Memphis vs Florida Atlantic March Madness Betting Preview: Mid-Major Matchup at Nationwide Arena
Conference USA, American Athletic Conference Champs To Clash in East Region
Memphis Will Be Missing A Key Piece in First Round NCAA Matchup
The mid-majors are getting some love as the only No. 8 and 9 seeds from outside the Power-5 conferences will be squaring off at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
When looking at the Michigan State vs Southern California March Madness betting preview Memphis is the slight favorite.
The American Athletic Conference champions are coming off a win over then top-ranked Houston. Florida Atlantic takes a seven-game winning streak into the tournament.
Memphis is 17th and Florida Atlantic 36th in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to the Pomeroy Basketball Rating database so keep that in mind when looking at March Madness betting trends.
Florida Atlantic: Owls Ready to Dance
Florida Atlantic being in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002 is impressive enough. Doing it as a No. 9 seed is quite the accomplishment.
The Owls played SEC teams in two of the first three games this season, falling to Ole Miss and topping Florida.
Florida Atlantic is 9-1 in games decided by 10 points or less. The top scorer scorers are either freshmen or sophomores. Owls feature 7-foot-1 sophomore Vladislav Godin while classmate Johnell Davis leads the team in scoring.
The Owls are slight underdogs according to the Memphis vs Florida Atlantic March Madness betting preview.
When looking at the college basketball odds, Florida Atlantic has covered against the spread in five of its last seven contests.
How They Got Here
After losing just twice in conference play during the regular season, the Owls proved to be the class of Conference USA in the tournament as well.
The Owls squandered a double-digit lead in the second half in the semifinals against Middle Tennessee State and needed two free throws each from Davis and Alijah Martin in the final 30 seconds to survive and advance.
Martin had 30 points and 11 rebounds as FAU rolled past UAB to secure the program’s first NCAA tournament bid since 2002.
How Far Will They Go
Purdue figures to be waiting in the second round and that could bring an end to the season if the Owls happen to win Friday’s game as the Boilermakers are among the top teams when it comes to the favorites to win March Madness.
Memphis: Going For An Encore
This Memphis team doesn’t have as much star power as last year’s team. However, they do seem to play better together.
Even though Houston was missing leading scorer Marcus Sasser, it was still impressive seeing Memphis limit the Cougars to 31% shooting and 24% from 3-point range to win the American Athletic Conference tournament. The reward is an intriguing 8-9 game with the Tigers being favored when it comes to the Memphis vs Florida Atlantic March Madness betting preview.
SMU transfer Kendric Davis is one of the top scorers in the nation, putting up 22.4 points per game and he also leads the Tigers in assists with DeAndre Williams another top producer on offense.
Memphis has covered in four of its last five games.
How They Got Here
Memphis was on the bubble heading into the conference tournament despite posting six wins over teams from Power-5 conferences and losing to No. 1 March Madness seeds Alabama by three and Houston by 8 and 2 points during the regular season.
Williams had 35 points in the quarterfinal game against UCF and the Tigers needed nearly all of them to pull out of five-point win. Tulane owns a win against Memphis this season. The tournament matchup was pretty much over when Memphis used a 14-2 run in the first half to take command. Williams and Davis combined for 47 points, just seven fewer than Tulane managed.
A 46-point first half against Houston was enough to give Memphis the tournament title.
Memphis has covered against the Las Vegas odds in four of its last five games.
How Far Will They Go
Memphis is an intriguing team. The game against FAU will be no easy matchup. However, with four players standing 6-foot-9 or taller, perhaps the Tigers could make life difficult for top-seeded Purdue if that ends up being the second-round matchup.
ACC tournament champion Duke and a Tennessee team missing point guard Zakai Zeigler are other top teams in the top half of the East Region bracket.
Handicapping the Game
This could be one of the best games in the first round and it is one of three games in the East Region featuring two conference tournament champions.
Plenty of money has been coming in on FAU as the line has moved from Memphis being favored by 2.5 points to being a 2-point favorite.
Memphis is 17-16-1 against the spread while FAU is 20-10-1 so that could explain why the Owls are picking up steam in this matchup.
FAU is in the top 30 nationally in points and rebounds per game. The Owls top nine scorers have combined to miss just nine games this season.
Memphis is a high-risk team on defense as the Tigers are 20th in Division I in steals per game and 40th in blocked shots but can give up points in bunches at times.
Memphis will be without third-leading scorer Keontre Kennedy and SMU transfer Jahmar Young has not played all season.
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