Fairleigh Dickinson looks to keep their Cinderella story going after their shocking first-round upset of Purdue when they take on Florida Atlantic with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line.
#9 Florida Atlantic Owls (32-3) vs #16 Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (21-15)
How to Watch:
- DATE: Sunday, March 19th
- TIME: 7:45 p.m. ET
- CHANNEL: truTV
- MONEYLINE: FAU (-1000) FDU (+650)
- SPREAD: FAU -15.5
- TOTAL: 149
Tale of the Tape:
|Florida Atlantic||STAT||Fairleigh Dickinson|
|78.4 (39th)||Points Per Game||77.5 (52nd)|
|65.0 (42nd)||Points Allowed Per Game||74.1 (296th)|
|151st||KenPom Adjusted Tempo||114th|
|28th||KenPom Off Ranking||145th|
|37th||KenPom DEF Ranking||
|126th||KenPom Strength of Schedule||
Florida Atlantic leaders:
- Johnell Davis, G: 13.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 39.3% 3PT
- Alijah Martin, G: 13.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 36.4% 3PT
Fairleigh Dickinson leaders:
- Demetre Roberts, G – 16.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.3 SPG
- Ansley Almonor, F – 13.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 38.2% 3PT
Fairleigh Dickinson pulled off the biggest upset of the 2023 NCAA tournament with a win over Purdue in their first-round game, making them the second #16 to knock off a #1 seed in tournament history. Purdue was the 8th-ranked team in KenPom’s rankings and featured a mammoth center in Zach Edey, so the fact that the Knights were able to knock them off despite being the smallest team in the tournament says everything you need to know about their scrappiness and resolve.
They will try to keep the momentum going with a win over Florida Atlantic, who is coming off a 66-65 win over Memphis as 1.5-point underdogs.
Fairleigh Dickinson rebounds the ball well and is aggressive on the offensive glass, which bothered Purdue who was surprised by the physicality of the underdogs. It will give the Knights more scoring chances, and they’ve also done a good job protecting the ball, so they won’t give the Owls a lot of easy-scoring opportunities. Those will be crucial areas if they can hope to keep this game close.
However, Fairleigh Dickinson will need to have a much better offensive performance in the second round if they want to compensate for their poor defense. Against Purdue, the Knights scored 63 points but hit just 38.7% from the field and 30.4% from beyond the arc. That’s likely not going to cut it on Sunday.
This Florida Atlantic team can score with most offenses in the country and is led by a dynamic veteran backcourt. The Owls do a tremendous job protecting the ball, which will be key against a Knights team that loves to force turnovers and is averaging more than eight steals per game.
The defensive pressure from Demetre Roberts bothered the young guards of Purdue all game on Friday, and he will not doubt be looking to do that again. However, I don’t think Florida Atlantic will be as impacted.
At the end of the day, I just think the Owls are too deep and talented. The Fairleigh Dickinson story has been tremendous, but I think this is where it ends.