Sat, 03 Jun 2023

Final Four: FAU-SDSU Preview, Betting Trends Prediction

Field Level Media
01 Apr 2023, 07:19 GMT+10

The Final Four officially gets under way when Florida Atlantic (35-3) and San Diego State (31-6) tip off at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday.

One of the two Cinderella stories from this year's Final Four will play in Monday's national championship game.

San Diego State was a consensus 2.5-point favorite as of Friday afternoon.

That's a shift from when it opened at 1.5 at BetMGM, with the Azetcs drawing 60 percent of the spread-line bets and 75 percent of the money. However, the most popular Final Four bet at the sportsbook has been FAU's 130 moneyline, which has shifted from 105 with the Owls backed by 64 percent of the total bets.

BetRivers' also reported more spread-line action on San Diego State, which has been supported by 57 percent of the bets and 56 percent of the money.

While the Owls and Aztecs made surprising runs to Houston, their season-long success belies the notion that their appearances are an aberration.

The Owls are currently riding an 11-game winning streak that isn't even their longest of this season. FAU had its 20-game win streak snapped by an 86-77 road loss to UAB on Feb. 2.

To many, the Owls might seem to be a bunch of unknowns. However, FAU leads the nation in victories and is ranked 17th in efficiency in KenPom ratings.

At 13.1 points per game, Alijah Martin is one of three Owls averaging double figures in points with five-plus rebounds alongside fellow sophomores Johnell Davis and Vladislav Goldin.

FAU has thrived via collective effort, and white-knuckle tournament victories over Memphis, Fairleigh Dickinson, Tennessee and Kansas State validated the Owls' egalitarian approach to success.

"Extremely rewarding to see a group give as much as these guys have all season," Owls coach Dusty May said. "Shots, playing time, minutes, everything you could imagine. Grit, everything 100 percent every day in practice, and then be rewarded because there's never a guarantee.

"You're always relying on faith that you believe it's going to happen, but you never really know. In this era where everyone wants the whole pie, these guys continued sharing the pie every single day, and this was the result."

Experience is the Aztecs' calling card. Of the nine players to have logged at least 500 minutes for San Diego State this season, seven are seniors

After knocking on the door in seasons past, the Aztecs have finally arrived on center stage. It would be tempting to enjoy this singular moment, but according to coach Brian Dutcher, the work isn't done.

"Here we are," Dutcher said. "We're making the next step, and it's something we've always talked about, and I'm sure there were people that doubted we could do it, but we never doubted for a minute.

"Now we have to take advantage of our opportunity. We can't say going to the Final Four is the end-all, it's the beginning. So we have to go try to find a way to win two games and hang a championship banner."


It's true that neither one of these teams should be considered a true shock to reach the Final Four. Fresno State has immense experience in its favor, while FAU has an opportunity to win an incredible 37 games this season.

The Owls have been extremely impressive under pressure, winning several tight games to reach this point. The Aztecs bevvy of seniors also won't wilt under the bright lights, and San Diego holds on to win a tight contest.

--San Diego State 69, Florida Atlantic 66

--Field Level Media

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