The Elite Eight begins Sunday play with a matchup between the No. 5 San Diego State Aztecs and the No. 6 Creighton Bluejays as they battle for a spot in the Final Four. The game will get started at 2:20 p.m. ET from the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, and will air on CBS.
Let’s take a look at the matchup and make a prediction.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Creighton -2
Moneyline: Creighton -135, SDSU +115
No. 5 SDSU vs. No. 6 Creighton Prediction
San Diego State may have just been adopted as everyone in the country’s new favorite team — outside of the state of Alabama, that is. With brackets destroyed and no No. 1 seeds remaining this weekend, can the Aztecs reach a Final Four game for the first time in program history? They may have been underestimated by many (including me) coming out of the Mountain West, but the Aztecs’ defense is the real deal.
They held Alabama to a 23-point first half in the Sweet Sixteen, and have held opponents to 32.2% shooting from the field throughout the tournament. They will have trouble limiting Ryan Kalkbrenner inside, as every Creighton opponent does, but if they can hold off any other shots, SDSU has a solid chance here.
The Bluejays don’t have much depth on their offense, but they also don’t really need to. Their starters pick up each others’ slack when anyone is getting double-teamed, and they have plenty of shooters outside of Kalkbrenner. He has three inches of height on SDSU big man Nathan Mensah, and Mensah will need to stay out of foul trouble to keep the Aztecs in the rebounding game.
Creighton has out-rebounded opponents in this tournament by a margin of +15 and shot 58.2% from the field in their latest game. They are very good at staying out of foul trouble, so SDSU’s best chance may be to draw some offensive fouls from the starting five if they can.
Prediction: Creighton 68, SDSU 65