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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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College Basketball Free Picks: Illinois State at Creighton Odds, Start Time

College Basketball on Saturday and we will see the Illinois State Redbirds travel Omaha, Nebraska to take on the Creighton Bluejays. The game is scheduled for a 10:00 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised on ESPN 2. Currently the odds for the game have Creighton favored by 9 point while the total sits at 149.  Check out Sportsbook Spy to see who the Public is taking on all of today's games.

Analysis: Illinois State opened its MVC slate ice cold, losing each of its first six league matchups, but since that poor start it has been one of the hottest teams in the league. The Redbirds are winners of five of their last six games, most recently going on the road to down Drake on Wednesday night (94-86) to improve to 14-10 overall and 5-7 in the MVC. Although Illinois State has been plagued this season by the second- worst scoring defense in the MVC (68.6 ppg), it has been able to make up for it by netting the second-most points at the other end of the floor (76.0 ppg). Carmichael is one of the strongest forwards in the conference, shooting 53.6 percent from the field for 18.1 ppg, while leading the league in both rebounding (9.3 rpg) and blocks (2.0 bpg). Brown has been a great complement to Carmichael out on the perimeter, hitting for 16.0 ppg on the strength of his 48 3-pointers.

Creighton put forth its most lackluster effort of the season on Wednesday night at Indiana State, getting blown out by a 76-57 margin for its third loss in its last four road games. Despite the recent run of bad luck, the Bluejays are still 20-4 overall and in first place in the MVC (9-3), and they have won 13 of 14 games played in Omaha this season. Creighton has one of the most prolific offenses in the country, averaging 78.0 ppg while leading the nation in both field goal percentage (.517) and 3-point percentage (.443), but it could not get anything going in its 19-point loss to Indiana State earlier in the week as it made only 41.7 percent of its field goal attempts, including 5-of-18 from beyond the arc. Doug McDermott had an off night, shooting just 3-of-10 from the field for eight points, but he has pieced together an All-American-worthy season for the Bluejays. Not only is he shooting better than 50 percent from both the floor and from long range in averaging 23.3 ppg (second in the nation), but he has also gone 117-of-135 from the foul line (.867) and grabs a team-best 7.3 rpg to boot. No other Creighton player averages double figures, but Gregory Echenique, Ethan Wragge, Austin Chatman and Grant Gibbs all net between 8.1 and 9.9 ppg, with Chatman and Gibbs combining for 250 assists against 92 turnovers.

Free Pick:  The Bluejays are known for their offense, but this is a good defensive team that allows just 62.3 ppg in their home floor. Illinois State's offense is rolling right now, but playing Drake's, Southern Illinois' and Bradley's defense in their last 3 games can make a teams offense look good. Illinois state averaged 88 ppg in those three games, while putting up just 64.2 ppg in their previous 7 games. The Redbirds have struggled some on defense in those three games (72 ppg), but in their prior 7 games they had allowed 66.3 ppg. Creighton does average 81.4 ppg at home, but they are not a true uptempo as they are 175th in tempo on the year. They just shoot the ball really well, but ISU allows just 42.9% shooting on the year, including just 40.9% in their last 5 games. I look for this one to put up 140 at the most. 

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