The No. 9 Florida Atlantic Owls will meet the No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats 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 FAU vs. K-State
Get into an offensive rhythm early
FAU was able to successfully orchestrate a second-half comeback to clip Tennessee in the Sweet 16 on Thursday. The comeback was needed considering that it struggled offensively to start the game.
The Owls put up just 22 points in the first half and was able to finally get into a rhythm as the game wore on following halftime. They also benefitted from Volunteers shooting poorly from the field themselves and quickly put them in a hole. FAU cannot afford to play catch up against a fast paced team like Kansas State, so the more points it can put on the board early, the better equipped it will be to stand for the long haul.
Hold Kansas State to under 50% shooting
K-State has been excellent from the field in the tournament, shooting 54.2% from the field. That has allowed them to outlast their three opponents in games that were tight at certain points.
According to KenPom, the Owls are holding opponents to 45.7 in effective field goal percentage and they will have to step up and match their season average to have a shot at slowing down the Wildcats.
Get points off turnovers
FAU is a middle of the road team in forcing turnovers and is averaging just 12.3 points off turnovers per game. However, there is an opportunity here for it to steal a few possessions.
Kansas State can be reckless on offense at times and has a turnover rate of 19.4%. Guards Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin are both averaging about a steal a game and if they can swipe a few more and turn them into points the other way, they could flip this game on its head.