West Region Second Round Betting Preview: #14 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns vs #3 Creighton Bluejays

2014 NCAA Tournament
West Region – Second Round

AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas
#14 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns vs #3 Creighton Bluejays
Friday, March 21, 2014, 3:10 pm Eastern, TV: truTV
Opening Line: Creighton -13 1/2
Current Line: Creighton -14
Opening Total: 156 1/2
Current Total: 154 1/2
Opening Money Line: Creighton -1150 / Louisiana +750
Current Money Line: Creighton -1150 / Louisiana +750

Creighton is a 14 point favorite against Louisiana Friday in San Antonio in the West region second round.
Creighton is a 14 point favorite against Louisiana Friday in San Antonio in the West region second round.

The 26-7 Creighton Bluejays moved from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East. The step-up in competition didn’t affect the Bluejays as they finished second in the Big East at 14-4 two games behind Villanova. Creighton lost to Providence 65-58 in the Big East Championship game. Creighton is making their third straight trip to the Tournament and  19th overall. Creighton is 9-5 against NCAA Tournament teams this season. The Bluejyas are the #3 seed in the West region.

The Bluejays will open up the NCAA Tournament Friday in San Antonio against the #14  seed Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. The winner will take on either #6 Baylor or #11 Nebraska in Sunday’s third round. Louisiana is 23-11 this season and finished third in the Sun Belt Conference at 11-7, six games behind Georgia State. The Cajuns would upset Georgia State 82-81 in the Sun Belt Championship game to clinch the auto bid. Louisiana has gone 11-2 in their last 13 games including a current four game winning streak. The Cajuns have gone 1-2 against NCAA Tournament teams. Louisiana is making their tenth overall appearance in the tournament and first since 2005.

The series is tied 2-2 between Louisiana and Creighton. The Bluejays won the last game in Omaha in 2010.

Louisiana is coached by Bob Martin. The Ragin’ Cajuns have losses at Arkansas, at Baylor, at Louisville, at Jackson State, at Louisiana-Monroe, at South Alabama, Georgia State twice, Western Kentucky twice, and at Arkansas-Little Rock. Louisiana has key wins over Oakland in a tournament in South Carolina, at Coastal Carolina, at Louisiana Tech, Houston, Arkansas State twice, Western Kentucky and Georgia State. Louisiana is 14-14 ATS and the total is 12-15-1 this season.

Louisiana is outscoring teams 81-75 this season. The Cajuns are #13 nationally in scoring but #300 out of 351 teams in points allowed. Louisiana is shooting 46.7% from the field and 37% from 3 point range. The Cajuns make 67.1% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 44.4% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. Louisiana averages 38.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 31.1 per game. The Cajuns are #34 in rebounding nationally. Louisiana averages 13.6 assists, 13.6 turnovers, 7.3 steals, and 4.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.6 assists, 14 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 5.3 blocks per game.

Guard Elfrid Payton averages 19.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. Forward Shawn Long averages 18.7 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game. Guard Bryant Mbamalu averages 12.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Guard Xavian Rimmer averages 8.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Guard Kasey Shepherd averages 8.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Kevin Brown, J.J. Davenport, Steven Wronkowski, and Elridge Moore will also get significant minutes in the rotation.

Creighton is coached by Greg McDermott. The Bluejays have losses to San Diego State and George Washington in a tournament in Fullerton, CA, Providence twice, at St. John’s, at Xavier, and at Georgetown. Creighton has key wins at St. Joseph’s, Tulsa, Arizona State in Fullerton, at Long Beach State, Nebraska, California, Marquette twice, Seton Hall twice, DePaul three times, Xavier twice, Butler twice, Villanova twice, Georgetown and St. John’s. Creighton is 18-13 ATS and the total is 13-17-1 ATS this season.

Creighton is outscoring teams 80-67 this season. The Bluejays are #22 nationally in scoring. Creighton is shooting 49.9% from the field and 42.2% from 3 point range. The Bluejays are #4 in field goal shooting and #1 in three point shooting nationally. Creighton is #16 in free throw shooting nationally making 75.2% at the line. Bluejay opponents are shooting 42.2% from the field and 33.6% from 3 point range. Creighton is averaging  34.5 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.4 per game. The Bluejays average 17.7 assists, 9.9 turnovers, 4.1 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.2 assists, 9.9 turnovers, 5 steals and 2.7 blocks per game.

Creighton forward Doug McDermott (son of coach Greg) is the consensus favorite to win the national player of the year. McDermott averages 26.9 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. He is fifth on the NCAA career scoring list.  Forward Ethan Wragge averages 10.5 points and 4 rebounds. Guard Austin Chapman averages 7.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Guard Grant Gibbs averages 7.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Guard Jahenna Manigat averages 7.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Devin Brooks average 6.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game.  Will Artino and Avery Dingman also get minutes in the rotation. Guard Isaiah Zierden is out for the season with a knee injury.

Louisiana is 10-21-1 ATS after a straight up win, 7-15-1 after a cover, 5-13-1 against teams with winning records, and 1-4 in Friday games.

Creighton is 5-0 ATS in non-conference games, 10-3-1 in Friday games, 9-4 in neutral site games, 2-5 after failing to cover, and 1-6-1 in NCAA Tournament games.

Louisiana and Creighton both score almost 80 points a game, but the Bluejays play much better defense. Louisiana has no one that stop the younger McDermott, who has been on fire recently. Louisiana hangs around for a while but Creighton pulls away with a huge game from McDermott.

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