Kansas State vs FAU Betting Odds & Prediction | Our Top Elite 8 Pick

Kansas State vs FAU Betting Odds & Prediction | Our Top Elite 8 Pick article feature image

Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Kansas State Wildcats guard Keyontae Johnson.

Kansas State vs FAU Odds

Saturday, March 24
6:09 p.m. ET
Kansas State Odds
-110o / -110u
FAU Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Florida Atlantic University Owls: Final Four team.

Who would've thought that?

It seems impossible, but the Owls are only 40 minutes away from making it a reality. Does everyone remember when UAB was the favorite to run away with C-USA this season?

Unfortunately, standing in the Owls' way is the two-headed monster of Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson. And standing behind the two-headed monster is an elite Big 12 team and a Coach of the Year candidate.

The Owls are catching two. The fact this is a one-possession spread speaks volumes about how good the Owls are.

Kansas State Wildcats

Nowell might be the best pure passer I've ever seen in the college game. He sees everything on the floor and hits every angle, whether it's a bounce pass, pocket pass, behind-the-back, or whatever.

All 19 assists from Markquis Nowell pic.twitter.com/dJpx74wGlh

— ᗩᑎT ᗯᖇIGᕼT (@itsAntWright) March 24, 2023

I've continuously faded Kansas State in this tournament, thinking that someone's ball-screen coverage will finally get in front of the Nowell-Johnson tandem. Yet, I've lost money fading K-State because Nowell has shredded any ball-screen coverage put in front of him.

Nowell and Johnson are also happy to take any player one-on-one off the dribble, given both are high-level isolation scorers.

But the key to the two-headed offense is how every other player on the court cuts off Nowell and Johnson. The two require so much attention that defenses often lose sight of what's happening off-ball, and that's when the Wildcats burn you.

Kansas State cuts at the highest rate in the nation, per ShotQuality. Combine that with Nowell and Johnson's constant attack and the Wildcats' transition frequency, and Kansas State finishes at the rim at the third-highest rate nationally.

This offense will pressure the rim relentlessly, and the Wildcats will score in abundance.

The defense has its issues. The Wildcats are especially weak on the interior and struggle against ball screens, although neither should be a problem against FAU.

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Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic is here for three reasons.

First, the Owls are deep. The roster runs legit nine-deep.

Second, the Owls defend. They're 13th in eFG% allowed — including 11th in 2P% allowed — and pair it with rock-solid rebounding numbers.

Third, the Owls can shoot, averaging 9.6 3PM on 26.5 3PA per game (36.5%).

The Owls also share the ball beautifully on the offensive end, making it much easier for their shooters to get open looks.

The ball movement on this FAU three 😍🎯 pic.twitter.com/mFiyu3YWuS

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 24, 2023

Basically, this is a roster full of 3-and-D NBA guys.

That's an exaggeration. But it does somewhat encapsulate FAU's four-guard, four-out motion offense. The Owls run 7-foot-1 Vladislav Goldin at the five and then four guards shorter than 6-foot-4 on the perimeter, rotating the ball constantly while relying on the big man for boards and post-ups.

When the Owls fall into isolation sets, Johnell Davis takes over. The Owls' leading scorer has become a star this tournament, including a 29-point outing against FDU.

The Owls rarely aren't able to move the ball and find a shot, but Davis scores 1.05 PPP in isolation sets at above-average frequency. He can break down anybody off the dribble or pull up in your face.

Kansas State vs FAU Betting Pick

I'm going to go with a contrarian under here.

FAU loves to shoot 3s and Nowell and Johnson are dynamite, so obviously this game will be fireworks.

I'm not so sure. I think both teams will run directly into each other instead of finding strategic mismatches.

FAU grades out as an elite ball-screen defense, especially against the pick-and-roll. And given the Owls generally have four shifty-and-elite defenders on the floor, I'm betting they can defend K-State's screens straight up while effectively staying with off-ball cutters.

Conversely, the Owls aren't going to attack Kansas State's interior defense,  instead opting to run perimeter spot-up action, shooting like crazy. The Wildcats aren't a great defense, but they defend those sets relatively strongly.

The ShotQualityBets model projects this number closer to 141.5 than 144.5, showing some value on the under. I'm willing to take a shot with that since neither team seems to have a surefire offensive advantage.

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