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No. 8 San Diego State vs. No. 9 Creighton: Preview, picks for first round of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The San Diego State Aztecs and Creighton Bluejays meet at Dickies Arena in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

NCAA Basketball: Fresno State at San Diego State Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NCAA Tournament is finally here. On Thursday and Friday, we have a combined 32 games set to kick off. No. 8 San Diego State will take on No. 9 Creighton Thursday at 7:27 PM EST on truTV. Below we take a look at the matchup and my pick for it.

No. 8 San Diego State: 23-8 (13-4 MWC): At-Large

KenPom rating: 22 Overall, 157 Offense, 2 Defense
NET ranking: 25, (5-8 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Matt Bradley 17 PPG
Key stat: San Diego State has a defensive efficiency of 85.6%, which ranks first in the country.

San Diego State is one of the best teams in the country defensively and that has shown all year long. While Matt Bradley is a great scorer, they don't have another player averaging double-digits. No team in the country should want to go up against the Aztecs with how good they are guarding every player on the floor.

No. 9 Creighton: 22-11 (12-7 Big East): At-Large

KenPom rating: 53 Overall, 124 Offense, 18 Defense
NET ranking: 55 (7-6 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Ryan Hawkins 13.9 PPG
Key stat: Creighton has four players averaging 11+ PPG.

The Blue Jays lost one of their best players when Ryan Nembhard fractured his wrist, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. That hasn't slowed the Blue Jays down at all, as they played great in the Big East in knocking off Providence before falling to Villanova in the final. The bring and have an extremely experienced roster.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: San Diego State -2
Point total: 120.5
Moneyline: San Diego State -135, Creighton +115

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: San Diego State -2
Point total pick: Under 120.5
Pick to Win: San Diego State -135

The under in this game is my most confident play. San Diego State is the best defensive team in the NCAA, and while 120 is extremely low, I think this game is in the 58-54 range and in SDSU’s favor.