The No. 8 Memphis Tigers take on the No. 9 Florida Atlantic Owls in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 17. The game will air on TNT at 9:20 p.m. ET.
No. 8 Memphis vs. No. 9 FAU picks
Spread: Memphis -2
Moneyline: Memphis -135, FAU +115
Memphis wrapped up their season by finally, finally getting that win over Houston when it mattered most after losing twice to the Cougars in very close regular season games. Have they used up all their energy on that emotional win? It could be a real concern for bettors and bracket-makers in a sport where momentum means everything. Memphis ranks 19th overall at KenPom and 47th in the nation in scoring margin, though they faced a weak AAC field for much of the season.
FAU dominated in Conference USA this year, grabbing 31 wins throughout the season and blowing out their opponent in the conference championship game. The Owls should be raising some eyebrows in this tournament. They are just behind Memphis at 22nd in the KenPom rankings and rank 6th in the nation in scoring margin — though, again, in a weak conference.
Pick: Memphis -2
Despite FAU’s impressive run, I think that Memphis will be able to pull this one out. The Owls have not faced any team as good as the Tigers this season, and Memphis is just the better team. While that doesn’t always factor into play this month, the Tigers have this one for me.