The Sweet 16 provided nothing but madness, whether it’s a record-breaking performance, a Cinderella, pure dominance, or a clutch buzzer beater tonight’s teams have been involved in some of what makes the sport great. We’ve got two different types of matchups. First, we get the extremely likable matchup of Florida Atlantic-Kansas State, then a potential title fight with Gonzaga-UConn, let’s dive into the matchups.
#3 Kansas State Wildcats (-1.5) vs #9 Florida Atlantic Owls
6:09 ET on TBS
Florida Atlantic is the latest Cinderella-type team, and Kansas State is the most underdog of underdogs, this matchup is for who will be America’s team in the Final Four. The Owls might embrace the Cinderella mindset but don’t take them lightly, they’re elite defensively and can score with the best of them, making them a threat to make the run to a title game. Kansas State had the best guard left in this Tournament in Markquis Nowell who had 19 assists, a Tournament record against Michigan State.
Florida Atlantic is built for March, they have elite guards in Alijah Martin and Johnell Davis who can get buckets with anyone. Vlad Goldin brings a paint presence, while this team is extremely deep, this team is anything but a mid-major and should be respected as such. Kansas State has the “little kid” in Markquis Nowell who is an electric passer, Keyontae Johnson, who is an elite forward, as well as good shooting all around. This has the makings of an all-time classic, give me Kansas State though. The Wildcats have the more dynamic playmaker in Nowell and ultimately will provide the offense to actually give FAU issues, unlike their previous opponent.
Pick: Kansas State 76 Florida Atlantic 71
ATS Pick: Kansas -1.5
#3 Gonzaga Bulldogs (+2) vs #4 UConn Huskies
8:49 ET on TBS
Speaking of All-Time Classics, Gonzaga-UConn very well is a game that looks like it will determine who will win the National Championship, making this a potential classic. Gonzaga is coming off theirs, after trailing 13 at the half, Gonzaga stormed ahead by 9 before blowing the lead and needing a Julian Strawther logo three to escape. Drew Timme is and will be terrific and that alone gives them a shot to win here and on a Monday Night in Houston. UConn has been the best team in this Tournament, the Huskies embrace the Hurley mindset, they are tough, energetic, and play elite defense.
The Bulldogs certainly have an advantage down low with Timme, who is a walking 20 and 10 and will try to push the pace. Strawther is a good second option, while the Bulldogs have the shooting needed to win any game. They can struggle defensively but have been able to advance past UCLA anyway. The difference is, UConn is a different level of opponent than a banged-up UCLA team. Clingan and Sanogo will be able to match up and provide physicality to go against Timme. Andre Jackson can do everything, while the Huskies shooters have been terrific all Tournament long. This team was the best in the sport to start this year and at this point are looking like the best team left. Gonzaga won’t go away quietly but UConn should win a high-scoring affair.
Pick: UConn 87 Gonzaga 76
ATS Pick: UConn -2