One is a free-wheeling, 3-point shooting machine. The other is a defensive stalwart that just got through pummeling Duke out of March Madness.
Florida Atlantic and Tennessee represent a contrast in styles that best encapsulates the NCAA Tournament. Under coach Dusty May, the Owls (33-3, 18-2 in Conference USA) shoot the 18th-most 3-pointers per game (26.4) and make 36.7% from deep, allowing them to average 78.4 points per game, good for 32th in Division I. FAU's offense is paced by sophomore guards Alijah Martin and Johnell Davis, who put up 29 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in beating Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday.
On the other end, Rick Barnes has established a defensive juggernaut. The Vols (25-10, 11-7 in SEC) have the third-best scoring defense in the nation, allowing a scant 57.8 points per game and average 8.3 steals per game, good for 33rd. That's not to say Tennessee can't shoot the 3 as well: Senior guard Santiago Vescovi has hit more than 37% of his treys. And senior Olivier Nkamhoua just put in a career-best 27 points in their win Saturday against Duke.
Don't count out FAU: The Owls went 1-1 against the SEC this season, losing to Ole Miss before stunning Florida in Gainesville early in the season.
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Who will advance to the Elite 8? Here's what the experts are saying:
CBS Sports: Tennessee
Three of CBS Sports' NCAA basketball experts picked the Vols to win: Jerry Palm, Chip Patterson and Kyle Boone. Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander went with FAU. Four of the five picked the Owls to beat the spread: Parrish, Norlander, Patterson and Boone.
Nick Musial, Sporting News: Tennessee 70-63
"If the Volunteers can get another big-time performance from one of their rotational pieces like Nkamhoua gave them in the Round of 32, Tennessee can beat anyone in the country. Chances are Nkamhoua doesn't replicate his 27-point effort this time around, but even still, Tennessee's defensive physicality and intensity should wear the Owls down over 40 minutes."
FiveThirtyEight's data modeling gives Tennessee a 66% chance to beat Florida Atlantic. It had given the Owls a 90% chance to beat Fairleigh Dickinson and a 37% chance to beat Memphis.
SI.com's FanNation: Florida Atlantic to cover the spread
"Essentially, this game will come down to the Owls’ ability to get physical with the Vols and unlock their offensive explosiveness," wrote Zach Lutz for FanNation. "If FAU can get into a groove, their offense has the ability to take and hold leads; even if Tennessee’s defense holds FAU, their offense may make it difficult for the Vols to keep a lead."
Mike Wilson, Knoxville News Sentinel.com: Tennessee 69-61
"Tennessee reaches the Elite Eight for the second time in program history behind another strong showing from Vescovi."
Larry Rupp, FanDuel: Tennessee 70-60
"Florida Atlantic has been crushing opponents on the boards, ranking 22nd in total rebounding percentage (53.6%). However, Tennessee ranks ninth in total rebounding percentage (54.7%). The Volunteers are bigger and badder in every way here."
Pete Fiutak, College Football News: Tennessee 71-63
"The Owls have a whole slew of very good sophomores who know how to get on the move. The Vols have a whole lot of tough-guy seniors who will intimidate right out of the gate.
"Florida Atlantic will have a run or two when it's able to generate transition points, but the threes will always be contested hard, and the offensive rebounds won't be there to make for the missed."
What's the latest betting line for Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee?
Tennessee is a 5.5-point favorite over FAU, according to Tipico, the oddsmaker for USA TODAY. The over-under is 130.5 points.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: FAU vs Tennessee predictions: March Madness experts make their picks