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Creighton vs. Gonzaga NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks

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Creighton vs. Gonzaga NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks
Marcus Zegarowski #11 of the Creighton Bluejays goes up for a shot. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP

On Sunday, there are four exciting games that make up the end of the Sweet 16. For the 2020-2021 season, 347 college basketball teams played and only 16 have a chance of winning the championship. There are many great Sweet 16 matches this weekend, and one of those intriguing games, when checking the NCAAB odds at the best betting sites, is the matchup between the Creighton Blue Jays and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Creighton Bluejays vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Sunday, March 28, 2021 – 02:10 PM EDT at Hinkle Fieldhouse

Teams

  • Creighton Blue Jays (5): 22-8
  • Gonzaga Bulldogs (1): 28-0

Stakes of the Matchup

Gonzaga plays in the West Coast Conference (WCC) which is rated as the 8th strongest conference in the country according to basketball analytics website KenPom. Creighton plays in the Big East which is rated as the 6th strongest conference. Currently, Creighton is the second strongest Big East team left in the tournament, while Gonzaga is the only WCC team in the tournament.

Not only is Gonzaga the best WCC team in the tournament, but they are the best team of any conference in the tournament. The Bulldogs are appropriately rated as the best team in the tournament based on their 28-0 undefeated record. During the regular season, the Zags had a competitive non-conference schedule defeating Virginia, Kansas, Auburn, West Virginia, and Iowa. Most impressively Gonzaga led the NCAA in average scoring margin because they beat their opponents by an average of 23.7 points per game. That is why the Bulldogs are 13.5 point favorites against a top 25 team in Creighton.

Creighton while not performing nearly as well as Gonzaga performed very well this season. The Blue Jays had a 22-8 overall record which included wins against UConn, Villanova, Georgetown, and Xavier. While Creighton has not been able to win all their games, they have shown an ability to occasionally win against tough competition and that is what makes them dangerous.

How Gonzaga and Creighton matchup

Unsurprisingly as the best team in the country, Gonzaga is good at everything. The Bulldogs have the best adjusted offensive efficiency in the country. Additionally, the Zags have the 8th best adjusted defensive efficiency in the country. In their second-round tournament game against Oklahoma, Gonzaga won 87-71 “only” covering the spread by half of a point. Against Creighton, Gonzaga is going to have a tougher time covering as a 13.5 point favorite than they did against the Sooners as a 15.5 point favorite.

Creighton while not as dominant as Gonzaga has a decent offense and a decent defense. The Blue Jays have the 24th best adjusted offensive efficiency and the 32nd best adjust defensive efficiency in the country. Gonzaga should win, but Creighton is not a push over.

What the game is going to come down to will be how Creighton reacts to Gonzaga’s style of play. While the Blue Jays play at an average tempo, the Zags play at the 4th fastest tempo in the country. When you combine Gonzaga’s up-tempo offense with their dominant offense, it is no surprise that Gonzaga leads the country with an average of 92.3 points per game. If the Bulldogs played the number of minutes that an NBA team plays per game (48 minutes), then they would average 110.8 points per game.

March Madness

Prediction

I am not going out on a limb by saying that Gonzaga should win on Sunday. They have yet to lose a game all year, and they are the best team in the country. But upsets occasionally happen and Gonzaga should not be trusted to cover the spread.

I am intrigued by Creighton because they are a top-25 level team that has underperformed all season. Upsets occasionally happen and that is why I am shooting for the moon and betting on the Creighton moneyline at +660 odds. Creighton’s odds imply that they only have a 13.2% chance at winning, but I believe that their odds of winning are greater. FiveThirtyEight gives the Blue Jays a 20% chance of winning and KenPom gives them a 14% chance. Even though both prediction sites differ widely on

Sunday’s game, both believe that the betting odds undervalue Creighton. That is why for my NCAAB pick, I am betting on Creighton winning.

NCAAB pick: (visit our Sportsbook Review)

*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.