March Madness: Princeton and FAU are Dark Horses in the Sweet 16

Only sixteen teams remain in the 2023 NCAA men’s college basketball tournament as it moves on to the Sweet 16. Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and Princeton are the dark horses of DraftKings’ college basketball futures board to win the “March Madness” championship, with Princeton boasting the longest odds in the Sweet 16 at +16000 and FAU being the second-biggest long shot at +5000.

Blake Peters, a sophomore guard from Princeton, celebrating an upset victory over Arizona in the opening round of the 2023 March Madness college basketball tournament at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA (Image: AP).

FAU, the #9 seed, will face #4 Tennessee on Thursday night in the East Regional at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Tennessee, with +1000 odds to win the championship, will go into the game without their best playmaker, Zakai Zeigler, who tore his ACL against Arkansas earlier in the month.

Princeton, the #15 seed, will meet #6 Creighton on Friday in the South Regional at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky; Creighton is +1600 odds to win March Madness.

Neither FAU nor Princeton have ever won the championship before, and they are hoping to make history as the biggest long shots to win March Madness during a year in which numerous top seeds were upset in the first two rounds.

Alabama and Houston are the only two remaining #1 seeds in the Sweet 16 and are the betting favorites to win the championship, with Alabama as the consensus favorite at +340 and Houston at +350. UCLA and Texas are the only #2 seeds that qualified for the Sweet 16; UCLA is +800 odds to win the title and Texas is +1000 odds.

#9 FAU (33-3) vs. #4 Tennessee (25-10)

Point Spread: Tennessee -5.5

Total: 129.5 o/u

Moneyline: FAU +195 / Tennessee -210

Tip-off: Thursday 6pm PT on TBS

The FAU Owls have a remarkable 33 wins this season, including an impressive 17-0 record on their home court in Boca Raton, Florida, and an 18-2 record in Conference USA. The Owls won the C-USA conference tournament to secure their March Madness berth, and are currently riding high on a nine-game winning streak. FAU’s only three losses were on the road, and they narrowly defeated #8 Memphis in the opening round, followed by a 78-70 victory over #16 Fairleigh Dickinson in the second round. The Owls run a four-out offense with four guards on the perimeter and a traditional center in the paint. Sophomore guard Johnell Davis is FAU’s leading scorer with 13.9 points per game, shooting 39% from 3-point range this season. He led all scorers with 29 points against FDU.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Vols had a shaky start in their tournament run, blowing a huge lead against #13 Louisiana in the opening round before eventually winning by three points. In the second round, Tennessee was able to dominate #5 Duke in a 13-point victory. Tennessee holds a decent ranking on two popular advanced metrics rating sites, KenPom and Torvik, being ranked #6 and #5 respectively. FAU is ranked #21 and #24 on the same sites.

#15 Princeton (23-8) vs. #6 Creighton (23-12)

Point Spread: Creighton -10

Total: 138.5 o/u

Moneyline: Princeton +410 / Creighton -510

Tip-off: Friday, 6pm PT on TBS

The Princeton Tigers earned an automatic bid representing the Ivy League, and earned a huge upset in the first round when they defeated #2 Arizona, a +16 underdog, by four points. Princeton kept their Cinderella run going with another stunning victory, this time against #7 Missouri in the second round, an +6.5 underdog, with a 15-point triumph. Senior guard Ryan Langborg led all scorers with 22 points for Princeton, and sophomore guard Blake Peters added 17 points off the bench with five 3-pointers. The Tigers are anchored by senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan, the team’s leading scorer with 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. He scored 15 points in the first round to be the only player to reach double digits in scoring in the upset over Arizona.

Creighton secured their spot in the Sweet 16 with two easy victories, and they covered the spread in both games. The Blue Jays defeated #11 North Carolina State by nine points in the opening round, and beat #3 Baylor by nine