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San Diego State vs Florida Atlantic Prediction, Picks & Odds NCAA Tournament

Written by: Tanner Kern
Published March 31, 2023
13 min read

The mid-major Super Bowl will kick off the Final Four when FAU battles SDSU for a trip to the National Championship. Both teams enter this matchup with impeccable records and rolled through their regular season schedules. Each program went from pretenders to contenders throughout the NCAA Tournament, and they couldn’t be playing better basketball entering this Final Four matchup.

SDSU vs FAU, Picks & Odds NCAA Tournament

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#9 FAU Preview

The Florida Atlantic Owls will take the Final Four stage on Saturday representing Conference USA. The Owls weren’t expected to be in this position, and this a testament to head coach, Dusty May. May believed that coming to FAU from Florida as an assistant was the worst decision of his life after seeing the facilities. He kept his head down and went to work, and it has ended with a Final Four appearance and probably a big job offer at a Power Five school next season. 

The Owls battled back from a second half deficit to upset Kansas State in the Elite 8. FAU’s elite guard play was instrumental in their success throughout the tournament. Johnell Davis does so much for his team, and it was evident in the Elite 8 game when he had eight boards and six assists. Even though FAU played played a light Conference USA schedule, they still won 35 games this season. 

Any team that wins 35 games is a talented team and they’ve shown their balance throughout the NCAA Tournament. The Owls rank 24th in Offensive Rating and 29th in Defensive Rating according to KenPom. 

Key Players & Key Stats

Davis is the leader of FAU. Just a sophomore, Davis has averaged 14 points and shot nearly 50% from the field. The best part of Davis’ game is that he contributes in multiple ways. He pulled down eight boards in the semifinal and contributed six assists. 

The other player to watch is Vladislav Golden. The 7’1” big man had 14 points and 13 rebound against the Wildcats. He is a lights out rim protector in the paint. Markquis Nowell attempted to drive on Golden throughout the Elite 8, and it was comical. 6’10” players have a hard time succeeding against the center, let alone the 5’7” Nowell. 

Tournament Path

The Owls drew the ninth seed in the East Region. In the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, they beat #8 Memphis 66-65 and #16 FDU 78-70 to advance to the second weekend of games. They traveld to Madison Square Garden and beat #4 Tennessee by seven and #3 Kansas State by three to make it to the Final Four. 

Check Out the WSN NCAA Tournament Page: Game Preview For Every NCAA Tournament Game

#5 SDSU Preview

San Diego State was one of the best mid-major teams throughout the season. They ranked high in the KenPom Rankings because of their elite defensive skill. The Aztecs were extremely physical in the paint, and it showed with their fourth position in adjusted defense. The Aztecs have a National Champion caliber defense and it’s why they’re picked second on DraftKings to win the title. 

The one issue with the Aztecs is their inability to score. SDSU knocked down their mid range jumpers in the Elite 8 against Creighton, and they need to do this again versus the Owls or they won’t prevail. Lamont Butler knocked down 73% of his shots, totaling 18 points. It was tremendous effort that will be needed against an FAU team that can score. 

Key Players & Key Stats

Butler has been a major contributor for the Aztecs this season. He was the hero of the Elite 8, but scoring is a team effort for SDSU. Matt Bradely leads the team in scoring with 12.5 points per game this season. However, he has only shot 40% from the field. 

The Aztecs have the 75th ranked offense in American according to KenPom. The team truly wins with just defense, and they held Creighton to under 12% from the three point line in the Elite 8. If the team can swarm FAU’s ballhandlers as they did against the Bluejays, the Aztecs should advance to the National Championship. 

Tournament Path

SDSU was given the fifth seed in the South Region. They survived #12 Charleston by six points in the First Round before dominating #13 Furman in the Second Round. Their marquee victory came against #1 Alabama by seven before taking down #6 Creighton in the Elite 8. 

Check Out The Best NCAA Tournament Betting Promos: WSN NCAA Tournament March Madness Promos & Bonuses

Odds, Previews, Picks, Best Bets for NCAA Tournament Final Four #9 FAU vs #5 SDSU

The mid major Super Bowl between FAU and SDSU is going to be one for the ages. Nobody expected these two teams to be in this position, which makes betting on this game very interesting. We know a lot about UConn and Miami, but these two mid-major teams haven’t been the center of the public eye in 2022-23. 

FAU is all about balance and they win with their guard play. Davis is the quarterback of the offense and he will need to be tremendous from the field. There is no doubt San Diego State will put FAU in uncofmrtable shooting positions throughout the night. Another key player who must make these shots for the Owls is Alijah Martin. Martin is a 6’2” sophomore that plays bigger than his size. He is averaging 13.1 points per game and 5.2 rebounds. 

As good as FAU has been in the tournament, we believe SDSU is the better team in this contest. The Aztecs don’t score, but they make scoring difficult for their opponents. They’ve also been great at finishing off their opponents throughout the season. FAU turned the ball over 22 times in the Elite 8, and if they do this again, the Aztecs will make them pay. Defense can translate and it’s a quality that wins championships. For FAU to win, they must shoot close to 50% from the field as they did against Kansas State. SDSU’s physicality should help them score more than usual and they’re lights out on defense. Lay the points with the Aztecs.

FAU ATS Record: 24-11-1

SDSU ATS Record: 19-15-2
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds

FAU

+2 (-110)

+110

Over 132 (-110)

SDSU

-2 (-110)

-130

Under 132 (-110)

PICK: SDSU -2

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FAU vs SDSU How to Watch

Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas 

Game Time & Date: Apr. 1 6:09 p.m. ET

TV Network: CBS

Streaming: March Madness Live App

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AUTHOR

Tanner Kern

292 Articles

Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.

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