NCAA March Madness: San Diego State vs. Creighton Elite Eight betting preview, odds and predictions

By Zachary Cohen  ( 

March 24, 2023 08:15 PM

NCAA March Madness: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Creighton Bluejays betting preview, odds and predictions

In a 5 vs. 6 matchup in the South region of the NCAA Tournament, the San Diego State Aztecs face the Creighton Bluejays with a spot in the Final Four on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs. 

MORE: Check out the public betting splits for every college basketball game on the VSiN betting splits page

How to watch San Diego State vs. Creighton

When: Sunday (Time: TBD)

Where: KFC Yum! Center - Louisville, Kentucky

Watch: CBS

Odds for San Diego State vs. Creighton

Spread: Creighton -1

Total: 136

(Odds accurate as of Friday, March 24th at 11:15 p.m. ET)

Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook

South Region No. 5 Seed San Diego State Aztecs 

San Diego State looks more like a blue blood than a mid-major when it comes to talent, and the Aztecs proved that by knocking off the top-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sweet 16. San Diego State was a team our VSiN Power Ratings were high on all year, and defense is the reason for that. Brian Dutcher’s team is fourth in Bart Torvik’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings, and the Aztecs are going to continue to give opponents hell on that end of the floor. The question is whether this team can continue to score at a high level, but things have gone well offensively thus far. San Diego State has scored at least 70 points in back-to-back games, and that’s all the team needs with this defense. Keep an eye on Darrion Trammell here. He has shown that he can rise to the occasion in big games, and he led the way with 21 points for the Aztecs against the Crimson Tide.

South Region No. 6 Seed Creighton Bluejays

Creighton was a popular pick to win it all before the season started, but the team started just 6-6 this year. The Bluejays have, however, righted the ship at this point, and they have the talent in place to win a championship. Ryan Nembhard is one of the best point guards in all of college basketball, and Baylor Scheierman is a tremendous shooter on the perimeter. Creighton also has a good center in Ryan Kalkbrenner, and Trey Alexander and Arthur Kaluma are good wing players. All in all, this starting five is as good as any in the country. But will depth be an issue against San Diego State? It might be. The Aztecs play a lot of guys and always have fresh legs. It’ll also be interesting to see how Kalkbrenner plays here. He has been Creighton’s best player in this tournament, but San Diego State is remarkable defensively.

San Diego State vs. Creighton matchup analysis

Ryan Kalkbrenner has been a force for the Bluejays in this tournament, but he'll now have to do his work against Nathan Mensah, who is a two-time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. Mensah is the anchor of a San Diego State defense that is fourth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to both KenPom and Bart Torvik. That means it could be a little difficult for Kalkbrenner to get it going in this one, and that would put a lot of pressure on Creighton's shooters to get it done in this game. 

The Bluejays do have a bunch of capable shooters on their roster, but they weren't anything special when it came to 3P% this season. And San Diego State also happens to be a top-five team in the nation in 3P% defense, so there's no guarantee Creighton will get good looks from deep. With that said, it'll take some really impressive shotmaking in order for the Bluejays to hurt this Aztecs defense. Creighton does have some guys that are comfortable taking tough shots. But that's a difficult way to win games. 

The hope for the Bluejays will be that they'll be able to similarly suffocate the Aztecs with their defense. Creighton is a top-15 team when it comes to adjusted defensive efficiency, and San Diego State doesn't exactly have a high-powered offense. With that said, it isn't out of the question that this will be an ugly game that goes down to the wire, which would definitely favor Creighton. For as bad as the matchup is, if this ends up being a one-possession game, the Bluejays would have every right to be confident that their edge on the offensive end will take them home. 

The problem with banking on Creighton's defense to completely shut down San Diego State is that Darrion Trammell is brimming with confidence right now. The guard had 21 points in the win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sweet 16, and he's a guy that also played well against some high-level competition in the Maui Invitational early in the year. It wouldn't be surprising at all if he were to have another nice game as a scorer here, and the Aztecs are going to be a very tough team to beat if Trammell is taking his team's offense to another level. 

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