The bottom of the men’s March Madness bracket is set.
Saturday night, No. 9 FAU will play No. 3 Kansas State in the East Region final and No. 4 UConn is matched up with No. 3 Gonzaga for the finale in the West Region.
The Owls are the biggest surprise team to advance this far (pending No. 15 Princeton’s Sweet 16 game) and the Conference USA champs are now one win shy of a Final Four appearance in Houston, the deepest run in program history. Their opponent, the Wildcats, lost on this very stage in 2018. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have been here twice in the last three tournaments—they won in 2021 en route to a championship game appearance and lost in 2019. As for the Huskies, their last two trips this deep in the Big Dance resulted in national titles in 2014 and 2011.
So, who will represent the East and West in the Final Four? Find betting breakdowns for both games below, along with a best bet for each.
March Madness Odds: No. 9 FAU vs. No. 3 Kansas State
FAU vs. Kansas State Best Bet: Over 144.5 (-110)
The Owls’ magical run continued with a gutsy, 62-55 win over No. 4 Tennessee in the Sweet 16 on Thursday. That followed a 78-70 victory over No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson in the Round of 32 and a close call in the first round against No 8. Memphis, which FAU won, 66-65. The Wildcats survived No. 7 Michigan State in overtime, 98-93, in an all-time tournament game to advance to this stage. Prior to that, Kansas State dispatched No. 6 Kentucky, 75-69, and No. 14 Montana State, 77-65.
Florida Atlantic ranks top 30 nationally in offense and defensive efficiency and showed after its high-scoring affair with the Knights that it could win a grind-it-out game against the Volunteers, who boasted the No. 1 defense. Johnell Davis has been the team’s top scorer so far in March Madness at 18.7 points per game, up from his season-average of 13.9. The Owls have the second-highest scoring bench in DI (34.1 ppg). Giancarlo Rosado led the team with 15 points in relief in the Memphis game and Michael Forrest’s 11 points provided a spark against Tennessee.
The Wildcats rank a few spots below their opponent in offensive efficiency and slightly ahead when it comes to defense. They’ve scored at least 75 points in every tournament game so far, culminating in a 98-point outburst in overtime against the Spartans. The engine on offense is Markquis Nowell, who just set an NCAA men’s tournament record with 19 assists to tack on to the 23 he racked up in the previous two games. Nowell is also averaging 21.3 points per game in the Big Dance, up from his season average of 17.2. Keyontae Johnson led the team with 22 points in the win over MSU and he’s been good for 17.7 points per game so far in tournament play.
With Nowell at the helm, Kansas State (43rd in tempo) likes to push the ball more than FAU does (158th). The Owls are efficient on offense, though, specifically from beyond the three-point line, where they shoot better than 37%. Dusty May’s team has shown it can adjust to different styles of play even as an underdog. In this matchup, look for these teams to trade buckets. The over is an even 17–17–1 for Florida Atlantic on the year and 19–16 for the Wildcats, though it’s 5–1 over their last six games.
March Madness Odds: No. 4 UConn vs. No. 3 Gonzaga
UConn vs. Gonzaga Best Bet: UConn -2 (-110)
The Huskies have rolled through the tournament to the Elite Eight with an average margin of victory of more than 20 points across their three wins. They just eliminated No. 8 Arkansas, 88-65, one round after the Razorbacks took down No. 1 Kansas. And before that, UConn blew out No. 13 Iona, 87-63, and handled No. 5 Saint Mary’s, 70-55. The Bulldogs have had some closer calls on their path, but they’re here all the same. Following an 82-70 win over No. 14 Grand Canyon in the Round of 64, Gonzaga got past No. 6 TCU, 84-81, and just beat No. 2 UCLA, 79-76, in a thriller.
Adama Sanogo has been a force of nature for the Huskies with an average of 23.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game so far in the Big Dance. Jordan Hawkins has added 16.3 points per game and Andre Jackson Jr. has set the table for UConn—the No. 3 offense in the country—with seven assists in each contest. The Huskies have improved their scoring average from 78.5 points per game for the year to 81.7 in the tournament and they’ve hit at least nine threes in each game as well.
The heart and soul of the Bulldogs is Drew Timme, one of the top scorers in the NCAA. He tallied 36 points and 13 boards in the win over the Bruins after 28- and 21-point performances in the two prior games. Gonzaga enters this matchup as the No. 1 offense in the nation, one of two teams ranked ahead of Connecticut in that regard. Julian Strawther, who hit the game-winning three in the Sweet 16, has been stellar alongside Timme as he’s put together two double doubles already and he’s a threat from beyond the arc.
The Bulldogs may very well present the Huskies with their toughest challenge so far in March. The high point total indicates that Gonzaga, which operates at a much faster tempo than UConn (39th compared with 211th), will have some say in the pace of play, but Dan Hurley’s team is more than capable of going blow for blow in a high-scoring affair. The Huskies’ superior defense and edge at the free-throw line could be the difference in this game.
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