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Creighton vs. Providence College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Motivated Friars Have Value In Big East Game (Saturday, February 26)

Creighton vs. Providence College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Motivated Friars Have Value In Big East Game (Saturday, February 26) article feature image

G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Bynum.

  • Providence continues its dream season, as it hosts Creighton at The Dunk on Saturday.
  • Even though the Friars are coming off of a three-overtime game vs. Xavier, they are playing for a potential Big East regular-season title.
  • Alex Hinton explains in depth why he's backing the home team in this Big East affair.

Creighton vs. Providence Odds

Saturday, Feb. 26
8:30 p.m. ET
Creighton Odds
-110o / -110u
Providence Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Creighton comes in at 19-8 overall and tied for third place in the Big East at 11-5. It has won its last six games including an 81-78 win over St. John's on Wednesday night. However, the win over the Red Storm came at a costly price with point guard Ryan Nembhard going down. Creighton's first test without him comes tomorrow night at Providence.

Providence is 23-3 overall and leads the Big East at 13-2. It has won 10 out of its last 11 games. The Friars have been involved a string of nail biters as of late. The Friars have won three overtime games in its last four games, including Wednesday's triple-overtime thriller, 99-92, over Xavier. The one loss in that stretch was an 89-84 loss to Villanova at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

Providence will get a second shot at Villanova on Tuesday where the Big East regular-season title may be on the line. But first can it take care of Creighton without its floor general?

Creighton Bluejays

The big news surrounding Creighton is the injury to point guard Ryan Nembhard. The freshman suffered a wrist injury at St. John's that required surgery on Thursday, and he will miss the remainder of the regular season. The injury is a big blow to the Blue Jays on several fronts.

Nembhard was having a strong freshman season on both ends, averaging 11.3 points, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals against 3.1 turnovers. He was Creighton's primary ballhandler, and no else on the team averages over two assists. He has been Big East Freshman of the Week six times this season and leads the conference in minutes at 34.5 per game.

Nembhard's replacement figures to be fellow freshman Trey Alexander, who was a top-100 recruit like Nembhard. Alexander has averaged 6.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and made five starts this season. Though after Nembhard went down, Alexander stepped up and finished with 16 points and six assists. He also did not record a turnover in the second half. Creighton will need performances like that from Alexander on a regular basis moving forward.

Creighton is not the most dynamic offensive team to begin with. It ranks 118th in adjusted offensive efficiency, 213th in offensive rating, 287th in three-point percentage and 318th in turnover percentage. However, Creighton is 30th nationally in two-point field goal percentage.

Forward Ryan Hawkins averages 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and makes 56.1% of his twos. He is also the team's leading three-point shooter with 65 triples on 37.8% from beyond the arc . Center Ryan Kalibrenner averages 12. points, 7.3 rebounds and makes 65.7% of his two-point attempts. He also averages 2.7 blocks, which is tied for 13th nationally and is second in the Big East.

Kalibrenner anchors a Creighton defense that ranks 26th in adjusted defensive efficiency. It ranks eighth in two-point percentage defense and 14th in effective field goal percentage defense. That creates a lot of rebounding opportunities in Creighton's games. It is 13th nationally with 28.7 defensive rebounds per game, but opponents average 11.3 offensive rebounds, the 325th most offensive rebounds allowed.

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Providence Friars

Providence operates at a slow pace, ranking 295th in average offensive possession length and 292nd in average tempo. However, it has a very efficient offense, ranking 31st in adjusted offensive efficiency.

The Friars have four double-digit scorers led by center Nate Watson. He is averaging 14.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and he shoots 57% from the field. Guard Aljami Durham averages 13.4 points, though he is inefficient and shoots 33% from the field.

Guard Jared Bynum averages 12.9 points and 4.2 assists, and he is a 45.8% three-point shooter. He can fill it up off the bench, as he is the first Big East player with three games of 25 points off the bench in 25 years. Forward Noah Horcler averages 10 points and 8.5 rebounds, while guard A.J. Reaves is just a shade under 10 at 9.6 points per game. 

Providence does a great job of drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line. The Friars rank 37th nationally in fouls drawn and 13th in free-throw attempts, making 72.9% of them as a team.

Providence is 69th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency and seventh in the Big East. It is fifth in the conference in two-point percentage defense and fourth in three-point percentage defense. However, Providence is not a very disruptive team at the defensive end. It ranks 300th in turnover percentage and 308th in steals.

Creighton vs. Providence Betting Pick

Providence is 9-4 vs. Creighton at home all-time, and it is 15-1 at home this season. It will be 10-4 after tomorrow. Without Nembhard, Creighton will struggle to consistently generate offense against a quality defense. I expect Providence to do just enough offensively. I expect a big game from Bynum with Creighton's attention likely to be slowing down Watson on the interior.

Providence also has the added motivation of playing for a Big East title. It cannot afford a loss with the Villanova rematch on deck. I expect a spirited effort from the Friars on Senior Night. I'll be backing them to cover at home.

Pick: Providence -5.5

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