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Aztecs, Owls headed towards showdown

What to expect from the first Semi-Final game

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Coaches Press Conference Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Atlantic & San Diego State game preview

The Owls come into Saturday evening's game as three-point underdogs against the Aztecs. The over/under is at 131.5. points. The anticipated score looks to be 67-64. Much has been written about the frenetic pace of play on the offense by the Owls and of the Aztecs smothering defense, capable of withholding oxygen from the best programs. The tickets are bought, the crowds are in town and the teams are finishing their last-minute strategies. One question nagging at many on the business side will be focused on the television audience and the overall viewership. According to The Atlantic, an ever-negative and pessimistic magazine, they say expect the men's ratings to tank. They cite the lack of a big name brand to carry the event. Other sports insiders say the Final Four is an event with any of the teams capable of winning. With the transfer portal and NIL, expect the norm to be more like what we see today. For comparison sakes, here are the viewerships for the last several tournaments:

2022: Kansas 72, North Carolina 69. 18.1 million viewers. TBS

2021: Baylor 86, Gonzaga 70. 17.08 million viewers. CBS

2020: Cancelled

2019: Virginia 85, Texas 77. 19.63 million viewers CBS

2018: Villanova 79, Michigan 62. 15.967 million viewers TBS

2017: North Carolina 71, Gonzaga 65. 22.998 million viewers CBS

It is highly doubtful the viewership will reach that of 2017, but expect it to lie somewhere between 17 and 18 million. Expect this trend of teams and viewership to continue.

Final Four location and broadcast

NRG Stadium, Houston Texas (capacity 72,220)

Saturday April 1

3:09 PM


This reporter will be posting pictures and comments from each San Diego State from his heavenly perch in section 607.

Florida Atlantic Owls

Hoo are the Owls? They are the menacing and terrifying mascot for Florida Atlantic. Located in Boca Raton Florida, it was established in 1961 and opened in 1964 by President Johnson. It is Florida’s 4th public university. The current enrollment is 35,000 students. They play in the Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena, a 2,900-seat complex, fondly called The Burrow.

Head Coach Dusty May has led the Owls to their most successful season in history, sporting a current 35-3 record. When asked to comment on the success of his team, he said, “In this era, where everyone wants the whole pie, these guys continued sharing the pie every single day” A strategy of fast-paced, up-tempo, nearly reckless style of play has enabled his players to focus on what they do best, and it certainly works to the betterment of the team.

The Owls are led by a mostly guard contingent of players with one big gun in the middle. Johnell Davis, a 6’4 sophomore averaged nearly 14 points on the year and consistently provides rebounding and assists. Next is Alijah Martin, 6’2 sophomore who averages 13 points per contest. Guards Nicholas Boyd, Michael Forrest, Bryan Greenlee, and Jalen Gaffney all are contributors by running the offense and providing scoring. The most intriguing is center Vladislav Goldin, a 7’1 sophomore from Russia. He contributes 10 points, and 6.6 rebounds per contest. He is obviously a challenge for most teams to be able to contain him in the paint. Expect the Owls to run and gun from outside and if they are hot from three, expect the defense to move out to defend. This will open up interior passes for easy shots in the paint for Goldin.

Aztec Notes

Expect the Aztecs to continue to use their depth of bench to pressure and wear down the Owls. The Aztecs rely on Matt Bradley, their leading scorer with 12.5 points per game, to carry the show, but if he is off, others have stepped up to carry the load. Micah Parrish, Darrion Trammell, and Lamont Butler are all capable as they’ve proven all year. The two keys for the Aztec defense will focus on reducing the open three-point attempts and not getting into foul trouble with Nathan Mensah or Jaedon Ledee. I expect Mensah to have a big game on defense, controlling Goldin and letting the rest of his mates wrangle up the other loose Owls. On offense, it should be another ground-and-pound, burn-the-clock type of game that will probably stay close throughout the contest. Expect an Aztec player to stand out on offense, much like Trammell did against Alabama. Expect the Owls to have cold spells scoring and struggle with consistency.

Prediction: San Diego State: 66, Florida Atlantic 59

Pulled from the Houston Chronicle was a full-page ad promoting Florida Atlantic: Student Success for All. In addition, “Mattress Mack” owner of Gallery Furniture has continued his promotions with an offer that if Florida Atlantic wins, your $5,000 purchase on select items is free. Mack has a history of pulling off strategic promotions around Houston teams and big sporting events. It seems that Houston has welcomed Florida Atlantic as their home team. When Florida Atlantics fans arrive, it will certainly be a parliamentary group. Time for Tip-Off!