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No. 5 Creighton vs. No. 12 UC Santa Barbara preview for NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

The No. 5 Creighton Bluejays and No. 12 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos face off in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

Christian Bishop #13 of the Creighton Bluejays reacts in the first half against the Connecticut Huskies during the Semifinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2021 in New York City. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. The No. 5 seed Creighton Bluejays will face the No. 12 seed UCSB Gauchos in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Saturday, March 20
Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV channel: truTV
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)

Odds: Creighton -8.5
Over/Under: 140

No. 5 Creighton Bluejays

The Creighton Bluejays are playing well at the right time of the season as they get ready for the NCAA Tournament, despite getting smoked in the Big East title game by Georgetown. That comes on the heels of a one-game suspension of head coach Greg McDermott for a racist analogy he made to his team.

The Bluejays come in ranked No. 12 in adjusted offensive efficiency with a very balanced attack. All five starters are averaging double-digit points, making this a very difficult team to plan for as any one of them can go on a scoring run. Junior guard Marcus Zegarowski leads the team with 14.9 points per game to go along with 4.6 assists per matchup.

Creighton shoots with an eFG of 55.7%, which is the best mark in the Big East. Defensively there are question marks for this Bluejays team, but they check in at No. 19 in the latest KenPom ratings despite the 73-48 blowout by the Hoyas to cap the season.

Record: 20-8, 14-6 Big East
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 14
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 39
ATS: 13-15
Over Total: 13-14-1
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +2500

No. 12 UCSB

The Gauchos are the Big West winners, with a record of 22-4, 13-3 in the conference. Their 79-63 win over UC-Irvine in the league final got them here, and it’s the first appearance in The Big Dance for USCB since 2012.

Record: 22-4, 13-3 Big West
KenPom Offense: 66
KenPom Defense: 82
ATS: 14-10
Over total: 11-13
Odds to win NCAA Championship: N/A