- #7 Kansas and #9 Creighton do battle in a marquee matchup on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 5:00 pm ET
- Despite their strong standing, neither team has fared well against the spread
- Odds for the game, as well as matchup analysis and a pick, can be found in the article below
A special top-ten matchup takes place in college basketball on Tuesday night, as #7 Kansas hosts #9 Creighton at Allen Fieldhouse (5:00 pm ET). The Jayhawks and Bluejays have a 7-1 combined record, but they are only 2-5 against the spread (the line was off for one of Kansas’s games).
One of them will cover, and we’ll get into who we think that is in the article below. First, take a look at the odds for the game:
#9 Creighton vs #7 Kansas Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Point Spread||Over/Under Total|
Odds as of Dec. 7 at FanDuel
How They’ve Fared So Far
Kansas started its season with a loss, but can we really blame them? It came by a 12-point margin against the top team in the nation, Gonzaga. If anything, you might look at that experience as a good tune-up for the Jayhawks — a shot in the arm of sorts, to get the season rolling.
And they certainly have been rolling since then, winning four in a row — including a 65-62 victory over #20 Kentucky last week. Losing to Gonzaga made Kansas a battle-tested bunch for that one. The Jayhawks also wins over two other top-200 schools in Saint Joseph’s and North Dakota State. Not a bad little resume.
Creighton’s early showing is less pronounced, as the Bluejays have soundly beaten three lesser opponents. One of those happened to be North Dakota State, which Creighton beat in its opener, 69-58.
It might not be wholly fair to read into game scores, but Kansas only beat NDSU 65-61.
Creighton is 1-2 against the spread this year, but keep in mind that they’ve been heavy favorites in all three of their games (seeing spreads of 21, 23 and 37.5 points).
Last season, in their final six games that featured a single-digit spread, the Bluejays were 5-1. They are also 7-1 against the spread in their past eight games against teams with a winning record.
? Weekend ????? ⚪️#GoJays pic.twitter.com/08U2yq2dTR
— Creighton Men’s Basketball (@BluejayMBB) December 5, 2020
Despite playing five games, Kansas is only 1-3 against the spread this year because their game against Division II Washburn didn’t have odds. The Jayhawks are 2-2 in their past four games that feature single-digit spreads, but they’re 0-2 in those games this season.
Oh, and Kansas is just as strong as Creighton when it comes to beating the spread against teams with winning records. The Jayhawks are 6-1 in that regard of late.
What To Watch For
Kansas is no slouch on offense, but this game looks like it’ll come down to their defense versus Creighton’s offense. The Jayhawks are fifth in D-I in adjusted defensive efficiency, as rated by KenPom, while the Bluejays are sixth in D-I in adjusted offensive efficiency.
Top plays comin’ your way ⬎ pic.twitter.com/uvVrgNOK5M
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) December 6, 2020
Weirdly enough, nothing sticks out to explain why Kansas has been so good defensively: none of their rebound/steal/block rates are top 50 in D-I. Are they simply good positionally? Have they been getting lucky?
If it has been luck, Creighton might be in position to expose some things. The Bluejays are excellent at taking care of the ball (10.8 turnover rate, third in D-I), scoring inside (66.3 2-pt. shooting percentage, second in D-I) and scoring from the line (83.3 free throw percentage, sixth in D-I).
The Bluejays are also impossibly deep, with six players averaging double-digit points. You really don’t see that everyday.
The Local Kid:
✅ Delivering fans the pizza
✅ Driving through traffic
✅ Making impossible shots pic.twitter.com/7KskVgSUtk
— Creighton Men’s Basketball (@BluejayMBB) December 4, 2020
Yes, Creighton has played weaker opponents than Kansas. But the Bluejays had a stronger showing against their one common opponent, and Creighton’s offense is practically as potent as Gonzaga’s — which spells bad news for Kansas. The Bluejays could eke out a straight-up win, but we’ll be content taking the points.
Pick: Creighton +4.5 (-110)