Creighton vs Baylor March Madness Betting Preview
Bluejays Battle Bears in Sunday's Best Game
Sunday’s South Region Creighton vs Baylor contest may very well be the best game of them all on Sunday’s March Madness schedule. Ken Pomeroy gives the game his highest “Thrill Score” of the day. It could become an instant classic between two evenly matched teams.
The NCAA basketball March Madness odds show Baylor as a 1-point favorite and a total of 146. The Bears are -115 on the moneyline for the game, which tips-off at 7:10 p.m. at the Ball Center in Denver, Colorado. The game will be broadcast by WTBS.
Creighton: ‘Jays Pull Away From Wolfpack
Creighton didn’t turn in one of its better performances in the opening-round win over North Carolina State. But the Bluejays did get the win and cover the point spread. That’s all that really matters. Creighton did what it does best and that’s shoot the 2-pointer. The Bluejays were 23 for 36 (63.9%) in 2-point field goals. That more than made up for a dismal 3 for 20 effort from 3-point range. The ‘Jays were also 17 for 19 at the foul line.
Defensively, Creighton did a number on North Carolina State. The Wolfpack shot just 42% from 2-point range and 21.4% from 3-point range. N.C. State had a slight edge in rebounding and made two fewer turnovers.
N.C. State did grab a 37-30 lead with 16:48 remaining in the game. But Creighton was able to battle back and outscore the Wolfpack 41-24 over the next 16 minutes to seal the victory. The defense stepped up and carried the team until the offense got on track. That’s the sign of a solid team.
Baylor: Bears Start Fast, Finish Fast vs UCSB
The Bears raced out of the game in their opening-round win against Santa Barbara. Baylor also had a strong final 10 minutes of the game. It’s the middle part of the game Baylor can’t be too pleased with. Baylor led 18-13 after the first 10 minutes of the game but found itself down 36-35 at the break and 41-39 with 17:20 left to play.
But the Bears turned up the defense the rest of the way, outscoring the Gauchos 35-15 over the final 17:12, limiting UCSB to seven points over the final 10 minutes. It was an impressive defensive effort from a team known for its offense this season.
But the Bears shot 69% from 2-point range for the game and were 8 of 22 (36.4%) from 3-point range. Baylor did allow UCSB to hit 57.6% from 2-point range and held the Gauchos to 4 of 16 of 3-pointers.
Handicapping the Game
Creighton vs Baylor is the classic offense vs defense matchup. The Bears are ranked No. 2 in the nation in Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive efficiency ratings. Creighton is No. 14 on defense. But the Bluejays are No. 29 on offense, while the Bears are No. 98 defensively. But there’s no doubt the Bears had a much tougher time in the regular season, playing in the Big 12 Conference, the best conference in the nation.
Baylor’s offense is going to get its share of points. The Bears faced better defenses on several occasions this year and managed to score 70 or more points. The Bears shoot the 3-pointer well and that’s the weakness of the Creighton defense.
This one is going to come down to Baylor’s ability to stop a decent Creighton offense. The Bluejays are ranked No. 29 because of their ability to shoot the 2-pointer and they don’t make many turnovers. Baylor does a decent job forcing turnovers, making the turnover aspect of the game pretty even. But the Bear’s don’t defend the 2-pointer very well.
The Bears allow 53.4% shooting from 2-point range, which is No. 315 in the country. That could spell trouble for the Bears in this Creighton vs Baylor matchup. If Creighton can score from the inside the Bears will have to hit some 3-pointers from the outside to keep up.
The Bears won it all two years ago but this isn’t an easy game. The matchups appear to favor the offenses, so those making their college basketball picks may want to look at the over 146 in this one. (Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)Follow us on Twitter