The first game in the Elite Eight in the 2023 NCAA Tournament looks to be a good one as No. 3 seed Kansas State and No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic meet inside Madison Square Garden in the East Regional final with a berth to the Final Four on the line. Regardless of outcome, we're guaranteed a first-time ticket-puncher to the Final Four since the field expanded in 1985.
Both teams are as feel-good stories as feel-good stories come for March Madness. FAU had not won an NCAA Tournament game (!) before this season, but is now on the precipice of winning a title as a 9 seed. Kansas State, picked to finish last in the Big 12 in the preseason, is powered by the 5-foot-8 engine that could in Markquis Nowell -- the New York native who stole the show in the Sweet 16. Their respective runs are what makes March so special every year, and the drama of the tournament is sure to deliver again as we finish off the second weekend.
Following along with the Kansas State vs. FAU live blog as the Wildcats and Owls clash for a Final Four berth.
Watch Kansas State vs. FAU in Elite Eight
Date: Saturday, March 25 | Time: 6:09 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden -- New York City
TV: TBS | Live stream: March Madness Live
Kansas State vs. FAU: What to Know
Back on Thursday in the Sweet 16, Kansas State overcame quite the challenge to oust Michigan State and advance as the Wildcats came away with a dramatic 98-93 victory in overtime. It was another big night for Nowell, who dropped a double-double on 20 points and 19 assists -- an NCAA Tournament record in one game -- in addition to five steals. The win marked three games in a row in which Nowell has had at least three steals.
Meanwhile, FAU earned even more respect from the nation as the Owls upset Tennessee 62-55. FAU guard Johnell Davis (15 points) was the top scorer for the Owls in the win. Both teams having displayed their postseason mettle, so you should expect a high-quality matchup.
Kansas State vs. FAU prediction
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
FAU's a better team than its seed reflects, but here's the kicker: Kansas State's a better team than its seed reflects, too. The Jerome Tang-coached Wildcats can go deep into their bench and have the two best players -- by miles -- in this game: Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson. If Nowell is able to play unencumbered after the second-half ankle injury he picked up vs. Michigan State -- likely given how well he played in the second half and overtime Thursday -- I'm comfortable taking the better team here and laying the low number. Pick: Kansas State -2