NCAA March Madness: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Furman Paladins betting preview, odds and predictions
In a 5 vs. 13 matchup in the South region of the NCAA Tournament, the San Diego State Aztecs face the Furman Paladins with a spot in the Sweet 16 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. Furman
When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET
Where: Orlando, Florida
Odds for San Diego State vs. Furman
Spread: San Diego State -6
(Odds accurate as of Thursday, March 16th at 7:00 p.m. ET)
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
South Region No. 5 Seed San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego State was consistently excellent under Steve Fisher, and things didn’t change when he handed the program over to longtime assistant Brian Dutcher. This year, the Aztecs were the top team in the Mountain West again, and they’re a team that our VSiN Power Ratings like quite a bit. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering they’re more like a blue blood than a mid-major team when it comes to on-court talent. Matt Bradley is the player to watch for this San Diego State squad, as the senior led the team in scoring this year. But any number of players is capable of stepping up and leading the Aztecs to a win, which is why this is a dangerous basketball team. And San Diego State already survived a tough challenge in its first game here, earning a 63-57 win over a feisty College of Charleston program.
South Region No. 13 Seed Furman Paladins
The Paladins suffered a close five-point loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions early in the year, but the team did beat the South Carolina Gamecocks a few games later. That was early proof that this Furman team is capable of hanging with high-major programs, and the way it can do so is with a good offense. The Paladins were just outside the top-30 in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency this year, and the team has four players that average at least double digits in scoring. This is not an easy team to slow down offensively, but Furman isn’t very good on the defensive end. The Paladins were fortunate to draw the Virginia Cavaliers in their opening round, as Tony Bennett's team was not very good offensively this season. That was a good matchup for Furman, which earned a 68-67 win thanks to some late-game heroics.
San Diego State vs. Furman matchup analysis
JP Pegues was the hero for Furman in the win over Virginia, as he buried the triple that gave the Paladins a one-point lead with just two seconds left in the game. However, Furman will need to quickly regroup and get ready for a San Diego State team that is a bit more dangerous than Virginia.
Not only are the Aztecs a better team than the Cavaliers offensively, but San Diego State is also a top-10 group when it comes to adjusted defensive efficiency this season. That wasn't the case for Virginia this season, even though Bennett-led teams have the reputation of being elite on that end of the floor. When you consider the fact that the Cavaliers were lousy offensively and overrated defensively, it really isn't that hard to see why they'll be watching the rest of this tournament from home.
The math in this next matchup is going to be pretty interesting to watch. Furman is fourth in the nation in 2PT% this year, which is undoubtedly valuable. However, San Diego State is seventh in the country in 3PT% defense, so the Aztecs likely won't give up a lot of clean looks from deep. Will the Paladins be able to beat an extremely talented team if they're simply scoring from inside the three-point line? That's a pretty tough ask, especially with Nathan Mensah inside for the Aztecs. He's averaging 1.5 blocks per game this year and had two in the win over Charleston. There's no such thing as an easy shot at the rim when Mensah is fully engaged.
The good news for Furman is that San Diego State isn't exactly elite on offense. The Aztecs are a well-balanced group, but they're not the kind of team that commonly picks apart bad defenses. And as long as San Diego State isn't scorching hot offensively, it might be hard for the Aztecs to pull away. However, there is a massive difference in talent between these teams, as the San Diego State rotation is full of guys that will go on to play pro ball — at least overseas. Against Charleston, that difference in size and athleticism was evident. It might be the same here.
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