Jerome Tang didn’t need to walk across to the other side of Madison Square Garden to congratulate Florida Atlantic on making it to the Final Four. That’s just the kind of person the first-year Kansas State coach is.

Following the Owls’ 79-76 win over the Wildcats Saturday night in the Elite 8, Tang made sure to reach out to Dusty May’s squad before their departure for Houston. Giving them words of advice, Tang also told FAU players that while K-State might play in the Big 12, this roster was the best the program faced all season.

“Your toughness, your togetherness, your ability to make plays for each other, the way you communicate with each other, nobody can beat ya’ll,” Tang told FAU. “So just stay together, don’t get distracted between now and then. Stay locked in, keep doing what you’re doing. Ya’ll are the toughest son of a guns we played all year long. Just proud of ya’ll and going to be rooting for you.”

It’s an old-school move, but Tang is an old-school coach. He spent nearly 2 decades in Waco, working with Scott Drew to build Baylor into one of the nation’s top programs. As an assistant, his job was to rally the troops and keep morale high.

New team, same coach.

The Owls, who now head to the Final Four for the first time in program history, might not need much more outside praise, but the notion was likely greeted with warm regards.