NCAA March Madness: Memphis vs. FAU betting preview, odds and predictions

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NCAA March Madness: Memphis vs. FAU betting preview, odds and predictions

In the 8 vs. 9 matchup in the East region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, Memphis faces Florida Atlantic with a spot in the Round of 32 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 Memphis vs. FAU

When: Friday, 9:20 p.m. ET

Where: Columbus, Ohio

Watch: TNT

Odds for Memphis vs. FAU

Spread: Memphis -3

Total: 150.5 

(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)

Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook

East Region No. 8 Seed Memphis

If you need any proof as to how good this Tigers team can be, just think about the fact that it took a buzzer-beater for the Houston Cougars to beat them on March 5th. Then, Memphis beat Houston in the AAC final on March 12th. Houston is the top-ranked team in our VSiN Team Power Ratings, but Memphis was one of the few teams that looked like it belonged on the same court as the Cougars this season. Penny Hardaway has done a nice job with this year’s group, which is rock-solid on both ends of the floor. Kendric Davis and DeAndre Williams are a great one-two punch for the Tigers offensively. Memphis also defends the three-point line very well. But shooting is a concern for the Tigers on offense.

East Region No. 9 Seed FAU 

The Owls don’t have any legitimate superstars on their team, but they are one of the best three-point shooting groups in the field — which helped the team finish the regular season with a top-35 mark in adjusted offensive efficiency. While Florida Atlantic is a mid-major program, the team’s statistical profile reads more like a very good team from a big conference. With that in mind, the Owls are not a team that anybody will want to face in the early rounds of March Madness. Not only is Florida Atlantic really good offensively, but the team can dig in and get some big stops, too. The blowout win over the UAB Blazers in the Conference USA Tournament final should serve as a statement to everybody in the country.

Memphis vs. FAU matchup analysis

It was just last year that the selection committee put Memphis into the 8/9 game in the NCAA Tournament in the region of No. 1 Gonzaga. Memphis beat Boise State by 11 and then gave the top seed everything it could handle in an 82-78 loss. You can bet that Memphis over No. 1 Purdue will be a very popular bracket pick, but the Tigers have to get past a really good mid-major in the FAU Owls, the champs of Conference USA.

FAU would have had an at-large berth anyway after being ranked for the first time in program history and this is a strong team in one of the primetime slots on Friday night. The Owls have adopted an NBA-style approach of getting looks at the rim and shooting 3s, as the mid-range game is not part of their arsenal. For the season, 84% of their shot attempts are either Close Twos as defined by Bart Torvik, or 3-pointers, of which they’re shooting 37.2%. This is a top-20 team by eFG% on offense and defense, holding opponents to just 44.8% on 2s and 32% on 3s.

The short line in this game is not an accident. The Owls have a balanced offensive attack and play a lot of guys to stay fresh, but they also have several above-average players. Memphis is different, in that Kendric Davis and DeAndre Williams do a lot of the lifting. The matchup between Williams and 7-foot-1 center Vladislav Goldin will be a good one.

Memphis’s eight losses have been by 30 combined points, including two overtime losses, a two-point loss to Houston in the regular season finale and a three-point loss on the road at No. 1 overall seed Alabama. The one thing to watch for in this game is that Memphis does not want to shoot 3s. Their 3P Rate of 28.8% ranks 343rd in the country. FAU embraces shooting 3s at a high rate and teams took a lot of them against Memphis from an inability to get to the rim.

Statistically, the Owls have the edge on the glass as well, while Memphis is better at forcing turnovers. This is exactly what you’d want from an 8/9 game and arguably the best game of the first round.

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