Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#803 St. John's vs.
#804 Creighton
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 9:00pm EST
Written by Ben the Pen

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St. John's (13-7 SU, 9-11 ATS) meets Creighton (11-8 SU, 9-10 ATS) in a Big East battle from CHI Health Center Omaha at 9pmET on Wednesday night.

St. John's is currently 3-6 in the Big East, while Creighton is in fourth place at 5-3. These teams met twice last season with the Bluejays winning both games and covering both. They've won and covered four straight in this series.

Ben is 30-21-1 his last 52 picks in college basketball and 25-15-2 over his last 42 in the NBA. That's after a tough loss on Miami, who won by three giving 4 (line moved to 2.5 late) and a push on New Orleans. He offers his top pick and a three-pack tonight. Don't miss it!

 

Offense a no-show against Wildcats

St. John's had won two straight games after losing five straight before they met Villanova on Friday night.  At 79 in the latest Net Rankings, the Red Storm have a lot of work to do to make the NCAA Tournament. In their 57-49 loss to Villanova at home. St. John's defense was on point, holding the Wildcats to just 37% from the field. However, the Red Storm made just 32% of their total shots including 25% (3 of 12) from long-range. They also turned the ball over 17 times. Joel Soriano led the Red Storm with 14 points and 16 rebounds.

Guard Montez Mathis (9.6ppg, 40.5% 3pt) is now out for the season with a toe injury. He has not played since Jan. 3 and they will lose his defensive ability. A.J. Storr will remain in the starting lineup, though he's averaging just 6.4 points on 48.5% shooting (45.7% 3pt). Soriano (6-11, 260) leads St. John's with 16.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks on 61.1% shooting from the field.

In terms of stats, St. John's rank third in the Big East in field goal percentage (45.9%), but just 10th (out of 11 teams) in field goal defense (44.4%). They also rank 10th in free throw shooting (68.9%) and 10th in rebounding margin (-3.1). They do a great job of forcing turnovers with pressure, averaging 15.7 per game. They rank first in the Big East in turnover margin (5.44) and first in assist/turnover ratio (1.89).

 

Rolling towards a bid

Creighton is in very good shape at No. 20 in the Net Rankings and has won two straight after losing tough games on the road to UConn by nine and by three at Xavier. They bounced back with wins over Providence at home (73-67) and Butler on the road 73-52 as a 7-point favorite on Jan. 17. In that win, the Bluejays had four players score in double figures as they opened up with an 8-point halftime lead and pulled away in the second half. Creighton shot 47% from the field and crushed the Bulldogs on the boards by 23.

The Bluejays are just 11-8 overall, but they have to be the most dangerous 11-8 team in the nation. Part of the reason for the record was that 7-1 junior center Ryan Kalkbrenner was injured in mid-December. Kalkbrenner missed three games and Creighton lost all three. Kalkbrenner is one of the best big men in the nation, who averages 14.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks on 72.9% shooting from the field and 36.4% from the three-point line. In the offseason, they added Baylor Scheierman from South Dakota State. The 6-7 wing is an outstanding all-around player, who averages 13.3 points, 3.1 assists, 8.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals on 45.5% shooting and 39.7% from long range.

Creighton does a lot of things well, including shooting the basketball. They rank second in the Big East in field goal percentage (46.2), first in field goal defense (37.2%) and three-point defense (25.3%). A big issue has been turnovers as they rank ninth in turnover margin (-1.45) and fifth in assist/turnover ratio. They do rebound well as they rank second in rebounding margin at +4.9.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

I don't love laying that many points, but Creighton leads the Big East in scoring margin at 12.2. Kalkbrenner is just a beast in the paint defensively and stretches the floor offensively. The Red Storm have won just twice in their last eight games. Not having Mathis doesn't help the Johnnies in this one. They looked awful in their last game against a decent Villanova team, who is not the same squad without Jay Wright. At home, the Bluejays are shooting 49% from the floor and the Red Storm are shooting 21.8% from the three-point line on the road. Creighton can pack in the paint and allow St. John's to shoot it from deep.Β  This will be a blowout.

Prediction: Creighton -9

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Creighton is the best defensive team in the Big East. They actually do run some, but the key for them is their 21st-ranked Adjusted Defensive Efficiency according to KenPom. Creighton has gone under in three of their last four games. Even though St. John's loves to push the ball, they are averaging just 70.8 points per game on the road and shooting 42.6% overall.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Ben Hayes , "Ben the Pen"

Ben has been a sports writer for over 35 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for nearly 30 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13! Ben has had great success in handicapping college football, the NFL, college basketball, the NBA and MLB for 27+ years. His Twitter handle is @BenHayesWAW