Xavier and Kansas State Advance to the Sweet 16

Dick Cox

March 22, 2023 at 2:11 pm.

The Kentucky Wildcats’ season of underachievement came to an end Sunday in the second round of the Greensboro regional with 75-69 loss to Kansas State. The Bluegrass Wildcats’ season had more ups and downs than a Duncan Yo-Yo.

Marquis Nowell scored 23 of his 27 points after halftime, and Kansas State overcame a horrid start from outside by hitting timely three-point shots and making free throws down the stretch leading to the. Kansas State missed its first 13 3-pointers and sat at two for 17 shooting threes before the outside shots started falling.

With the win, Kansas State advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, where the Wildcats will play Michigan State. Kentucky, meanwhile, was eliminated in the second round. John Calipari hasn’t led Kentucky deeper than the second round in the NCAA Tournament since 2019.

Nowell had 17 points and 14 assists and Kansas State held off 14th-seeded Montana State, 77-6, Friday night for its first NCAA Tournament win since knocking off Kentucky in 2018 to reach the Elite Eight.

Kentucky won their first round game with 61- 53 win over the Providence Friars. Oscar Tshiebwe pulled down 25 rebounds and Antonio Reeves scored 22 points, helping to earn the Friday night victory.

No. 3 seed Xavier beat 11th-seeded Pittsburgh, 84-73, on Sunday to advance to the NCAA Tournament’s second week for the first time since 2017. Jack Nunge scored 18 points; Adam Kunkel added 15 on five first-half 3-pointers. It was the second consecutive game in which Nunge came up big for Xavier. The 7-foot center had a critical blocked shot in the closing seconds of the Musketeers’ 72-67 first-round win over 14th-seeded Kennesaw State.

The Musketeers entered the game leading the country in assists per game (19.2) and had 17 on 19 baskets in the first half to build a 48-34 lead at the break. The X Men finished with 22 assists.

Xavier dug out of a 13-point hole against surprising Kennesaw State to escape with a 72-67 victory in Friday’s first round.

Xavier (27-9) moves on to play No. 2 seed Texas on Friday in the Midwest Region semifinals in Kansas City, Missouri.

No. 11 seed Pittsburgh held sixth-seeded Iowa State to 23 percent  shooting in a 59-41 victory in the first round on Friday. Nelly Cummings scored 13 points to lead Pittsburgh.

(227) NCAA Men’s Tournament Coaches Corner: Greensboro Regional – YouTube