The second game of Saturday’s Round of 32 slate will feature the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks against the No. 9 seed Creighton Bluejays.
The Bluejays took part in one of several thrillers during Thursday night’s slate. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks blew past Texas Southern by 27 to cap a day that was filled with madness.
Can the potentially short-handed Bluejays hang with the Jayhawks? Or does this game have rout written all over it? Let’s break it down.
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Creighton Bluejays vs. Kansas Jayhawks Game Info
- Date: Saturday, March 19, 2022
- Start time: 2:40 p.m. ET
- Location: Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas
- Coverage: CBS
- Last meeting: December 8, 2020, Kansas defeated Creighton 73-72
Creighton vs. Kansas Betting Odds
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
- Moneyline: Creighton +570, Kansas -625
- Point spread: Kansas -12 (-110), Creighton +12 (-110)
- Total: 139.5
- Creighton is 14-14-2 overall against the spread
- Kansas is 14-17 overall ATS
- Creighton is 9-5 ATS as an underdog
- Kansas is 14-16 ATS as a favorite
- Creighton is 4-4-2 ATS in its last 10 games
- Kansas is 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games
- Creighton games are 19-10-1 to the under this season
- Kansas games are 16-14-1 to the over this season
Creighton Bluejays Betting Preview
Creighton’s season appeared to be coming to a close as they trailed by nine with 3:52 left in the second half Thursday night. The Bluejays had led the game for a grand total of 25 seconds and struggled to claw their way back into the game.
Then, the Bluejays woke up and San Diego State crumbled. Creighton closed the second half on a 9-0 run to send the game to overtime. They ultimately won by three — the true definition of survive and advance. However, Creighton’s victory came at a cost.
Creighton’s top player, center Ryan Kalkbrenner, injured his left knee with 2:42 left in the second half. He did not return to action.
Creighton's Ryan Kalkbrenner Suffers Awful Knee Injury pic.twitter.com/qGgQbcgdZo
— Main Team (@MainTeamSports2) March 18, 2022
Coach Greg McDermott announced Kalkbrenner is unlikely to play Saturday against Kansas, a devastating loss for a team that was already shorthanded. Kalkbrenner was Creighton’s second-leading scorer and an imposing presence in the paint at 7-foot-1. Senior Keyshawn Feazell will likely have to step up for a Bluejays team that played only seven guys Thursday night.
To top it off, Creighton was already without its primary ball handler, Ryan Nembhard, who underwent wrist surgery before the Big East Tournament.
To say Creighton is short-handed is an understatement. It was already hard enough for the Bluejays to put the ball in the basket, as they ranked 147th in adjusted offensive efficiency. Now, Creighton will have to find a way without its big man.
Creighton will need leading scorer Ryan Hawkins and Alex O’Connell to step up. McDermott is a great coach, and the Bluejays defend at a high level. But it’s fair to wonder if they can overcome another devastating injury.
Kansas Jayhawks Betting Preview
While Creighton needed a miraculous overtime comeback to advance to the Round of 32, Kansas barely had to lift a finger to dispose of Texas Southern.
The Jayhawks destroyed Texas Southern, holding them to 19-of-58 from the floor. Frankly, it’s what a top seed should do against a 16-seed that played two nights prior. But considering all Creighton went through to get past San Diego State, it’s a big advantage.
Kansas is one of the most balanced teams in the country, ranking eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency and 21st in defensive efficiency. They’re led by Player of the Year candidate Ochai Agbaji and have plenty of talented players around him. In this particular game, center David McCormack could have a big day. The 6-foot-10 monster should feast on the offensive glass with Kalkbrenner out.
Defensively, the Jayhawks clamp down the perimeter. They rank 62nd in opponent 3-point rate and have allowed teams to shoot just 29.9% from the outside.
Creighton Bluejays vs. Kansas Jayhawks Betting Pick
The Bluejays specialize in scoring inside and defending inside. They rank 38th in 2-point shooting and eighth on the other side of the floor. All of that changes without Kalkbrenner, who’s made 65% of his 2-point shots. Creighton is also extremely sloppy with the ball, turning it over on 20.7% of their possessions. Kansas doesn’t generate a ton of turnovers, but their athleticism should allow them to pressure the ball and force takeaways from the short-handed Bluejays.
Greg McDermott is a spectacular coach, but this is too much to ask of Creighton.
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