Cross-conference gem to unfold in Omaha
Despite missing the NCAA tournament the past two seasons, Creighton has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Big East. But can Greg McDermott’s squad knock off a perennial Big Ten titan?
The Bluejays welcome No. 9 Wisconsin to Nebraska tonight, with an 8:30 p.m. ET tip at CenturyLink Center. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the hosts odds of -130 to take care of business. Conversely, the Badgers represent +105 underdogs.
Last week’s opener against UMKC was tighter than McDermott would’ve liked. Creighton needed a 19-point outburst from junior Marcus Foster to hand the Kangaroos an 89-82 loss. Nonetheless, don’t expect the veteran coach to stray away from his preferred brand of up-tempo offense.
Greg Gard, of course, leans in the opposite direction. As Bo Ryan’s successor in Madison, the 45-year-old delights in upholding the Badgers’ tradition of half-court excellence. It also helps to have a player of Nigel Hayes’ caliber. The sensational senior forward had 14 points, five assists and four rebounds in Wisconsin’s season-opening rout of Central Arkansas.
This shapes up as a huge statement game for the 22nd-ranked Bluejays, who posted a 14-6 home record in 2015-16. Still, the visiting crew’s physicality underneath should ultimately make the difference. Look for the Badgers to secure their first of many victories in hostile territory.
TUESDAY NCAA FREE PICK: WISCONSIN +1