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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook
The Creighton Blue Jays will face the San Diego Aztecs in one of the more exciting March Madness games. Creighton and San Diego have played each other three times, and San Diego State leads the series 2-1. The Aztecs won the last matchup 83-52 when they last played two seasons ago.
The Creighton Blue Jays had no problem beating unranked opponents but struggled quite a bit against ranked opponents. They went 4-6 against ranked teams.
Creighton does not have one prolific scorer but has four players scoring over ten points a game. Their leading scorer, Ryan Hawkins, averages 13.9 points per game and shoots well from all over the court.
He also leads the team in rebounds, with 7.8 per game. After Hawkins, Creighton’s next leading scorer is Ryan Kalkbrenner.
Kalkbrenner scores 13 points per game but is also a solid rim protector. He gets 2.7 blocks per game.
Creighton has a solid offense and scores almost 70 points a game, but their defense needs to improve. They give up almost 66 points per game; that is too many points to give up when you are not scoring more than 70 a game.
The San Diego State Aztecs finished their season on a high note and won their last four regular-season games. They also performed well in the Mountain West Tournament and lost the Championship game by one point.
The Aztecs have a bonafide star in Matt Bradley. Bradley is a senior and could be in the NBA next year. He averages 17 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. He also gets to the free-throw line a lot and converts almost 80% of his free-throw attempts.
The Aztecs have a truly dominant defense that only gives up 57.7 points per game. I expect this to be a low-scoring battle and the Aztecs’ defense to lead San Diego State to the win.
San Diego State beats Creighton 62-59. San Diego State covers, Over 120 points.
|Creighton Blue Jays||Head-to-Head||San Diego State Aztecs|
|Greg McDermott||Head Coach||Brian Dutcher|
|22-11 (12-7, 4th in Big East)||Standing||23-8(13-4, 3rd in Mountain West)|
|Leader (Per Game)|
|Ryan Hawkins (13.9)||PPG||Matt Bradley (17.0)|
|Ryan Hawkins (7.8)||RPG||Nathan Mensah (7.1)|
|Ryan Nembhard (2.7)||APG||Trey Pulliam (3.4)|
|Ryan Nembhard (1.3)||SPG||Lamont Butler (1.8)|
|Ryan Kalkbrenner (2.7)||BPG||Nathan Mensah (2.2)|
|Ryan Kalkbrenner (.646)||FG%||Keshad Johnson (.552)|
|Ryan Hawkins (.359)||3P%||Matt Bradley (.416)|
The Creighton Blue Jays are the underdogs, but if they play to their strengths, they can win this game. They have to hit threes and create turnovers.
Creighton has no problem taking three-pointers, but they sometimes struggle to make three-pointers. They make 30.9% of their three-pointers and only have a few players that consistently make them. They have to make their outside shots to win this game. They are facing a top-five defense in the nation and need to score this way.
Creighton struggles to create turnovers; they average 5.4 steals per game and only one player, Ryan Nembhard, gets more than one steal per game. They need to be more active in passing lanes and swipe the ball away any time they can.
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The San Diego State Aztecs may be the favorites, but they have some serious flaws in their game. They need to focus on extended ball movement and hitting free throws.
San Diego State does not have a high-powered offense. They only average 65.3 points per game. This is partially because they do not pass well. Their top passer, Trey Pulliam, only averages 3.4 assists per game. They need to make the extra pass in this game to find the open man.
The Aztecs hit 69.5% of their free throws. They are not horrible from the line, but they could be a lot better. They sometimes struggle to score, so they need to convert from the line. This may be the key to them winning the game.
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It is odd for a center to be the most impactful player on a team, but for the Blue Jays, that is the case. Ryan Kalkbrenner can score, rebound, and protect the rim.
Kalkbrenner averages 13 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks. He shoots well and makes 64.6% of his shots. He needs to have a big game on both sides of the floor; the intensity is March Madness is unmatched, so he needs to bring the energy.
Matt Bradley is the best player on this team. The 6’4” guard averages 17 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.1 steals.
Bradley’s assignment is pretty clear. He does have to play defense, but his #1 priority is scoring. He needs to take charge and put the ball in the basket any way he can.
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|Creighton Blue Jays vs San Diego State Aztecs Information|
|What||Creighton Blue Jays vs San Diego State Aztecs|
|Where||Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas|
|When||Thursday, March 17, 7:27 PM EST|
|How to Watch||truTV|
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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