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San Diego State vs Creighton Prediction, Picks & Odds NCAA Tournament

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published March 26, 2023
12 min read

The San Diego State University Aztecs and Creighton Blue Jays made it through the rugged terrain of the March Madness South region and now play for a chance to advance to the Final Four.  The pair of sleeper teams showed promise throughout the year but were largely overlooked by most bracket-fillers during the pre-tournament build-up, yet they are three wins away from a national championship.

San Diego State vs Creighton Prediction, Picks & Odds NCAA Tournament

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No. 6 Creighton Team Preview

Creighton is no ordinary six seed—far from it. They scrapped in a congested Big East all season long and finished the year as, quietly, one of the most proficient teams on both sides of the ball. That is why they are now in the Elite Eight for the first time in school history.

Creighton runs more of a pro-style offense than many other colleges, largely because they have the talent to do so. Ryan Nembhard spends a lot of time orchestrating the offense and uses the high pick-and-roll with Ryan Kalkbrenner or simple isolation to create space and pull the trigger or dish it to one of his many capable teammates.

It’s hard to look at a team that is 24-12 and say that they are a true powerhouse. After all, simple math shows that for every two games they win, they lose one. However, the Blue Jays ripped off an eight-game win streak from January-February, one that included three wins over ranked opponents, and they are hot once again.

No. 6 Creighton Key Players & Key Stats

Kalkbrenner’s 15.9 points per game are a team-high, and all five starters average at least 11.8 points. Nembhard is the chief orchestrator and posts 4.9 assists per night, while quick-trigger guard Baylor Scheierman also snags 8.2 boards every 40 minutes.  

An important stat is that across the past 20 NCAA Tournaments, every national champion has ranked top-40 on offense and top-22 on defense on basketball statistics site KenPom. Creighton is 23rd on offense and 13th on defense. 

On top of that, Creighton is 31st in assist-to-turnover ratio and 10th in free-throw shooting nationally. Both are extremely important indicators of tournament success and the Jays pass with flying (no pun intended) colors.

No. 6 Creighton Tournament Path

Creighton kicked off its March Madness with a 72-63 win over an athletic and dangerous No. 11 NC State team. It doubled down with an 85-76 victory against the 2021 national champions No. 3 Baylor, and most recently knocked out No. 15 Princeton 86-75.

No. 5 SDSU Team Preview

SDSU is one of the few mid-major programs that retain national prominence year-to-year. They are tough and do nearly everything well, although defense and rebounding are their specialties.

SDSU is willing to play nine players on any given night, which means that it can play with more energy and intensity than many teams and also respond to personnel matchups. It also has arguably the most impressive tournament resume of any team still left standing.

The Aztecs will struggle if they fall behind big early since their offense is proficient but not elite. Look no further than what happened in the Miami vs Houston game as evidence that defensive-minded teams, even if they end up scoring a lot, find it hard to come back from large deficits. 

No. 5 SDSU Key Players & Key Stats

SDSU is led by senior guard Matt Bradley’s 12.8 points. He is the only player averaging double-digit scoring, while Nathan Mensah and Lamont Butler lead them in rebounds and assists. Nothing about the Aztecs’ box score will amaze, but that is largely because they play at a slower pace and muddy up the game.

SDSU is decent from three and at the line but turns the ball over a lot, given how slow it usually plays. This team is at its best when it is able to impose its physical will and get easy looks in transition or muscle its way to the hoop in the half-court.

The Aztecs have the benefit of having been behind already in March Madness. That is important against a team like Creighton that can make three threes in a row and open up a quick lead.

No. 5 SDSU Tournament Path

SDSU kickstarted its run to the Elite Eight by knocking out three-point specialists No. 12 College of Charleston 63-57. It came back two days later and easily handled No. 13 Furman 75-52 and then upset No. 1 Alabama 71-64 in the Sweet 16.

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Odds, Previews, Picks, Best Bets for No. 5 SDSU vs No. 6 Creighton

SDSU is a game-wrecker in the purest sense. They dive for loose balls, have active hands on defense, secure contested rebounds, and play with unrelenting intensity and physicality. While all of that is great, their half-court offense is unimaginative, and they do not have the brightest offensive talents.

Creighton does not have the same brute force that its upcoming opponent does, but it is extremely polished and has played in tons of tough games coming from the Big East. It also has advantages in key areas such as three-point and free-throw shooting and intelligence with the basketball. Ryan Kalkbrenner will need to be ready to play like the 7-footer that he is, because if he does, he will open up space for his talented guards.    

No. 5 SDSU ATS Record: 18-15

No. 6 Creighton ATS Record: 15-15

*Odds from Caesars sportsbook*

No. 5 SDSU

+2 (-110)


Over 134 (-110)

No. 6 Creighton

-2 (-110)


Under 134 (-110)

No. 5 SDSU vs No. 6 Creighton pick and prediction: No. 6 Creighton -2 (-110)

No. 5 SDSU vs No. 6 Creighton: How to watch

Location: KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY

Game Time & Date: Sunday, March 26 at 2:20 p.m. ET

TV Network: CBS

Streaming: YouTube TV, Hulu, Fubo, etc.

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Mountain West and Big East in the NCAA Tournament

Mountain West

Record: 3-3


Record: 3-0

Big East

Record: 9-3


Record: 3-3

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Grant Mitchell

528 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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