NCAA March Madness: Tennessee Volunteers vs. Florida Atlantic Owls betting preview, odds and predictions
In a 4 vs. 9 matchup in the East region of the NCAA Tournament, the Tennessee Volunteers face the Florida Atlantic Owls with a spot in the Elite Eight 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.
MORE: Check out the public betting splits for every college basketball game on the VSiN betting splits page
How to watch Tennessee vs. Florida Atlantic
When: Thursday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Where: New York, New York
Odds for Tennessee vs. Florida Atlantic
Spread: Tennessee -5.5
(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 19th at 10:20 p.m. ET)
Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook
East Region No. 4 Seed Tennessee Volunteers
Rick Barnes’ teams are known for losing earlier than expected in March, and that’s hard to ignore at this point in the tournament. If you can look beyond that, there’s a lot to like about this team. Tennessee’s calling card is its stifling defense, which is highlighted by the group’s ability to get out and contest outside jumpers. The team absolutely suffocated a red-hot Duke Blue Devils squad in the second round, and that performance has to have FAU shaking a little bit here. The question for the Vols is whether they can create easy offense. They're a good team when it comes to that end of the floor, but they aren't great. However, that might not be a problem for them against a mid-major opponent.
East Region No. 9 Seed Florida Atlantic Owls
FAU has proven that its regular season was no fluke, as the Owls are into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. This is a very balanced team in a lot of different ways, as they are top-40 on both ends of the floor when it comes to adjusted efficiency. They also have a number of different players that can step up and lead the way on offense. In this tournament, Johnell Davis, who leads the team in points per game, has been showing out a bit. He had just 12 points against Memphis in the first round, but he exploded for 29 points against Fairleigh Dickinson. The Owls will be counting on him to get hot again here. But overall, it's hard to be impressed with how FAU played against that Fairleigh Dickinson team, which really had no business being in the Round of 32.
Tennessee vs. Florida Atlantic matchup analysis
If the Owls are going to make this a competitive game then they're going to need to hit some 3s in the face of some elite perimeter defense. This season, Tennessee is allowing opponents to shoot just 26.4% from deep, and that is the lowest mark in college basketball. With that said, the Vols are going to be out on the Owls from the jump in this one, and that can potentially get FAU out of rhythm. The ability to hit shots from deep is crucial for the Owls, as it's a big part of their offense and it also gives them the spacing they need to attack the rim. Oh, and the Vols are 11th in the nation in 2P% defense too.
The Volunteers should simply be able to beat this Owls team with their toughness. They did it against a much bigger Blue Devils squad, so it's hard to imagine them having much trouble doing it again. Olivier Nkamhoua was an absolute force against Duke, and FAU hasn't had to face anybody like him this year. He might not shoot as well as he did against the Blue Devils, but he will impact the game in other ways.
Santiago Vescovi should have a much easier time getting himself free offensively in this game, and that would make up for a dip in Nkamhoua's offense. Vescovi had 14 points, five rebounds and five assists against the Blue Devils, and that's a team that is better defensively than the Owls are. It also wouldn't be surprising if Josiah-Jordan James found some success on the offensive end in this one.
All in all, this line honestly looks a little low when you look at the styles of these two teams. The Vols are going to really frustrate the Owls on both ends of the floor, and their tournament experience might also be a big factor in this one.
MORE: College basketball best bets from VSiN hosts and analysts
VSiN College Basketball Links
Greg Peterson’s Daily Lines
College Basketball Betting Splits
College Basketball Odds
Peterson’s Daily CBB Podcast
VSiN College Basketball Betting Podcast