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#9 Northwestern vs. #8 FAU Expert Pick – March 22, 2024

#9 Northwestern vs. #8 FAU Expert Pick –  March 22, 2024

#9 NORTHWESTERN VS. #8 FAU EXPERT PICK – MARCH 22, 2024 – March Madness is upon us and the Godzilla Wins previews for every first round game keep coming. This first-round matchup on Friday features Northwestern (21-11) taking on FAU (25-8).

Let’s take a look at who has value in this matchup.

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When: Friday, March 22, 2024

Time: 12:15 PM ET

Where: Barclays Center

Location: Brooklyn, NY


Northwestern vs. FAU Odds







(21-11 SU)






(25-8 SU)





Odds courtesy of DraftKings

Northwestern vs. FAU Betting Outlook


Northwestern is a gritty team that comes into this game exceeding bookmaker expectations. They’ve gone 7-3 ATS in their last ten games, despite dealing with a myriad of injuries. They won’t have the services of Ty Berry for the tournament, and Matt Nicholson is still a question mark as he deals with a foot injury.

But, they have Boo Buie — one of the best guards in the Big Ten — and guard play can loom large in tournament games. Particularly when they shoot 44% from deep and make 85% from the line.

Northwestern plays the type of game that can make teams uncomfortable. They will grind games down to a halt and aren’t afraid of an ugly rockfight. The offense is actually pretty solid on an efficiency level and the should be able to make some 3s to hang around.

Northwestern generates a good amount of turnovers, but their aggressive defensive style results in a lot of trips to the line for their opponents. The Wildcats are a seasoned team, and they won’t be looking to back down against anyone after playing a grueling Big Ten schedule.

The key question mark is will they be able to generate enough stops in the paint. With Nicholson out or diminished in some capacity, they may not have the depth to slow down FAU’s Vlad Goldin.


The key trio from last year’s Final Four run last year are all back, and this team looks like it may be better — on paper — than last year’s edition. They’ve posted some really strong wins over Arizona, Butler, Virginia Tech, TAMU, and Memphis. They played a quality schedule and still emerged with 25 wins.

Offense is the strength of this team, ranking 16th in KenPom’s efficiency rankings, and the defense is a weakness, ranking 108th.

FAU has about five guys who can generate offense from behind the arc. If they’re making shots — like they did last year — they will be dangerous for any team. The downside, is that if they run cold, they have put up some pretty terrible losses to Florida Gulf Coast and Bryant.

Vlad Goldin is the key to this team and the offense needs his presence down low to operate with maximum efficiency. Probably the only way Northwestern will be able to slow him down is if he gets into foul trouble.

The Pick

All of the hype seems to be on FAU, and for good reason. This is an experienced team looking to make another deep run.

My vibes, however, have me leaning towards Northwestern. I think both teams will struggle to cover the other from deep, so that feels neutral to me. Northwestern will get points against the porous Owls’ defense.

The real difference is that I think Northwestern will be more comfortable when the game slows down at the end. Despite the injuries, I think they have enough to hang around here.

Pick: Northwestern +2.5

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