The Final Four is guaranteed to get one team few people expected.
No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic will face No. 3 Kansas State on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in the Elite 8. The winner will see their improbable March Madness run continue all the way to Houston next week.
FAU (34-3, 18-2 in Conference USA) had never won an NCAA Tournament game before last week, when they outlasted Memphis and then took down the Cinderella No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson. Coach Dusty May kept the Owls flying with a second-half rally to upset No. 4 Tennessee. Sophomore guard Johnell Davis has led the 3-point-heavy offense.
K-State (26-9, 11-7 in Big 12) was picked to finish last in the conference before the season, but coach Jerome Tang has turned the Wildcats into one of the most exciting teams in college basketball. They beat Montana State and Kentucky before winning perhaps the game of the tournament, a 98-93 overtime thriller vs. Michigan State. Point guard Markquis Nowell put up an NCAA Tournament-record 19 assists on an injured ankle, none more exciting than his alley-oop to former Florida Gators star Keyontae Johnson.
Live updates:The latest from Florida Atlantic vs. Kansas State
Florida Atlantic in the spotlight:FAU's Cinderella March Madness run will pay big dividends off the court for the Boca Raton school
Who will move on to the Final Four? Here's a look at what NCAA basketball experts think:
Seth Davis, The Athletic: Kansas State
"The only lingering question ... is the condition of (Markquis) Nowell’s wheel. That’s not going to be a problem for the simple reason that he is a superhero. And while the Garden is one of the few stages commensurate with Nowell’s prodigious talents, an even bigger stage awaits in Houston. That’s where Nowell and his teammates are going to end their season."
Larry Rupp, FanDuel: Kansas State 76-72
"The Owls are vulnerable when it comes to defending the rim as they average a dismal 2.6 blocks per game (No. 259 in NCAA) and allow 8.1 opponent offensive rebounds per game (No. 153 in NCAA). Kansas State is firing on all cylinders right now and has the size to punch a ticket to the Final Four."
Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle: Kansas State
"This is a good matchup for the Wildcats because it will be hard for Owls to turn them over. If Markquis Nowell is at, or near, 100% health on Saturday the Wildcats will deserve to be favorites in the Elite Eight."
Pete Fiutak, College Football News: Kansas State
"Tennessee had no one who could step up and − to go full Troy Aikman − make a play. That's what Nowell is for.
"Florida Atlantic is all over the place. It swarms, it looks like it has six guys going after every rebound, and it can really, really hit the three. ... Florida Atlantic won't ever go away in this, but ... Kansas State will once again barrel through as long as Nowell's ankle is okay."
FiveThirtyEight: Toss up
FiveThirtyEight's data modeling gives both Florida Atlantic and Kansas State a 50% chance to win. As of Saturday afternoon, it did give the Wildcats a 7% to win the national championship against 6% for the Owls.
Action Network: Florida Atlantic
As of Saturday afternoon, all nine expert pickers on sports betting site Action Network picked the Owls against the spread or the money line.
Dimers.com: Kansas State 74-71
Dimers.com ran more than 10,000 simulations of FAU vs. Kansas State, wrote Kevin Hansen. Its leading analytics model, DimersBOT, gave the Wildcats a 57% chance to win.
What's the latest betting line for Kansas State vs. Florida Atlantic basketball?
Kansas State is a 1.5-point favorite over FAU, according to Tipico, the oddsmaker for USA TODAY. The over-under is 144.5 points.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: FAU vs. Kansas State predictions: Experts pick March Madness game