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Free NCAA Pick Friday

#750 Florida Atlantic +8.5 over Georgia Southern 4:00 PM CT (@Bahamas) 

Florida Atlantic finished just 12-19 last season going only 6-12 in Conference USA though they did play most of the top teams in the conference tough. This was one of the worst shooting teams in the nation last season but the roster has turned over substantially for new head coach Dusty May. Two freshmen have earned starting roles but Mississippi State transfer Xavian Stapleton has been the big addition to key instant improvement for the Owls.

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Florida Atlantic is 2-0 this season and Sunday’s win over UCF was a notable result with an 80-79 win in Orlando. The offensive numbers are improved and this could be a team that makes a bit of noise in Conference USA and in this Bahamas tournament. Georgia Southern plays very quickly but has struggled defensively, allowing very strong outside shooting numbers in a 2-0 start to the season. The Eagles have been a bad free throw shooting team despite the many opportunities at the line and in Statesboro on Tuesday Georgia Southern struggled to pull away from George Mason in a high-scoring win.

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The turnaround to a Friday game in the Bahamas makes for a daunting scheduling spot as well to give an advantage to the Owls. The Eagles have three returning senior starters but also lost four senior contributors from last season’s 21-12 squad for Mark Byington. FAU should have a significant size edge in this game with three 6’7” starters vs. a Georgia Southern team that plays one of the smallest lineups in the country. The win over UCF doesn’t look like a fluke as Florida Atlantic should be considered an improved team that is a threat for an upset in this afternoon Showcase game.

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