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    NCAA Tournament East Region: No. 9 Northwestern vs. No. 8 FAU March Madness Preview and Prediction

    A preview and prediction for Northwestern vs. FAU in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament.


    Northwestern vs. FAU March Madness Preview and Prediction

    In the No. 9 vs. No. 8 matchup in the NCAA Tournament East Region, the Northwestern Wildcats face the Florida Atlantic Owls in first-round action.

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    How to Watch Northwestern vs. FAU

    When: 12:15 pm ET on Friday, March 22nd

    Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York

    Watch: CBS

    Odds for Northwestern vs. FAU

    (odds current at time of publish)

    Spread: Northwestern -1.5

    Total: 140.5

    DraftKings Betting Splits | Live College Basketball Odds | Northwestern vs. FAU Matchup

    East Region No. 9 Northwestern Wildcats

    Northwestern is a scary team to face in the tournament, as they’re loaded with guards that can really score the basketball. Boo Buie is at the forefront of all of it, as he’s a lead guard that is fearless as an off-the-dribble shooter. He never hesitates to pull the trigger, even from Steph Curry range. And if he gets hot, there’s not much the other team can do. Leaving him means not paying enough attention to guys like Brooks Barnhizer and Ryan Langborg. The Wildcats’ biggest weakness is that they’re a little undersized. That’s why they’re a bad rebounding team. And that makes them vulnerable. Teams with size and toughness can give them trouble and the Owls definitely have that.

    East Region No. 8 FAU Owls

    Florida Atlantic’s statistical profile isn’t quite as good as last year, but this is still a damn good basketball team. Offensively, the Owls can score with anybody in the country. They’re top 25 in the nation in 2PT% and right around the top 50 in 3PT%. Not many other teams can say they strike a balance quite like that. Overall, Florida Atlantic can be relied on to score efficiently. And the experience they gained from last year’s Final Four run will only help at this time of year. But the Owls did drop significantly on the defensive end. That’s why they didn’t meet expectations this season. However, it should be noted that FAU is in a significantly better conference than it was last year. The team also played a tough nonconference schedule. Perhaps that will have Johnell Davis, Vladislav Goldin and Co. ready for this challenge.

    Northwestern vs. FAU Preview & Prediction

    Cinderella really liked how the glass slipper fit last season, but this year’s FAU team underwhelmed throughout most of the 2023-24 season. Dusty May was able to run it back with mostly the same roster, but the Owls were upset by Temple in the AAC Tournament, leaving their at-large hopes in question.

    The boys from Boca Raton still have a strong offensive team, led by Johnell Davis, Vladislav Goldin, and Alijah Martin, but they dropped from a top-40 ranking in adjusted defensive efficiency per Bart Torvik to the 130s. This was a top-15 team in 2P% defense last year and a team that finished in the 120s this time around. The big drop-off defensively seems important given the strength of this bracket and the tough first-round matchup.

    This game will probably come down to Northwestern’s 3-point shooting. The Wildcats were not a very efficient team inside the arc, but were a top-10 team from 3-point land. The Wildcats also took excellent care of the basketball with a top-10 TO% on offense. Take that with a grain of salt, as Big Ten teams don’t force a lot of takeaways, but neither did FAU as the season rolled along.

    Northwestern plays at one of the slowest tempos in the nation. Florida Atlantic was a little higher than the national average. If the Owls can speed this one up in transition on missed shots, I like their chances to cover against the Wildcats. They took a lot more Close Twos and also fared much better on the offensive glass.

    Estimated Score: Florida Atlantic 71, Northwestern 69

    For expert predictions, go to our college basketball best bets page.

    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke is the Managing Editor of VSiN.com and has spent well over a decade in the sports betting content creation space. He has been with VSiN since 2021 and covers a wide range of sports, along with hosting the VSiN Daily Baseball Bets podcast.

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