A trip to the Elite Eight is on the line when the four-seeded Tennessee Volunteers (25-10) and the ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic Owls (33-3) take the floor. The winner of the contest advances to face either Kansas State or Michigan State who play prior to this matchup. Tennessee and FAU have met just once prior in the program’s history, an 81-62 beating in Knoxville in 2015.
Thursday’s nightcap tips off at 9 p.m. EST inside the historic Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Tennessee is a five-point favorite and the over/under total is 129.5 points.
What to Know – #9 Florida Atlantic Owls
Florida Atlantic has knocked off Memphis and Fairleigh Dickinson to find itself in the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history and just its second NCAA Tournament appearance. The Owls were the winners of both the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles.
FAU’s offense scored second in C-USA, averaging 78.4 points per game while shooting 46.7% from the field and 36.7% from the 3-point line. The Owls defense was third in the conference, holding opponents to 65.1 ppg, 40.2% shooting from the floor, and 31.6% from beyond the arc.
Guards Johnell Davis (13.9 ppg) and Alijah Martin (13.1 ppg) pace the Owls offensively. Davis, a sophomore guard, is coming off a 29-point effort in the win over FDU in which he hit 10-of-16 shots from the field.
The Owls are 22-11-1 against the spread this year and sport a 3-2 record ATS in games played on a neutral floor. FAU is 4-1 ATS over its previous five games when playing as the underdog.
What to Know – #4 Tennessee Volunteers
Behind a dominating defensive effort, Tennessee is back in the Sweet 16 for the ninth time in school history and first since 2019. The Vols got back to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament with wins over Louisiana and Duke.
Offensively, the Vols were ninth in the league averaging 71.2 ppg while hitting 43.6% of their field goals and 33.0% of their 3-point attempts. On defense, Tennessee led the conference surrendering 57.8 ppg, 37.2% shooting from the floor and 26.4% from three.
The Vols aren’t going to wow you on offense, but Tennessee does have some players that can put up points. Guard Santiago Vescovi leads the team averaging 12.7 ppg while last game’s leading scorer, Olivier Nkamhoua adds 11.0 ppg.
Tennessee owns an overall record of 18-17 ATS with a 4-5 mark ATS playing at a neutral location. The Vols are 1-4 ATS in their last five matchups against teams from Conference USA.
The Pick is In
The Southeastern Conference has done well in the NCAA Tournament and the Vols look to snap FAU’s historic run. Tennessee’s suffocating defense is the difference here, as the Owls have yet to face a team with this kind of defensive intensity.
The Pick: #4 Tennessee Volunteers -5