When: 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
Free NCAAB Pick: Bluejays ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Neither Creighton nor Georgetown wins games with their defense. Instead, each one likes to run up and down the court and try to outscore the other team. I like Creighton because I think their offense can find more success against Georgetown’s defense than Georgetown’s offense can against Creighton’s defense.
The Hoyas’ mostly inexperienced defenders often scramble because they are out of position. They lack the ability to recover, communicate, and otherwise help each other out. For all of these reasons, they let the opposing offense do what it wants to do. Georgetown’s defense ranks 278th in rate of turnovers forced, meaning that opposing offenses easily find their rhythm.
When Creighton doesn’t turn it over much, they tend to shoot more efficiently. When Marquette only forced nine turnovers from them, they shot 17-for-33 from three en route to a 104-point performance (including overtime). The Bluejays rank fourth in three-point shooting percentage with a small lineup that includes point guard Marcus Zegarowski and power forward Mitch Ballock, each of whom ranks top-50 in three-point efficiency.
Georgetown’s perimeter defense looks better statistically against conference opponents than it is because it has faced some teams that don’t like to attempt many threes. The exceptions were Marquette, which missed its top shooter, Butler, whose shooters were ice cold, and St. John’s, which shot 11-for-27 from three. The Hoyas’ perimeter defense hasn’t shown any promise.
The Bluejays aren’t dependent on the three, but also rank 10th in two-point percentage. Martin Krampelj is an athletic center who can drive inside the paint. He ranks 98th in two-point efficiency. He creates a mismatch against Georgetown center Jessie Govan who is known for being slow-footed. He’s a big reason why the Hoyas allow the highest point distribution of Big East teams inside the arc.
Creighton allows opposing guards to have season-best performances and talented one’s like Marquette star Markus Howard and Butler point guard Kamar Baldwin make them pay. Georgetown lacks a guard who can do damage on offense. Its starting point guard James Akinjo is 5-for-33 inside the arc in conference play. At shooting guard, the Hoyas go by committee because they can’t find a consistent performer.
Creighton will cover because they have too much firepower offensively, while Georgetown lacks the guard play to exploit Creighton’s defensive weakness.
When: 7 p.m. ET (BTN)
Free NCAAB Pick: Scarlet Knights ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Nebraska is in a tough spot after playing a high-energy game against Big Ten leader Michigan State, in which they competed hard until the end. Now, they have to travel to Rutgers. Despite their edge in talent, the Huskers would be mistaken to view the Scarlet Knights as a pushover. Despite being blown out in its last two road games, Rutgers has been more competitive in front of its Scarlet faithful, upsetting Ohio State and overcoming a slow start to stay within eight of Northwestern.
To make up for their deficit in talent, the Scarlet Knights love to create chaos by closing down passing lanes to steal the ball and to be physical inside. They have two guards, Geo Baker and Montez Mathis, who rank top-400 in steal rate. Rutgers is deep and boasts numerous big men who can crash the boards and block shot attempts. 7″0 275-pounder Shaquille Doorson leads active Knights with 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game with other big men like Myles Johnson right behind him.
It would be great for Nebraska to use its athleticism and become dangerous along the perimeter in order to pull Rutgers’ big men away from the basket and create more room for its offense to operate inside. The problem is that Nebraska is not a three-point shooting team, ranking ninth in the conference in efficiency from three. The Huskers rely heavily on scoring inside, so they will have to confront Rutgers’ interior physicality. Nebraska has one of the worst rebounding rates in the conference and is one of the most susceptible Big Ten teams to being blocked, so they will be vulnerable to Rutgers’ big men.
The Knights will make this game ugly and scrappy. They will limit Nebraska offensively and stay within the spread for an NCAAB Pick.