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Maui Invitational Title Game Odds, Picks | Creighton vs Arizona Betting Guide

Maui Invitational Title Game Odds, Picks | Creighton vs Arizona Betting Guide article feature image
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Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images. Pictured: Kerr Kriisa (Arizona)

Creighton vs. Arizona Odds

Wednesday, Nov. 23
5 p.m. ET
ESPN
Creighton Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+2.5
-110
163.5
-114o / -106u
+120
Arizona Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-2.5
-110
163.5
-114o / -106u
-144
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

For the first time since 1969, the Creighton Bluejays will face the Arizona Wildcats as they square off for the Maui Invitational Championship.

Both teams come into the final having yet to lose a game this season. The Wildcats will be looking to take home the trophy and surfboard for the third time, while the Bluejays hope to make the most out of their first-ever appearance in the tournament.

Creighton squared off against Eric Musselman and his Razorbacks in the semifinals. The Bluejays came out hot against Arkansas in the first half, building up a lead as high as 12 points before going to the half up six.

But as many expected, the Hogs didn’t go quietly. They came out of halftime fired up, taking the lead and were up two with 13 minutes left in the game.

The rest of the way was an absolute rock fight that saw Arkansas tie the game six different times and take the lead twice. Creighton led by as many as six, but the game never seemed out of Arkansas’ reach. In the end, the Bluejays held off the Razorbacks, winning by three.

Arizona’s semifinal matchup was exciting, but for different reasons. The Wildcats led by as many as 16 in the first half before San Diego State raced back, heading to the locker room down just four.

The Aztecs kept the momentum rolling into the second half, immediately going on an 8-3 run. They took the lead at 41-40 with just over 17 minutes left, but Arizona called a timeout, and the rest was history.

Foul trouble became an issue for both teams, but Arizona kept making shots. The Wildcats would outscore the Aztecs 47-29 the rest of the way, pushing their lead as high as 21 before winning by 17.

Creighton and Arizona represent two of the country’s top-10 offensive units. But as the saying goes, defense wins championships.

Whichever team can elevate its game at the defensive end will find itself at the top of the podium on Wednesday.


Creighton Bluejays

The trio of Ryan Nembhard, Baylor Scheierman and Ryan Kalkbrenner make up the core of this Bluejays team. The group is one of the most elite and versatile big three in all of college basketball.

With Trey Alexander and Arthur Kaluma on the floor, they indeed are one of the best starting five in all of college basketball, ranking in the 100th percentile when it comes to +/-.

Image Credit: CBB Analytics

As you already know, the Bluejays’ offense is one of the best in the country, posting an adjusted field goal percentage of 59.7%.

But one thing that becomes extremely important as they match up with the Wildcats is how much they rely on interior scoring

Image Credit: CBB Analytics 

47.1% of Creighton’s field-goal attempts come either at the rim or in the paint. And while the Bluejays rank in the 89th percentile or better both at the rim and in the paint, I don’t think that will continue against Arizona.

The Wildcats’ defense ranks in the 99th percentile in defending shots at the rim, holding opponents to just 45.1%.

While the Cats haven’t been as dominant against shots in the paint — allowing teams to make 46% of their attempts — their overall defense against 2s — where they hold teams to only 40.3% — displays just how elite their interior defense can be.

Image Credit: CBB Analytics
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Arizona Wildcats

With all due respect to the rest of the Wildcats, Courtney Ramey has been the difference-maker for Arizona in Maui.

In two games, he’s racked up 38 points while shooting 66.6% from the floor and 80% from beyond the arc.

The craziest part about his performance is that it’s not a one-off run of impressive shooting. This entire team is putting up numbers like that.

Image Credit: CBB Analytics

Six Wildcats average more than 20 minutes a game. Of those six, their worst FG% among the group is 56.7%.

In terms of 3-pointers, four players have made 10 attempts or more this season — the worst shooter in the group is still hitting 36.4%.

Weaknesses have been few and far between for Arizona this season, but there are a few areas that Creighton can target specifically.

First is 3-point defense. Arizona allows teams to make 39.3% of their attempts from beyond the arc. The Wildcats are even worse when it comes to corner 3s, where the Bluejays thrive.

Image Credit: CBB Analytics

The other concern is turnovers. Arizona turns the ball over on 22.5% of its possessions, and even worse, 14.3% of its possessions end in a turnover due to a steal.

The good news for Arizona is the Bluejays rank outside the top 200 on defense in both turnover percentage and steals.

In its two Maui Invitational games so far, Creighton has recorded a total of eight steals and benefited from just 18 turnovers.


Creighton vs. Arizona Betting Pick

These are two Sweet-16 level teams, and this game is a must-watch.

But with that said, Arizona holds the advantage over Creighton.

Creighton struggled on the boards against Arkansas, and while it out-rebounded the Razorbacks once it was all said and done, this was primarily due to foul trouble and Arkansas’ lack of depth.

Arizona is a taller team than Arkansas and a better rebounding team than Arkansas. And while the Wildcats could find themselves in foul trouble, the difference is the depth of this Pac-12 team.

After both semifinal games saw more than 36 fouls total, I fully expect that to be a factor once again in the championship.

Arizona’s depth and talent on the bench will be the difference in this one late in the game when things get dicey. Back the Wildcats as high as a three-point favorite to take home the hardware for the third time.

It’s also worth noting (even though it doesn’t have much bearing on this game) that every showdown in the Maui Invitational on Monday and Tuesday saw the favorite not only win, but cover the spread.

Pick: Arizona -3 or Better

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