The No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats will meet the No. 9 Florida Atlantic Owls in the Elite Eight on Saturday to determine the winner of the East Region in the 2023 NCAA tournament. The game will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City and will tip at 6:09 p.m. ET on TBS.
Here’s a look at some of the keys for FAU to win this game and advance to the Final Four in Houston next weekend.
Keys to winning for K-State vs. FAU
Have Markquis Nowell continue to spread the wealth
Markquis Nowell had a legendary performance against Michigan State on Thursday, setting an NCAA Tournament game record with 19 assists in the overtime win.
He is averaging 21.3 points and 14 assists during the tournament and his facilitating has been a huge factor for K-State’s success. He keeps setting his teammates up with dimes and the Wildcats will be in good shape.
Enter halftime with a healthy lead
The Wildcats have been strong out the gate in all three of their tournament games and in all three games, they’ve entered halftime with the advantage. They have rarely fallen into a funk where they’ve needed to play catch up and that has allowed them to maintain even in tight situations down the stretch.
If Kansas State can do something similar to what Tennessee did on Thursday and stifle the Owls in the first half, they’ll be in tremendous shape for the long haul.
Hold FAU to under 45% shooting
Despite its three wins, FAU hasn’t exactly been lights out from the field. The Owls are shooting just 40.3% on offense through the tournament and as the first half of Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup against the Vols proved, they can be prone to lapses.
That’s where K-State can take advantage as its ranked 27th in defensive adjusted efficiency and do a superb job at defending against the three. The Cats must make FAU work for scoring opportunities on the defensive end.