TV Schedule: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 9:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
Arena: Century Link Center Omaha, Omaha, Neb.
The Creighton Bluejays entered the season as a team expected to struggle, but they have looked dominant over weaker opposition en route to a 5-1 start. The problem with their decent early-season record, however, is that the majority of the opponents they have beaten will not make the 2016 NCAA tournament. Their lack of quality wins is why a home victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils on Wednesday night would be absolutely massive in terms of the March Madness hopes.
Arizona State lost all credibility after their opening game loss to the now 5-1 Sacramento State Hornets, but they have since won four of their last five, including great wins over the Belmont Bruins and North Carolina State Wolfpack. With Creighton, the Texas A&M Aggies, the Kentucky Wildcats and the UNLV Rebels coming up for the Sun Devils, Arizona State plays their most difficult four-game stretch of the entire season next, meaning a huge road win over Creighton could give this team the confidence it needs to knock off one of their tougher upcoming foes.
The Sun Devils and Bluejays are two very similar teams when it comes to point production, with neither team having a player who scores over 13 points per game but both boasting at least seven players who average at least 6.8 points per game. Although Arizona State takes more threes per game, Creighton has a much higher percentage of threes made. This could become the crucial stat to watch, as the Sun Devils are a much better rebounding team than the Bluejays and should get lots of second-chance opportunities.
Both of these teams should be in the bubble discussion heading into March, but I’ll give this game to Arizona State and their superior rebounding ability in a tight one.
Prediction: Arizona State 78, Creighton 74