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Oregon vs Creighton March Madness College Basketball Picks Tonight

Oregon vs Creighton March Madness Second Round College Basketball game preview, picks, and predictions for Saturday, March 23.

Oregon vs Creighton: 


When: 9:40 PM ET, Saturday, March 23, 2024
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dana Altman keeps saying it, but only because it’s true, because of where he calls home: Oregon is No. 1 for him, but Creighton is “1A.”

The coach of the Ducks hails from Nebraska and spent 16 seasons leading Creighton, racking up a 327-176 record with seven NCAA Tournament appearances there. He did not want the NCAA Tournament selection committee to pair Oregon and Creighton in the bracket, but that’s exactly what happened.

After the 11th-seeded Ducks (24-11) took down South Carolina 87-73 in the first round, Altman and company will face the third-seeded Bluejays (24-9) in Midwest Region second-round action on Saturday.

“It might be my ego or whatever, but I still feel a part of it,” Altman said. “I still cheer for them. My family is all back in Nebraska. … I think the world of (McDermott) and his family. He’s done a tremendous job.”

Altman and McDermott coached against one another in the Missouri Valley Conference, when Altman made Creighton a mid-major power during the days of Kyle Korver. Altman recruited McDermott’s son, Doug, to Creighton before he left for the Oregon job and Greg McDermott took over.

Now they are on friendly terms, sharing a text every so often. McDermott said Creighton’s move to the Big East would have been a “pipe dream” if not for the foundation Altman laid.

“When you take over a program, I’ve always felt it’s important to embrace your history and make sure that our players understand the work that the people that came before us did,” McDermott said.

McDermott has taken the Bluejays to new heights. When they defeated Akron 77-60 on Thursday, it was McDermott’s 10th NCAA Tournament win — more than all previous Creighton coaches combined. He received a contract extension and raise two weeks before the tournament.

The coaching matchup is hardly the only fascinating one in this game.

Oregon’s Jermaine Couisnard dropped a career-high 40 points on South Carolina, scoring at every level. He shot 5-of-9 from 3-point range, 9-of-13 inside the arc and 7-of-7 at the foul line.

Containing Couisnard, while not losing track of his teammates, will be the task for Creighton guards Trey Alexander, Baylor Scheierman and Steven Ashworth.

“We have to make sure, the best we can, (to) get him to take the shots that we want him to take, not the shots that he wants to take,” McDermott said. “… We’ll give him some different looks, we’ll put some different guys on him, probably mix up our different ball-screen coverages so he doesn’t get comfortable.”

Ashworth knows it’s not just Couisnard his team has to stop.
“Every team out here has really talented players,” he said, “and if you start to focus too heavily on just one person, I do think that others can tend to hurt you in ways that you weren’t quite prepared for.”

Then there’s the showdown between 6-foot-11 Oregon center N’Faly Dante and 7-foot-1 Creighton center Ryan Kalkbrenner.

Dante is peaking after missing the start of the season while rehabbing an injury — averaging 19.9 points per game on 84.1 percent shooting from the floor over his past seven games. Kalkbrenner is one of the sport’s leading rim protectors and the three-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

“At three (blocks) a game, he’s a presence in there,” Altman said of Kalkbrenner. “And not only the shots that he blocks, but he just alters so many.

“Dante will compete, Ryan will compete. Those two, that matchup’s a big part of the game.”

–Adam Zielonka, Field Level Media

College Basketball Picks and Predictions:

For this Oregon vs Creighton Saturday Night College Basketball game, I’m rolling with Creighton -4 (-130)

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