)
While Creighton enters as the favorite to win this matchup, Princeton has proven they are a dangerous team. Their win over Missouri was a clinic in good basketball and made them look like a top-seed. Both teams shoot the ball well and are similar in several major statistical categories, so expect a close game.
Look for this battle to be decided down low, especially rebounding. Princeton’s success has come from their ability to rebound against both of their opponents, giving them an edge in both games. Creighton has also rebounded fairly well this tournament and has the talent to do so again on Friday.
Our Pick to Win: Creighton
Make no mistake, Princeton has looked every bit as good as any other Sweet 16 team. However, they have had the advantage of flying under the radar. That advantage will not carry over on Friday as Creighton will have a week to study and prepare to face a Princeton team they know is good. With a great coaching staff and solid core of players, the Bluejays will be able to outpace Princeton and present a challenge the Tigers haven’t seen on defense.
It will be close, but Creighton will defeat Princeton on Friday.
Our Best Bet: Princeton +9.5
Grab this line before it moves any further, as getting the Tigers +9.5 is an absolute steal. While we like Creighton to win, they have a lot of bad losses on their record and have struggled with consistency. They will face a Princeton team that controls the game's pace and avoids turning the ball over. It’s tough to be a team that can do that by double-digits, and it won’t happen on Friday.
Take the free points and solid odds and run with the Tigers on Thursday.
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.More info on Richard Janvrin
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