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Pick against the spread for No. 9 FAU vs. No. 5 San Diego State in Final Four

Nick Simon gives their pick against the spread for the Final Four matchup between FAU and San Diego State in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

Florida Atlantic v Kansas State Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The first Final Four matchup for the 2023 NCAA Men’s Tournament is set as the No. 5 San Diego State Aztecs will battle the No. 9 Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday, April 1. This national semifinal showdown will take place at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX, and will tip at 6:09 p.m. ET on CBS.

San Diego State enters the matchup as a three-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. I’ll take a look at both of these national semifinalists and make a pick below.

No. 9 FAU vs. No. 5 San Diego State: Pick against the spread

Florida Atlantic (35-3) was able to survive a nailbiter against Kansas State on Sunday, edging the Wildcats 79-76 in the Elite Eight to advance to its first Final Four in program history. All four of the Owls’ NCAA Tournament victories have come within single digits and that can be attributed to them being poised and well-balanced on both ends of the floor. FAU is 24-11-1 against the spread this season, boasting the sixth-highest cover percentage in the nation.

San Diego State (31-6) also survived a nailbiter in its Elite Eight matchup on Sunday, draining a late free throw off a controversial foul call to down Creighton 57-56. The Aztecs’ calling card has been on the defensive end and that has shown in the tournament as they’ve held opponents to just 34.1% shooting. SDSU is 19-15-2 against the spread this season.

Pick: FAU +3

Both teams have been stepping it up defensively throughout the NCAA Tournament and I expect a knock-down, low-scoring struggle to kick things off at NRG Stadium on Saturday. Take FAU to cover as this one will most likely come down to the final possession.