On Friday night, the #6 Creighton Bluejays take on the #15 Princeton Tigers for a chance to advance to the South Region’s Elite Eight. After defeating #3 Baylor and #11 NC State, Creighton comes into this matchup rolling. Princeton is just as hot upsetting #2 Arizona and #7 Missouri. The victor will face either #1 Alabama or #5 San Diego State for their place in the Final Four; it all kicks off at 9 PM EST from Louisville, KY, on TBS television.
Creighton has had an impressive run during March Madness, winning both matchups easily. The most impressive was against #3 Baylor, where they led for nearly the entire game while making 45.8% of their threes and holding Baylor to 22.7% – marking the second-straight game where Creighton had its opponent under 23% three-point percentage, something they will need to do against Princeton. Princeton was fifth in Ivy League three-point percentage (33.9%) this year.
Though Creighton’s stats generally place them in the upper half of the Big East, one statistic that stands out is their free throw percentage. In a tournament filled with poor shooting from the charity stripe, Creighton has made 95% (39-41) of their free throws through two games – an incredible statistic at this time of year that makes it difficult for any other team to mount a comeback against these Bluejays.
Princeton danced their way to the Sweet 16 as a Cinderella team with wins over #2 Arizona and #7 Missouri. While their victory over Arizona earned them much respect, their win against Missouri left them even more impressed. Not only did they dominate in rebounds and outshoot them from both field and three, but Princeton held them to just 41.0% field goal percentage and 27.3% three-point percentage; more impressive still was how many turnovers they forced against Missouri – 18 in total following up on 13 against Arizona!
People have underestimated how strong this team can be. They rebound well and their defense has contained two offenses in the Top 25 nationwide. There’s no denying Princeton’s talent to make it to the Elite 8, but they need to improve their free throw shooting performance against Missouri which was better than Arizona but terrible against both. With expectations high for this game being close, making those shots will determine its outcome.
These two teams have not played this season.
Turnovers and free throws will be the difference in this game. Creighton will win but 9.5 points are way too much to give Princeton. I like the Blue Jays to win and the Tigers to cover.
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