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No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 3 Baylor preview, picks for second round of 2023 NCAA Tournament

The Bluejays and the Bears meet at Ball Arena in the second round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-UC Santa Barbara vs Baylor Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 6 Creighton Bluejays advanced to the second round with a win over NC State, where they will face the No. 3 Baylor Bears at Ball Arena. The game will air on TBS at 7:10 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 19. Baylor enters as a one-point favorite.

No. 6 Creighton (22-12, 14-6 Big East)

First round result: Defeated NC State, 72-63
KenPom rating: 13 Overall, 27 Offense, 15 Defense
NET ranking: 17, (3-8 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Ryan Kalkbrenner, 15.4 ppg
Key stat: 28.7 defensive rebounds per game (5th in the nation)

The Creighton Bluejays’ Ryan Kalkbrenner had a career-defining game against NC State, adding 31 points in the win. The Wolfpack stayed in it for most of the game, but a dagger three from Baylor Scheierman put the final nail in their coffin. The Bluejays struggled from the three, but with Kalkbrenner down low for the put-back shots, it didn’t really matter. They may need to diversify their shot options if they hope to continue a run into the tournament.

No. 3 Baylor (23-10, 11-7)

First round result: Defeated UCSB, 74-56
KenPom rating: 15 Overall, 2 Offense, 104 Defense
NET ranking: 15, (11-10 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Keyonte George, 15.8 ppg
Key stat: 37.2% from the three-point line (36th in the nation)

Baylor overcame UCSB despite a strong offensive effort from the Gauchos. They couldn’t quite match the Bears’ 54.9% rate from the field. Baylor showcased their depth in this one, with Caleb Lohner coming off the bench for 13 points and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua grabbing a team-leading nine rebounds despite not starting.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Baylor -1
Point total: 145.5
Moneyline: Baylor -115, Creighton -105

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Creighton +1
Point total pick: Under 145.5
Pick to Win: Creighton -105

It will be hard to defend Ryan Kalkbrenner, particularly for a Baylor team whose defense is not its strong suit. The Bluejays will be better-matched to defend the Bears than vice versa, so I’m going with Creighton in a close one.