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Prediction for Kansas State-Florida Atlantic in Elite 8 of 2023 NCAA Tournament

Erik Buchinger takes you through what he thinks will happen and gives a score prediction for Kansas State-Florida Atlantic in the Elite Eight of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament East Regional-Florida Atlantic vs Tennessee Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Elite Eight will tip-off with a Saturday night matchup between the No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats and No. 9 Florida Atlantic Owls with a spot in the Final Four on the line. The game will get started at 6:09 p.m. ET from Madison Square Garden in New York City, and can be seen on TBS.

Let’s take a look at the matchup and make a prediction.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

No. 9 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 3 Kansas State
Spread: Kansas State -1.5
Total: 144.5
Moneyline: Kansas State -130, FAU +110

No. 9 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 3 Kansas State Prediction

When a No. 9 seed is just a win away from the Final Four, you’d assume it’s the underdog. Florida Atlantic fits that criteria, but oddsmakers suggest Saturday night’s contest could go either way with Kansas State checking in as just 2-point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook, setting up for a fantastic night of hoops.

The Owls’ game plan on offense is to shoot the 3-pointer as they will enter Saturday’s contest ranked 17th nationally in 3-point attempts per game (26.3). They make a high decent number of shots from long range as their 36.5% shooting on 3-pointers is 45th in the country. An interesting part of Florida Atlantic’s NCAA Tournament run is it hasn’t even shot the three ball well yet, falling below 30% from deep in all three games so far.

Kansas State has done well in defending the 3-ball all season as opponents are hitting just 30.5% from beyond the arc, which is 21st best in the country. However, the Wildcats are coming out of a game where they allowed the Michigan State Spartans to connect on 13-of-25 (52%) 3-pointers, and their Big 12 Tournament exit occurred when they allowed the TCU Horned Frogs to hit 11-of-25 (44%) threes.

The Wildcats like to go quick with a KenPom adjusted tempo that rates 43rd nationally and with more possessions come more opportunities for the Owls to get hot from deep. I think that finally happens in this run with Alijah Martin leading the way. He’s hitting 40% of 3-pointers in the six games since the regular season ended, and the Owls have plenty of shooters in the rotation unafraid to let it fly.

The Wildcats can play a little too fast at times as they rank 307th in turnovers per game (13.9), and their two top scorers Keyontae Johnson and Markquis Nowell both turn the ball over at least three times per contest. The Owls could have an edge in rebounding as their rebounding percentage (53.6%) is 24th nationally, so there’s a lot to like about the Owls getting themselves into the Final Four with a win on Saturday night.

Prediction: Florida Atlantic 75, Kansas State 71