Bears vs Bluejays Pick – NCAA Tournament
The Baylor Bears entered their matchup with the Nebraska Cornhuskers as one team with momentum against another. The Cornhuskers were hungry for an NCAA Tournament victory, as their last appearance was in 1998. [ad-4468020]
2014 NCAA Tournament Free Picks
West Region – Third Round
No. 6 Baylor (25-11, 9-9 Big 12) vs. No. 3 Creighton (27-7, 14-4 Big East)
Sunday, March 23
As it turned out the Nebraska crew looked more famished than hungry, as the Bears walked away with a convincing 74-60 win.
Following their victory over Nebraska, the Baylor Bears have earned a date with the third-ranked Creighton Bluejays.
Creighton escaped a battle in the second round against the LA Lafayette Rajin Cajuns with a 10-point victory, but the game was closer than it appeared, as LA Lafayette hung tight the entire way through.
Baylor’s offense was right on par in Round 2 with its production throughout the regular season, but its defense is what gave it the edge in the end. It held a Nebraska team that was desperate for a win to just 60 points, and that’s going to be a huge theme against Creighton.
The Bluejays, at this point in the year, are averaging 79.5 points per game. That puts them in the top 25 in the country—23rd to be specific—and the team is shooting 49.9 percent from the field, which is fourth in the entire country.
Baylor allows 68.1 points per game at thus juncture, but chances are, it will need better production than that to come out on top, as Creighton gives up fewer points on their defensive possessions.
The Creighton Bluejays, despite being a No. 3 in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, did not have a convincing win in the second round of March Madness. That said, we saw some good things that will translate to a matchup with the Baylor Bears.
First and foremost, we saw that Creighton can win a close game where grinding it out is necessary.
Their 76-66 victory is a bit misleading, as LA-Lafayette was in it until the final minutes, leading us to believe that another close matchup could be in store with the Baylor Bears on the horizon.
While a close matchup could be in store, look for Creighton to pull out a similar victory.
Baylor will likely score about the same amount of points it did against Nebraska, but the question is: How many points will it give up to the 23rd-ranked offense in the country (compared to the 272nd-ranked offense in Nebraska).
Creighton should pull this one out, giving it a matchup against the winner between No. 7 Oregon and No. 2 Wisconsin in Round 4 of the West Region.
Prediction: Creighton 78 – Baylor 72