UC Santa Barbara vs Creighton Prediction
We have a great game to look forward to on Saturday March 20th at 3:30pm when the Creighton Blue Jays take on the UC Santa Barbra Gauchos in a upset watch special. Creighton enters this game as the #5 seed in the West region and UCSB is the #12, which everyone knows is the magic numbers for an upset. The oddsmakers don't seem to agree that this will be an upset though as the current point spread sits at +/- 7.5 with Creighton listed as the favorite. Everyone knows there will be a 5 v 12 upset out there but will it come in this game? Keep reading our Creighton vs UCSB prediction to see not only what we think, but which way our model is leaning in this game.
The Creighton Blue Jays enter this game in a bit of a weird spot. On the one hand Creighton ended the year with the most regular season wins in the Big East, but finished second, as Villanova had a better record in conference. On the other hand Creighton has been in some hot water due to some poorly worded comments coming from their head coach, and they were bounced from the Big East Tournament in embarrassing fashion. In their last game Creighton was only able to score 48 points against Georgetown and shot a terrible 9/34 from three point land. The game before that debacle the Blue Jays just edged past UConn but again shot an abysmal 24% from three. Creighton will have to use their time between games wisely to get ready because they have a very tough Big West opponent ahead of them.
Diving into the betting trends for Creighton we see a similar trend to a lot of the top power five conference teams, Creighton hasn't played that well against the spread with a 13-14 record, but a great home record. At home the Blue Jays have dominated with a 12-4 record straight up and a 9-7 record against the spread. That is great for this team but unfortunately it won't help them at all in the NCAA Tournament. Although Creighton was 7-4 on the road they didn't do well on the road at covering, with a 4-7 record against the spread on the road. The trend that sticks out the most is Creighton's record against the spread when they are the favorite which is 11-13 against the spread. Creighton will be the favorite in this game and will be giving 7.5 points
The betting trends may not love Creighton but the advanced metrics are on their side here. KenPom's adjusted efficacy rating has them 14th in the country, and 14th at effective FG %. They also take care of the ball well with 15.9 turnovers per game which places them 28th in the country. Where the Blue Jays advanced metrics get scary is their 64% free throw percentage, making your free throws is vital in March and even more important when you are trying to cover a -7.5 spread. Creighton has some pretty favorable numbers on defense as well limiting teams to shooting 32% from three on offense. The Blue Jays will definitely have their hands full with a dynamic and powerful UCSB offense. Keep reading our UCSB vs Creighton prediction to see how we feel about the Gauchos.
UC Santa Barbara Preview
The UCSB Gauchos enter this game very much under the radar but as the Big West Champions. Most people were asleep for all of the Big West games this season, but the Gauchos silently dominated. The Gauchos finished the year with a 22-4 record overall and a 15-3 record in the Big West. Ending their year against UC Irvine with a commanding win, UCSB will be looking for their first statement win this season against Creighton. The issues with playing in the Big West is that you really don't play tough competition. UCSB's best win may have been against UC Irvine who is currently ranked #109 in KenPom's overall rankings. Although the Gauchos are missing a statement win they did what they had to do to punch their ticket into the big dance.
UCSB really hasn't played any tough competition this season and their betting trends reflect that. On the season the Gauchos are 14-10 against the spread, which includes a 11-9 record as the favorite, but what matters here is their record as an underdog. This year UCSB only found its self as an underdog twice, once against Pepperdine and the other against Loyola Marymount, they split these games and ended the year 1-1 against the spread as an underdog. This will be the first time this year UCSB is getting more than 3 points in a matchup.
Diving into the advanced metrics they love the Gauchos offense, which is led by dynamic guard JaQuori McLaughlin. KenPom has UCSB ranked as #66 in offensive efficacy, and #47 in 2 point %, this team also takes care of the ball well with an average of 16.5 turnovers a game. The Gauchos shoot much better from the free throw line and where they really stand out is the length of possession. On average UCSB hold the ball for 17.9 seconds which ranks them 248th in the country. This is a much slower pace than Creighton's 16 seconds, if Creighton does not shoot the ball well from three again this could stat could be very important. Keep reading below for our full UCSB vs Creighton prediction
Full Game Prediction
No matter what we should have a great game on our hands when UCSB vs Creighton finally tips off on Saturday at 3:30pm. Creighton has looked great on paper all year but has sputtered towards the end. UCSB has dominated the Big West all season, but hasn't played a real opponent this season. Creighton has shot the ball terribly in the past few games and will need to find their shooting streak if they want to cover this huge +/-7.5 point spread. USCB has some interesting road blocks for Creighton to get past with JaQuori McLaughlin leading the way all season. One thing you can't forget is that this is a 5 vs 12 matchup and it is bound to be close. We have a feeling UCSB is going to make this tough for Creighton, although the Gauchos may not be able to come away with a win on the moneyline we love the spread here. Creighton has been playing close games down the stretch and we have a feeling this one will be close as well. We are betting UCSB and taking the points with us, if you want to see which way our college basketball model is betting subscribe to BetQL.