NCAAB: Creighton vs. Kansas odds, preview, and pick

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December 7th, 2020

The No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks are a proud program with an impressive resume at home over the years, but they experienced a scare in their last game against North Dakota State. Winning 65-61 in a game they led for only eight minutes, the Jayhawks now welcome No. 9 Creighton into Lawrence for a top 10 showdown on Tuesday night.

Kansas is a 4.5-point favorite, but oddsmakers prefer the Bluejays longterm, as they have slightly better odds to win the 2021 NCAA National Championship.

Kansas needs new stars to emerge

For Kansas, the loss of 2019 stars Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike has created some growing pains. This was evident in their last game against NDSU, as they shot just 38.7% from the field, and only had two players score in double-digits.

Garrett and Braun need to step up

Senior Marcus Garrett has the most career starts and will presumably be relied on to lead the offense, but he is more of a defensive guard than an offensive spark plug, so others will need to step up as well.

Sophomore Christian Braun is their best outside shooter, and at 6'6" has the height to get his shot off against smaller defenders, but Kansas needs to do a better job at getting him open looks. He attempted just two threes against the Bison. Braun put up 30 points in Kansas’ second game against Saint Joseph's, but hasn’t broken double digits in any other contest.

Creighton is among the deepest teams in the nation

For Creighton, depth defines the roster and it’s easy to see why they are a fringe national title contender. They have four starters that average double figures in scoring, and super subs Antwann Jones and Ryan Kalkbrenner can come off the bench to help beat most second-team lineups.

Junior point guard Marcus Zegarowski will get the most minutes and has been a double-digit scorer all three years at Creighton. He can distribute as well, averaging 4.3 assists per game over his career and 7.0 assists per game through three contests in 2020. Effective offensive guard play is integral to college basketball success, and his veteran presence and ability to distribute will be important for Creighton to succeed.

Creighton has an advantage in the paint

In this matchup, Creighton will have a size advantage against the Jayhawks, as Kansas is still searching for a dominant low-post presence with Azubuike departed. With poor outside shooting and a lack of interior beef, Kansas’ only advantage appears to be the athleticism of their guards.

Will Kansas cover the spread against Creighton on Tuesday?

Look for Creighton’s diverse offense to keep the Jayhawks on their heels, and without the typical Kansas home crowd intimidating visiting shooters, Creighton should play well enough to pull off a mild upset.

Creighton was the best team in the Big East in 2019, and while this is a step up in class from what they’ve faced so far this season, they are no stranger to playing quality competition.

NCAAB pick: Creighton +4.5