NCAAB Betting Guide for UConn vs. Creighton
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: UConn’s Adama Sanogo.
UConn vs. Creighton Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The two top teams in the Big East based on the betting markets will meet in Omaha on Saturday in one of the most highly-anticipated games of Saturday’s college basketball slate.
UConn beat Creighton at home in January when the Huskies looked like the best team in the country and Creighton was struggling for form.
Now it’s the Huskies who come into this game in inconsistent form against a surging Bluejays team that now have a real chance of winning the Big East regular-season title.
Creighton is healthy and fresh off an impressive road win at Seton Hall on Wednesday, while Connecticut just crushed Marquette on the Huskies’ home floor the day before.
The Huskies defense set the tone in the win over Marquette with their physicality taking the Golden Eagles out of their offensive passing and motion rhythm. They’ll look to do the same on Saturday against Creighton, which, despite turnover issues, mostly got the shots it wanted against an excellent Seton Hall defense on Wednesday.
The Huskies won this game at the rim in the first meeting, but both offenses will struggle to get consistently good looks there given the elite rim protection at both ends defensively.
Connecticut’s offense is heavily reliant on volume to overcome its lacking first-shot efficiency. The Huskies hit the offensive glass at one of the highest rates in the nation, and it’s a significant advantage against teams that don’t have the size or interior presence to match up with them.
The Huskies are first in Big East play in offensive rebounding rate, but they’ll face a difficult challenge dominating Creighton on the glass. Since Big East play began, Creighton has the top defensive rebounding unit in the league.
UConn ranks third in potential points off of second-chance opportunities and 41st in near proximity field goal percentage, per Haslametrics.
The Huskies have plenty of outside shooting too, but they’re an offense that wants to throw it up to the rim and generate putback and second-chance looks through Adama Sanogo and Donovan Clingan.
Sanogo got the better of Ryan Kalkbrenner in the first meeting, as he scored 26 points and also hit two 3s. It was one of the best games he’s had all year, but Connecticut still only had 1.05 PPP in the game as a team. The Huskies were held to nine offensive rebounds, their lowest offensive rebounding rate of the season.
UConn’s return to offensive dominance has been driven by offensive rebounding, and it’s going to be hard to capitalize there in this matchup. If you can make UConn a first shot only offense, you can limit their efficiency.
Creighton had one of its worst shooting games of the season in Storrs and was still in that game down the stretch run. It was largely unable to make anything from the perimeter — open or contested.
Baylor Scheierman finished that game 1-of-7 from beyond the arc, and the team had just 0.91 PPP after it made 2-of-16 from 3 in total. Creighton was expected to score 11 more points on 3s and seven more at the rim, based on the final ShotQuality report.
Maybe the Bluejays were unlucky and just a victim of shooting variance on the day. However, I tend to think the athleticism and length of the Huskies defense bothered them and took them out of rhythm. The elite shot blocking and defensive presence between Clingan and Sanogo bothered the passing, finesse-heavy Bluejays offense.
Creighton won’t shoot that poorly from 3 again on its home floor, but it’s hard to score on UConn at the rim. The Huskies rank 19th in 3-point field goal percentage allowed and combine that with an elite rank of 25th in near proximity field goal percentage allowed.
The Bluejays are also not going to give away a lot of free points at the line, which is always nice for an under. They foul at the lowest rate in the Big East.
UConn vs. Creighton Betting Pick
Both of these teams went over their posted totals during their midweek games because of red-hot shooting performances. ShotQuality data suggests both offenses — especially Creighton’s — massively overperformed their numbers on the night.
This total opened at 143, which is a point or two higher than where I expected it. Some of that could be recency bias from these elite offensive performances.
If you check the last meeting, which closed 137 and went under by eight points, it’s a surprise to see this total open in the 140s. I would bet the under at 140 or better and expect Sanogo, Clingan and Kalkbrenner to disrupt these offenses’ ability to get easy looks inside.
Pick: Under 140 or Better
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