Creighton vs. San Diego State NCAA Tournament First Round Picks

Adam Seiko #2 of the San Diego State Aztecs. David Becker/Getty Images/AFP

A couple of teams not accustomed to prime-time treatment are in the spotlight on the first full day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and we’re looking at the college basketball betting odds for the matchup between the Creighton Bluejays and San Diego State Aztecs. 

Creighton Bluejays vs. San Diego State Aztecs 

Thursday, March 17, 2022 – 07:27 PM EDT at Dickies Arena 

It’s a Big East versus Mountain West collision when Creighton and San Diego take to the court Thursday evening in Ft. Worth. The Bluejays and Aztecs enter the game following disappointing losses in their respective conference tournament championship games, and the winner will face Kansas as the top seed in the Midwest Region, barring the Jayhawks being upset by a 16-seed, that is. 

In addition to being on the wrong side of the NCAAB scores their last time out, the Bluejays and Aztecs share a penchant for defense. San Diego State is second in the country allowing just 57.7 points per game, and third allowing opponents to connect on only 38.2% of their field goals, while Creighton is in the top 20% in fewest points allowed and top 20 in defensive FG% (39.5). 

‘Jays Enter Dance on 1-6 O/U Run 

This 8-9 matchup is the last of four contests to tip in the 7 o’clock (ET) hour on Thursday, and the action can be followed on truTV. The winner will want to shower quickly once they’re done and return to watch Kansas in a 1/16 clash, and the best online betting sites say San Diego State will be that winner as 2½-point chalk, with the lowest total on Thursday’s board at 120-120½. 

It was supposed to be one-and-done for Greg McDermott’s crew in the Big East Tournament, but the Bluejays almost won it all instead. They had the No. 4 seed in the league, falling in two of their final three regular-season games after losing freshman sensation Ryan Nembhard in a February 23 victory at St. John’s

Nembhard led Creighton in minutes (34.8) and assists (4.4 apg) while ranking fourth in scoring (11.3 ppg) before the wrist injury ended his season, and his subtraction had the Bluejays playing as the underdogs in all three Big East Tournament games. Creighton beat Marquette and regular-season champ Providence outright before falling to Villanova in the league championship. 

Creighton spotted Villanova a 7-0 lead in that game and ended up losing by six. The Bluejays fought back and held a one-point lead with under four minutes to go before Collin Gillespie sank a couple of late 3-pointers to lift the Wildcats. The 54-48 final was still close enough for Creighton backers to return to the window along with the 7-points from the oddsmakers. 

SDSU Closes Regular Season Covering Nine of Last Ten 

It was nothing new for Brian Dutcher, who is wrapping up his fifth season at San Diego State, to lead the Aztecs to either the Mountain West title game or the NCAA Tournament. After all, the Aztecs made it to the conference championship in each of the previous four seasons under Dutcher, and are going dancing for a third time in the four NCAA Tournaments during that span. 

After a bit of a ragged start to the Mountain West schedule when San Diego State treaded water to a 4-3 league mark, the Aztecs surged to a 9-1 record down the stretch, also covering the college basketball odds in nine of those 10 games. It earned them the No. 3 seed, and the Aztecs knocked off No. 6 seed Fresno State in the quarterfinals before taking out No. 2 Colorado State. 

Top-seeded Boise State was waiting in the Championship Game, and what a battle it was with 11 lead changes and six ties in the first half alone. The Broncos took the lead for good with 6:41 remaining, and San Diego State scored only one bucket in the final 2+ minutes to fall 53-52. All three of the Aztecs’ games in the MWC Tournament stayed ‘under’ the totals. 

Aztecs Have Won Last Two Meetings 

This is the eighth time the two programs have met, and the first time for the matchup to take place in the NCAA Tournament. Creighton holds a 4-3 advantage over San Diego State, but the Aztecs have won the last two clashes. The most recent was November 2019 in San Diego where the Aztecs pounded the Bluejays 83-52, with SDSU also favored by 2½ in that one. 

Creighton proved it could win without its Big East Freshman of the Year in the conference tourney, but not having Nembhard out on the perimeter offensively and defensively will hurt against San Diego State. The ‘under’ is intriguing, but the Aztecs are the winning college basketball pick in this one. 

NCAAB Pick: San Diego State -2 (-113) with Unibet