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Connecticut vs. Creighton Expert Pick – February 20, 2024 

Connecticut vs. Creighton Expert Pick – February 20, 2024 

CONNECTICUT VS. CREIGHTON EXPERT PICK – February 20, 2024 — It’s starting to look like Connecticut has once again gone to another level. Dan Hurley’s team did this a season ago, going 15-2 down the stretch and brutalizing one opponent after another on its way to the national title. They’ve won 14 straight and haven’t been scratched in February, winning their past seven games by an average of 23 points. 

But for all of their success, there’s one thing the Huskies haven’t done: win in Omaha. 

Creighton wasn’t in the Big East during Connecticut’s first run in the conference, and the Huskies haven’t found their new rival’s home very accommodating. Since Connecticut rejoined the Big East in 2021, the Huskies have made three visits to Omaha and left beaten by the Bluejays.  

Last year, that was Connecticut’s final regular season loss, as the Bluejays claimed a 56-53 win. And this Creighton squad has every incentive to come up with a big performance, because this represents the best opportunity for the Bluejays to add to the resume.  

Creighton can’t play in Omaha even if it gets to the 4 line, but the Bluejays would much rather face a second-round game against a team that’s out of its geographic region over the prospect of playing Illinois in Indianapolis or North Carolina in Charlotte. Getting a win over Connecticut would go a long way toward getting Creighton its best path to the Sweet 16. 

The Odds 







(24-2 SU, 16-10 ATS) 






(18-7 SU, 13-13 ATS) 






When: Tuesday, February 20 at 8:30 p.m. EST 

Where: CHI Health Center, Omaha, Neb. 

TV: FS1 

Public Bets: 50% on Creighton 

Public Money: 54% on Creighton 

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of February 20th, 2024

Related: Clippers at Thunder Expert Pick

Connecticut vs. Creighton In-Season Trends 

Last time was yet another defensive lockdown between Connecticut and Creighton. The projected total sat at 142.5, but the teams combined for just 110 points. And with Connecticut, it seems like the defensive side of that is the Huskies’ new normal. 

Connecticut has not allowed any of its past 10 opponents to exceed 65 points, and its totals have almost exclusively been determined by its offense. The Huskies have played UNDER five times in the past nine games, and most of those unders came when Connecticut scored fewer than 80 points.  

Creighton has gone the other way, leaning heavy into its offense. The Bluejays haven’t scored less than 78 points since the loss at Connecticut, but the defense hasn’t kept up. Creighton has played to the OVER six times in its past eight games, and three of those opponents got over 90 points. Part of the issue is that the Bluejays give up far too many shots: Creighton ranks last in the nation at preventing field goal attempts.

The Difference-Makers 

The last time these teams met, Connecticut dominated on the boards. Creighton’s not a bad rebounding team, but the Bluejays really looked bad on the boards against the Huskies. Tristen Newton’s a guard, but he ended up with four offensive rebounds out of 21 for the Huskies. Connecticut won the second-chance points battle by 19-5, and that 14-point margin matched the Huskies’ margin of victory. 

To even the score, Creighton needs much more on the glass from its interior players. Ryan Kalkbrenner grabbed eight boards, but Connecticut kept him from touching the ball much otherwise by limiting him to five shots. If the Bluejays don’t get more than eight shots from Kalkbrenner and Mason Miller, they’re not winning this game. 

The Pick 

Creighton mostly wins by keeping teams off the line and making tough shots. But against Connecticut, the Bluejays likely aren’t going to hit a lot of shots. The Huskies excel at denying good looks at the basket, and Creighton gives up far too many shots to expect to win that kind of contest. 

It’s hard to pick against Creighton given the Huskies’ history in Omaha, but every game has been close. With Connecticut hitting the gas, the Bluejays don’t seem to have the strengths needed to attack the few weaknesses the Huskies have. 

Throw in Connecticut’s 65-point ceiling, and the total looks the best play. But there’s no way I’m going against the Huskies here. 

Dan’s Picks 

Connecticut -3.5 

Under 144.5 

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