Gonzaga, FAU, Kansas State, UConn advance to men’s basketball Elite Eight
March 24 (UPI) — Florida Atlantic upset Tennessee, while Kansas State, UConn and Gonzaga also claimed victories to claim the first Elite Eight spots in the 2023 NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament.
FAU, a No. 9 seed, edged No. 4 Tennessee 62-55 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York. Sophomore guard Johnell Davis scored a game-high 15 points for the Owls.
The Owls, who lost in the first round in their only other NCAA tournament appearance (2002), will face the No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday for a spot in the Final Four.
“It sounds just right,” freshman guard Nick Boyd told reporters. “We are where we are supposed to be. We are going to keep moving and keep working. We are going to stay humble and hungry.
“Y’all can’t count us out no more. We are here to stay and we are going to keep fighting.”
The Wildcats beat the No. 7 Michigan State Spartans 98-93 on Thursday in New York. Wildcats senior guard Markquis Nowell totaled 20 points, 19 assists and three rebounds in that victory. The Wildcats made 55.9% of their shots and totaled just five turnovers in the win.
“It was a special day,” Nowell said. “I gotta give a lot of credit to my teammates for fighting through adversity when we were down. I can’t even explain how I’m feeling. I just know I’m blessed and I’m grateful.”
No. 4 UConn dominated No. 8 Arizona in another Sweet 16 game Thursday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins scored a game-high 24 points in the 88-65 victory.
The Huskies will meet the No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday in Las Vegas for a spot in the Final Four. The Bulldogs beat the No. 2 UCLA Bruins 79-76. Senior forward Drew Timme scored a game-high 36 points and totaled 13 rebounds and four assists for the Bulldogs.
Four more Sweet 16 games will be held Friday in Louisville, Ky., and Kansas City, Mo.
Alabama, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, will battle No. 5 San Diego State at 6:30 p.m. EDT on TBS. No. 1 Houston will face No. 5 Miami at 7:15 p.m. on CBS. No. 6 Creighton will take on No. 15 Princeton at 9 p.m. on TBS. No. 2 Texas will meet No. 3 Xavier at 9:45 p.m. on CBS.