Talk about March Madness — the Florida Atlantic Owls have made it to the Final Four of the men's NCAA Tournament. Who could've predicted that?
Probably not many, and maybe even fewer could've predicted that two teams from mid-major conferences would emerge victorious from the South (which had overall No. 1 seed Alabama) and East brackets.
This improbable matchup features the Owls (35-3), the regular season and tournament champions from Conference USA, vs. SDSU (31-6), the regular season and tournament champions from the Mountain West Conference.
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It will be a contrast of styles, as San Diego State leans heavily on its defense, while FAU's high-octane offense has been on display for everyone to see during their NCAA Tournament run. Neither team has lost a game in over a month, with Florida Atlantic's last loss coming February 14 at Middle Tennessee and SDSU's at Boise State on February 28.
So which is going to win out on Saturday, the offense or the defense? Here's what those who make picks for a living are saying.
Nick Musial, The Sporting News: — San Diego State 66-63
"The Aztecs' ability to run the Owls off the three-point line could be the difference in this one, and for that reason, we'll side with SDSU to grind out a one-possession victory en route to a National Championship appearance. Mensah holds his own against Goldin down low while the Aztecs hit a couple of clutch shots in crunch time to keep their title hopes alive."
Grace McDermott, DraftKings: SDSU 59, FAU 54
"The Owls have been leaning hard on three-point shooting for much of this tournament, attempting nearly 30 shots from the perimeter per game, but SDSU has been absolutely stifling from the outside on defense.
"With Nathan Mensah under the rim for the Aztecs and a tough perimeter defense, FAU is going to need to get creative on offense."
FiveThirtyEight: San Diego State
According to FiveThirtyEight's data modeling, SDSU has a 62% chance to win Saturday's game and FAU has a 38% chance of coming out victorious. As for the odds of winning the national championship, FiveThirtyEight gives the Aztecs a 25% chance of winning it all and the Owls just a 12% chance of cutting down the nets.
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Reed Wallach, FanSided: FAU to cover the 2-point spread
"San Diego State got past Alabama and Creighton despite inefficient offensive outings but stifling perimeter defense (the two opponents shot a combined 11.9%). However, FAU is the most complete offense that can weather bouts of poor shooting with its ability to attack closeouts."
College Football News: San Diego State 67, Florida Atlantic 63
"All the missed inside shots that weren't dropping against Creighton are about to fall for the Aztecs. Florida Atlantic will miss just enough late free throws to sent San Diego State to Monday night."
Dimers.com: SDSU 66, FAU 65
Dimers.com ran more than 10,000 simulations of Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State, wrote Kevin Hansen. Its leading analytics model, DimersBOT, gave the Aztecs a 54% chance to win.
What's the latest line for Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State basketball?
San Diego State is a 2.5-point favorite over FAU, according to Tipico, the oddsmaker for USA TODAY. The over-under is 132.5 points.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: FAU or SDSU? Experts make their Final Four predictions