Kansas State's NCAA Tournament ended on Saturday against Florida Atlantic. The Wildcats couldn't manage to get a shot off on the final play. Mar 25, 2023; New York, NY, USA; Kansas State Wildcats forward Ismael Massoud (25) reacts as the buzzer sounds on their 79-76 loss to the Florida Atlantic Owls in an NCAA tournament East Regional final at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Atlantic continued its improbable run through the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, defeating Kansas State in the East Regional Final to make the Final Four.

The Owls were money from the free-throw line in the game’s final seconds, with Michael Forrest nailing four free throws at the end of the game. But even with those free throws, the Wildcats had a chance to tie.

With 6.9 seconds, they inbounded the ball trailing by only three points. But Markquis Nowell could not keep his magic going. Nowell dribbled the ball up the court with seemingly little to no urgency. Just after he crossed midcourt, Nowell was met by the Florida Atlantic defense. He passed the ball to Ismael Massoud, who took one dribble before the ball was knocked out of his hands.

The final buzzer sounded without the Wildcats mustering anything resembling a shot.

College basketball fans were left wondering what exactly the Wildcats were going for there.

Would a well-designed final play have changed the result? It would have been tough, for sure. Making a three-pointer with only a few seconds remaining is tough, especially when the opposing team knows that you need the three and isn’t bothering to defend anything inside the three-point line.

But the Wildcats couldn’t have done much worse. Even if Massoud had shot the ball immediately, it would have been a long, well-defended three. But to not even get that off is a particularly bitter end to an otherwise great March Madness run.

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