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Both the San Diego State Aztecs and the Creighton Blue Jays play tough defense. Ben Rajavuori is here and gives his pick for this matchup.

San Diego State vs. Creighton Prediction: A Low-Scoring Affair?

San Diego State and Creighton are both teams that I believe are underrated and could do well in the tournament. Unfortunately, they play each other in the first round, so one has to go. These two have actually played each other three times before, with San Diego State taking the last two meetings and most recently winning 83-52 on a neutral court just two seasons ago. Can San Diego State repeat that performance and move on to the second round?

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San Diego State went 23-8 on the year, and only one of those losses was to a team that didn't make the NCAA Tournament. Creighton went a similar 22-11, but six of those eleven losses were to non-tournament teams. Creighton did end the year well, though. They were underdogs in all but one of their last nine games, and they won six of them straight up. They got a few big wins over Marquette and Providence in the conference tournament before ultimately falling to Villanova. This team works solely behind their defense, as they are outside the top 100 in offensive efficiency but rank 17th in defensive efficiency. They play calculated and controlled on defense, ranking 13th in opponent effective field goal percentage (44.9%). They rarely foul, only allowing a 20.3 free throw to field goal percentage, ranking fourth in the nation.

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One big blow to the Bluejays was the loss of Ryan Nembhard in late February. The 6'0" freshman was one of the top scorers for the Bluejays and led the team in assists and steals per game. They found a way to win against Marquette and Providence without him, but his absence surely doesn't help in this one.

San Diego State is one of my favorite teams to make it far this year. I love backing great defensive teams in March, and San Diego State is second in the nation in defensive efficiency behind only Texas Tech. They hold opponents to only 37.9% from the field, good for fourth in the nation. They rarely give their opponents clean looks at the basket and force opponents deep into the shot clock. In fact, San Diego State is 358th overall in opponent possession length on defense (longest possessions for opponents on defense). The style of play from San Diego State fits perfectly into March Madness.

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Neither one of these teams were any good in the frontcourt this season. Both play at a grueling pace and lock their opponents up in the backcourt. Given that they both like to play at a slow pace, I don't see the score running up in this one. San Diego State allowed teams to score over 65 points just three times the entire season. Given the style of game we can expect from both sides, the under is the right play here.

San Diego Aztecs vs. Creighton Blue Jays Pick

Pick: San Diego State vs. Creighton Under 120 (-110) (Bet $110 to Win $100)

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Article Author

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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