The Creighton Bluejays take on the Marquette Golden Eagles. Check out our college basketball odds series for our Creighton Marquette prediction and pick.

The Creighton Bluejays have lost five games in a row. The obvious cause for this slide is that big man Ryan Kalkbrenner has fallen ill (not COVID-19). He played against Nebraska but did not have his normal level of energy. Creighton was shocked by 10 points at home against the Huskers. Creighton has since lost to BYU and Arizona State with Kalkbrenner unable to play. Creighton also lost to Arizona and Texas as part of the five-game losing skid, but Arizona and Texas are both top-15 teams and obviously not bad losses on any schedule or portfolio. The losses to Nebraska, BYU, and ASU, on the other hand, raise real concerns about this team heading into Big East play and this game against Marquette.

Speaking of the Golden Eagles: Marquette has lost to Purdue and to Mississippi State, plus Wisconsin. Purdue is the No. 1 team in the country, and Mississippi State hasn’t yet lost a game this season. Wisconsin is a Big Ten contender and a team which is likely to make the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers lost to defending national champion Kansas by one point in overtime. That should tell you more about Marquette. The Golden Eagles’ three losses have continued to look better and better since those losses occurred.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Creighton-Marquette College Basketball odds.

College Basketball Odds: Creighton-Marquette Odds

Creighton Bluejays: +4.5 (-110)

Marquette Golden Eagles: -4.5 (-110)

Over: 152.5 (-110)

Under: 152.5 (-110)

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Why Creighton Could Cover the Spread

The Bluejays are struggling, but they have been able to play a few games without Ryan Kalkbrenner, which should give them more rhythm and more on-court familiarity with each other in the adjusted lineups coach Greg McDermott has had to throw onto the floor. The Bluejays played noticeably better on Monday against Arizona State than they did this past Saturday versus BYU, when they were really disorganized in Kalkbrenner’s absence. That improvement — against a better opponent — should give Creighton the belief that it can compete with Marquette for 40 minutes and cover the spread.

Fredrick King has had to step up in place of Kalkbrenner, and he provided productive minutes in the ASU loss. If he continues to play well, the absence of Kalkbrenner will be minimized, and Creighton can stop its losing skid.

Why Marquette Could Cover the Spread

The Golden Eagles have weaknesses on offense, but Creighton’s defense is just not the same with Kalkbrenner not on the court. Marquette loves to attack the basket and take a lot of 2-point shots as opposed to 3-pointers. The playing style used by Marquette is tailor-made for attacking and exploiting Creighton’s lack of an elite defensive big man with Kalkbrenner out. Creighton needs its most important player for a significant Big East brawl such as this one … but it doesn’t have that big weapon. That’s a huge advantage for Marquette.

Also keep in mind that Marquette has beaten Baylor by 26 points at home and Notre Dame by 15 on the road. Marquette has shown against quality opposition that it can play really well and finish games. Marquette couldn’t finish against Purdue, Wisconsin, or Mississippi State, but there are tangible examples of how this team held together in the final 10 minutes of regulation. That’s important.

Final Creighton-Marquette Prediction & Pick

This game is all about the absence of Ryan Kalkbrenner. Creighton just isn’t the same team without him. Take Marquette.

Final Creighton-Marquette Prediction & Pick: Marquette -4.5