NCAA March Madness: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Florida Atlantic Owls betting preview, odds and predictions
In a Final Four battle in the NCAA Tournament, the San Diego State Aztecs face the Florida Atlantic Owls with a spot in the championship on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs.
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How to watch San Diego State vs. Florida Atlantic
When: Saturday, 6:10 p.m. ET
Where: NRG Stadium - Houston, Texas
Odds for San Diego State vs. Florida Atlantic
Spread: San Diego State -2.5
(Odds accurate as of Friday, March 31st at 9:45 p.m. ET)
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
South Region No. 5 Seed San Diego State Aztecs
The Aztecs have won 14 of their last 15 games, and they have proven that they are as talented as any high-major team in the country. San Diego State has had a top-five defense all year, and the Aztecs have been stellar on that end in March Madness. San Diego State just held a very good Creighton team to 40.0% shooting from the floor and 11.8% shooting from 3 in the Elite Eight. This Aztecs team can defend at a high level inside and outside the 3-point line, and there probably isn’t a team in the country that is more difficult to play against. The question is whether San Diego State can hit enough shots to win the whole thing. But the Aztecs offense has held up well throughout this tournament, and they have quite a few guys that can lead the team in scoring on any given night. Keep an eye on Darrion Trammell here, as he has been the offensive engine for SDSU in this tournament thus far.
East Region No. 9 Seed Florida Atlantic Owls
FAU is now 35-3 on the season and the Owls continue to move up the KenPom adjusted efficiency ranks. The Owls are now viewed as the 17th-best team in the nation, according to that model. With that said, there will be no more surprises with this Florida Atlantic team. The Owls clearly belong here. This Florida Atlantic team is just very difficult to cover, as Dusty May’s group has a bunch of players that can confidently step up and knock down shots. Johnell Davis, Bryan Greenlee and Alijah Martin combined to score 46 points out of the backcourt in the Elite Eight win over Kansas State. All three can get hot for this Owls team, and Nicholas Boyd and Michael Forrest are two other dangerous guards for FAU. And Vladislav Goldin is a solid option in the paint. On top of the team having a balanced group offensively, the Owls can also defend. With that said, this team will be confident that its run isn’t over just yet.
San Diego State vs. Florida Atlantic matchup analysis
The Owls put up 79 points in a three-point win over the Kansas State Wildcats in the Elite Eight. This Florida Atlantic team likes to get out and play high-scoring games, but the Owls are also a top-30 defensive team. With that in mind, they are pretty adaptable and can find ways to come out on top in slugfests, too. However, playing San Diego State is a whole different type of slugfest, and the Owls are going to have a very hard time scoring on this Aztecs defense.
San Diego State is a top-five defensive team in the nation according to pretty much every defensive efficiency metric you can find. The Aztecs have held all four of their tournament opponents to under 65 points, even though two of those opponents were Alabama and Creighton. The Crimson Tide were 20th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency this season, while the Bluejays were 22nd. Both teams had NBA talent on their rosters, yet they were unable to find ways to get easy buckets against this impenetrable San Diego State team. That makes it hard to believe the Owls will be the ones to figure it out.
Florida Atlantic is a team that is deep with players that can score, and the Owls don't exactly have a focal point on offense. They simply move the ball and look to get a shot from whoever is open. They also shoot the 3 very well, as they are 43rd in the nation in 3P% this season. The problem for Florida Atlantic is that there might not be a lot of open shooters in this game. San Diego State is third in the nation when it comes to 3P% defense and just held a better shooting Creighton team to 2-of-17 shooting from 3.
If the Owls aren't getting easy shots in this one, it's going to be nearly impossible for them to win this game. For as solid as this basketball team is, Florida Atlantic doesn't really have many players that are comfortable in isolation situations. Every team can use a guy it can trust to take difficult shots at this point in the tournament, but the Owls might not have that on the roster. That hurts late in games.
Of course, San Diego State is also going to need to generate offense in this one, and that hasn't always been easy for the Aztecs. But Alabama was 3rd in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency this season, while Creighton was 14th. If the Aztecs can score enough to knock those two off, they should be able to do so against an Owls team that is 29th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency. And while the Aztecs didn't rely on one guy to score late in games this year, they have quite a few that are capable of doing it. Darrion Trammell, Lamont Butler and Matt Bradley are all good offensive players for San Diego State, and it wouldn't be surprising if any of them rise to the occasion here.
It's also worth noting that Brian Dutcher, who was a longtime assistant for the legendary Steve Fisher, is one of the best head coaches in the country. He'll have his group fired up and ready to go in this one, so you shouldn't expect any type of letdown from the Aztecs, who are now in the uncomfortable situation of being favorites late in the NCAA tournament.
Something else to consider when looking at this matchup is that San Diego State is 8-3 straight-up and 7-4 against the spread in neutral site games this season. The Aztecs are also 16-2 SU and 11-7 ATS when coming off a cover.
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