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Thursday college basketball betting previews: Creighton-Providence and S.D. St.-Fresno St.

By Greg Peterson  (VSiN.com) 

Creighton vs Providence (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1)

Opening Line: Creighton -4

Offensive Efficiency: Creighton #14, Providence #169

Defensive Efficiency: Creighton #154, Providence #146

Rebound Rate: Creighton #139, Providence #157

Percent of Shots are 3s: Creighton #36, Providence #288

Free-Throw Shooting Percentage: Creighton #50, Providence #235

Pace: Creighton #46, Providence #134

Creighton and Providence have more similar resumes than it first may appear. Creighton has been struggling since forward Martin Krampelj was lost for the season with an injury. He was the team's leading rebounder and the team has gone 5-6 against D1 foes without him.

Providence has been a mystery all season. The Friars have been trading wins and losses for much of the back half of the season, having a high point of knocking off then-No. 1 Villanova and losing by 17 at home to DePaul the game before.

Creighton is one of the better 3-point shooting teams in the country. But with Krampelj out, the Blue Jays have been getting fewer put-backs.

For Providence, 70 is a key number. The Friars are 11-1 when holding opponents to 70 points and 8-11 when allowing more than 70.

They split the regular-season series with each getting wins of 15 points or more. Providence attacked the paint in the lone showdown it had with Krampelj out of the lineup, making 25 of 40 2-point attempts. The Friars have the advantage in the paint and should have a good chance to win and cover if they exploit that weak point.

Creighton has one of the lowest turnover rates in the country, but also does not force a lot of turnovers on defense. If the Blue Jays can get a few steals, it will present an opportunity to get some easy transition baskets and put coach Greg McDermott's bunch in a favorable position to cover and win.

San Diego State vs Fresno State (5:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network)

Opening Line: San Diego State -3

Offensive Efficiency: San Diego State #225, Fresno State #40

Defensive Efficiency: San Diego State #39, Fresno State #116

Rebound Rate: San Diego State #39, Fresno State #84

Percent of Shots are 3s: San Diego State #184, Fresno State #316

Free-Throw Shooting Percentage: San Diego State #153, Fresno State #216

Pace: San Diego State #189, Fresno State #255

San Diego State is a strong defensive unit that struggles on offense. The Aztecs must win the Mountain West to get into the NCAA Tournament and first must get a win against a Fresno State squad that is spearheaded by guys that hit shots in isolation.

Both teams have been good at keeping opponents off the glass and limiting second chances. Fresno State has the clear advantage shooting field goals, but that partially gets negated by a poor free-throw shooting percentage.

The Aztecs do not take a lot of 3s, and, for good reason, because they are below average from distance. Fresno State makes nearly 40 percent of the 3s it takes, but does not take many of them since its big men are not very versatile. With guard Jaron Hopkins out for the rest of the season, Fresno State has even less backcourt ammo.

With both teams not much in the way of jump shooters, this game will likely be decided on the boards. San Diego State got forward Malik Pope back from a one-game suspension just before the end of Mountain West play and was already a solid rebounding team without him.

With neither team being better than the national average at the line, the game could come down to free throws.

San Diego State does a good job of not turning the ball over and will need to get clean looks to give itself the best chance to win and cover.

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