Florida Atlantic faces off against San Diego State in a matchup of two very unlikely teams in the Final Four. Florida Atlantic is coming off another shocking win against a higher seed, with a close win against Kansas State, while San Diego State won another grinder of a game against Creighton at the last second. My prediction is that San Diego State covers the 2-point spread. Florida Atlantic’s run has been impressive, but it’s tough to bet against San Diego State’s defense in this spot. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State Prediction
San Diego State’s in this position in large part because of their experience, with five different 5th year seniors on the team.
Matt Bradley is the biggest key for the Aztecs in the backcourt, and they go as he does mostly. He leads the team in scoring at 12.5 PPG and he’s one of their more reliable three-point shooters at 36%. Darrion Trammell and Lamont Butler make up the rest of a very productive guard trio in the backcourt. Trammell averages 10 PPG and is tied for the lead in assists per game at 3, while also averaging 1.3 steals per game. Butler averages 9 PPG and is tied with Trammell at 3 assists per game, and then leads the Aztecs in steals at 1.5 per game. Jaedon LeDee is the big man that stands out down low and he averages 8 PPG and 5 rebounds per game.
The Aztecs’ defense has carried them at times this year as one of the best in all of college basketball. They’re 25th in points allowed at 62.9 PPG and are ranked #4 in Adjusted Defense in KenPom with an 89.9 rating, which is good for the best defense remaining of all the teams. The offense scores 71.5 PPG too.
On the other side, Florida Atlantic is an even bigger Cinderella story than San Diego State, based on seeding as a 9.
Florida Atlantic plays a very fun brand of basketball and it starts and ends with Johnell Davis in the backcourt. He’s their lead guard and leads the team in scoring at 14 PPG and in steals at 1.5 per game. Alijah Martin is next up in production and is apart of a great 1-2 punch in the backcourt. He averages 13 PPG and is one of their more consistent three-point shooters at 37%. Vladislav Goldin and Nicholas Boyd are next up in production too. Goldin is who they rely on down low. He averages 10 PPG and then leads the team in rebounds at 7 per game and in blocks at 1.2 per game. Boyd then rounds out a decent backcourt and averages 9 PPG and leads the team in assists at 2.5 per game.
Florida Atlantic is a very balanced team. They’re 37th in scoring at 78 PPG and they’re 45th in points allowed at 65.1 PPG, and they’re 17th overall in KenPom.
This should be a very close game in the Final Four. San Diego State’s defense is the difference, especially on the three-point line. The Aztecs win a close game and cover late because of their defense. This is a bad matchup for Florida Atlantic, and the run ends in Houston in a close game.
Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State Prediction: San Diego State -2
Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State Odds
San Diego State is a 2-point favorite in this Final Four game against Florida Atlantic and is at -130 on the money line. The over/under is also at 132. San Diego State being favored makes sense because they’re the more physical and experienced team. The over/under also makes sense because while Florida Atlantic is good on offense, San Diego State controls games with their defense in every game they play. This spread is low, but it should stay where it’s at before tip-off on Saturday.
Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State Key Matchups
Can Johnell Davis matchup with Matt Bradley? Can Darrion Trammell matchup with Alijah Martin?
Matt Bradley vs Johnell Davis
Matt Bradley can carry San Diego State if need be. He averages 12.5 points, 2 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. He’ll be matched up against Johnell Davis most of the game, who averages 14 points, 2 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game. Davis is the best player for Florida Atlantic too. Bradley and the Aztec defense is why I’m predicting the Aztecs to cover against the Owls.
Alijah Martin vs Darrion Trammell
Alijah Martin can take over games for the Owls when needed. He averages 13 points, 1.5 assists, and 5 rebounds per game. He’ll be matched up against Darrion Trammell most of the game, who averages 10 points, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds per game. Trammell has really come on strong in the tournament when needed. He’s a good defender and is an indicator of the overall defense the Aztecs can play to cover the 2-point spread.