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FAU vs Tennessee Predictions & Odds (March 23)

George Nassios

by George Nassios in College Basketball

Updated Mar 22, 2023 · 4:47 PM PDT

FAU players walking off the basketball court
Mar 19, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls guard Alijah Martin (15) and forward Giancarlo Rosado (3) walk off the court following their 78-70 win over Fairleigh Dickinson Knights during the second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch Basketball Ncaa Men S Basketball Tournament Round 2
  • Sweet 16 action begins on Thursday, March 23rd, with Florida Atlantic taking on Tennessee as part of the day’s four matchups
  • The East Region is wide open with both the No. 1 and 2 seeds bounced from the tournament
  • Below, find all the Florida Atlantic vs Tennessee odds and picks for the Sweet 16

The NCAA tournament resumes on Thursday, March 23rd with Sweet 16 action including the No. 9 Florida Atlantic Owls (33-3, 22-11-1 ATS) taking on the 4th seeded Tennessee Volunteers (25-10, 18-17 ATS) at the mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden.

No side of the March Madness bracket is as open for the taking as the East region with No. 1 Purdue and No. 2 Marquette both eliminated last week. You can watch the Owls take on the Vols on TBS.

Florida Atlantic vs Tennessee Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Florida Atlantic Owls +5.5 (-117) +195 O 130.5 (-117)
Tennessee Volunteers -5.5 (-117) -240 U 130.5 (-117)

Although their offense hasn’t been up to snuff with the loss of starting point guard Zakai Ziegler, Tennessee’s defense has been nothing short of stifling in the NCAA tournament so far. They gave up just 55 points to Louisiana before holding No. 5 Duke to 52 points in their 2nd round win.

Against Florida Atlantic on Thursday, the Volunteers have been made 5.5-point favorites with the over/under set at 130.5 total points. Each of the Vols games so far has come in well below that total.



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FAU Is Second-Worst Seed in Sweet 16

Only the Ivy Leaguers from Princeton, as a No. 15 seed, have a lower seeding than FAU out of all the squads who have made it to the 2nd week of March Madness. Nevertheless, this Owls team that only has three losses this year, are only 5.5-point ‘dogs in the college basketball odds for this huge encounter with Tennessee.

Current Final Four odds have them at +425 to score a couple more upsets and advance to next weekend’s action in Houston. This squad has now won nine in a row and after disposing of the Cinderella story that was Fairleigh Dickinson, they are playing with house money.

Finding a way to score buckets will be key to any FAU success against Tennessee’s top ranked defense. Although they rank 30th in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom, the Owls have bricked a ton of shots in their first couple of tournament games and shot under 30% from beyond the arc in both of those wins.

While this will be the stiffest test of the year for FAU, they have fared well against top competition this season. They own a 7-1 record when battling teams who are positioned in the top 100 of KenPom’s overall adjusted efficiency, with their best victory coming over 20th ranked Memphis in their tourney opener.

Tennessee Hoping Defense Wins Championships

If defense wins championships, then this Tennessee team is for you, but at some point, the absence of offense displayed at times through their first two games has to be a cause for concern. They currently own the 7th shortest odds to win the NCAA tournament.

The Volunteers are number one in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom and have held opponents to under 60 points in five of their last seven games. In addition, they’re number one in defensive three-point percentage, which doesn’t bode well for an FAU team that comes in struggling to nail the trey.

What’s worrisome for Tennessee is that an already average offense looks even more stagnant without Ziegler. While they had their encouraging stretches in a dominant win over Duke, they barely got by Louisiana to reach that game.

Their pace of play without their starting point guard was like watching a turtle as they only attempted 46 shots throughout the contest. The Vols haven’t put together three wins in a row since late-January, and it’s almost always been their offense that has cost them. Building a big lead early will be crucial considering the lack of a go-to scorer.

Florida Atlantic vs Tennessee Prediction

Don’t let the No. 9 seed fool you, FAU are definitely much closer in competition level to the Vols than some might think. Tennessee lost seven times in the last two months to teams with a lower adjusted efficiency than the Owls.

FAU vs Tennessee Head-to-Head Stats

79.3 (26th) Points/Game 71.9 (177th)
65.7 (60th) Points Allowed/Game 57.5 (4th)
47.2 (41st) FG% 43.5 (251st)
37.8 (22nd) 3PT% 32.6 (271st)

In their last 11 games against teams with a straight up winning record, the Vols have gone just 3-8 against the spread, while the Owls are 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 games versus teams with a winning percentage above .600. If you’re looking, the Vols winning percentage checks in at .714 so far this campaign.

Our pick here is to not only take the Owls to cover the spread, but we have some extra belief on the longshots in this Sweet 16 affair and are going to take Florida Atlantic to win outright and send Tennessee packing.

Pick: Florida Atlantic Owls Moneyline (+195)

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