Breaking down the East Region: What to expect for K-State

Kansas State forward Keyontae Johnson puts up a shot during the second half of an NCAA college...
Kansas State forward Keyontae Johnson puts up a shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Manhattan, Kan. Kansas State won 64-50. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(Charlie Riedel | AP)
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 12:09 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - For the first time since 2019, Kansas State is a part of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Wildcats were given a 3 seed in the East Region by the NCAA Selection Committee after accumulating a 23-9 record in their first season under Jerome Tang.

K-State was the third-ranked Big 12 team following regular season play, and was one of four Big 12 teams to receive a 3 seed or better in this year’s tournament.

Kansas State’s opening matchup and tournament route:

The Wildcats take on Big Sky champion Montana State on Friday in Greensboro, North Carolina. The game will tip-off at 8:40 p.m. CT on CBS.

If Kansas State can get past the Bobcats -- as 8.5 point favorites -- the Wildcats will play the winner of No. 6 Kentucky and No. 11 Providence.

Other Big 12 teams:

Kansas State was the lone Big 12 team in the East Region. Of seven bids from the conference, there were two in each other region and the Wildcats alone in the East.

Players to Watch:

  • Purdue center Zach Edey: Edey is the odds-on favorite to win every National Player of the Year award in college basketball this season. The 7-foot-4 center is averaging 22.1 points and 12.8 rebounds per game and helped lead Purdue to Big Ten regular season and tournament titles.
  • Marquette guard Tyler Kolek: Much like Kansas State was picked to finish poorly in the Big 12, so too, was Marquette. In the Big East preseason poll, the Golden Eagles were selected to finish ninth. With former Texas head coach Shaka Smart on their bench, MU won the Big East and Kolek took home the conference’s Player of the Year honors.
  • Kansas State guard Markquis Nowell: Nowell was top-three in the nation in assists all season long, setting a single season Kansas State record with 243 of them in 32 games.
  • Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe: Last season’s consensus National Player of the Year, Tshiebwe and Kentucky have unfinished business. As a 2 seed in last year’s tournament, the Wildcats were bounced by 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s. Now, they’ll get a chance to avenge that in the East.