EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The 68-team bracket for the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship was revealed on Sunday.
There will be no UTEP or New Mexico State participating in the tournament this year but there are some familiar faces that spent time in the Borderland that will be.
Texas earned the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region and will face No. 15 seed Colgate in the first round of the tournament. Former UTEP head coach Rodney Terry (2018-2021) has been the interim head coach for the Longhorns since December. Then head coach Chris Beard was fired by the university after he was arrested and charged with a third-degree felony for domestic violence.
Under Terry as acting head coach, Texas has gone 19-7, won the Big 12 Tournament, and head into the Big Dance with UT’s highest NCAA Tournament seed since 2008. That has led to Terry being named a semifinalist for 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year. The winner will be announced on Sunday, April 2 at the Naismith Awards Brunch presented by Frost Bank at the Final Four in Houston.
Former New Mexico State star Jabari Rice is the sixth man for the Terry-led Texas Longhorns. Rice is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 12.6 points per game in 24.2 minutes played per game. Rice earned the Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year Award. He was also named to the All-Big 12 Third Team and Big 12 All-Newcomer Team.
Texas and Colgate will face off on Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday, Mar. 16. Tipoff is set for 5:25 p.m. MT/6:25 p.m. CST. The game will air on TBS.
Joining Texas in the Midwest Region part of the bracket will be Xavier. The Musketeers earned the No. 3 seed and will play No. 14 seed Kennesaw State on Friday in the first round of the tournament. Xavier has been led by Souley Boum, former UTEP guard from 2019-2022, as he is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 16.5 points per game.
Xavier and Kennesaw play each other on Friday, Mar. 17 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. Tipoff is set for 10:40 a.m. MT. The game will air on TruTV.
Also in the Midwest Region, Mississippi State, the No. 11 seed, will square off with Pittsburgh in the NCAA Tournament First Four round on Tuesday. The Bulldogs are coached by Chris Jans, who was New Mexico State men’s basketball coach head coach from 2017-2022.
In year one of the Jans era, Mississippi State qualified for the NCAA Tournament. It’s the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2018-19 season when the program was under the direction of head coach Ben Howland.
Former New Mexico State forward Will McNair Jr. is also on this year’s Mississippi State squad. Former NMSU associate head coach James Miller joined Jans’ coaching staff for the 2022-23 season.
Mississippi State and Pittsburgh will meet in Tuesday’s NCAA First Four. Tip time is slated for 7:10 p.m. MT from the UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio. The game will be televised by TruTV and will be available online through Paramount Plus and the NCAA March Madness app.
The UConn men’s basketball team grabbed the No. 4 seed in the West Region and will play No. 13 seed Iona University on Friday. Burges High School graduate Tristen Newton has played a key role in the Huskies’ success this season. Newton, in his first year with the program, is the team’s third-leading scorer as he averages 10.2 point per game.
UConn and Iona University play each other on Friday, Mar. 17 at MVP Arena in Albany, N.Y. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. MT. The game will air on TBS.
Also in the West Region, Northwestern, the No. 7 seed, will play Boise State, the No. 10 seed, in the first round of the tournament. Former UTEP forward Tydus Verhoeven (2018-2022) is part of the Northwestern team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history.
Northwestern and Boise State will go toe-to-toe on Thursday, Mar. 16 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. Tipoff is set for 5:35 p.m. MT. The game will air on TruTv.
Former UTEP guard Keonte Kennedy (2019-2022) was one of Memphis’ top scorers in the 2022-23 season. Kennedy was the team’s third leading scorer at 9.2 points per game and was shooting 46.1 percent from the floor. Kennedy played 25 games for the Tigers before his season came to an end after undergoing successful surgery for a non-basketball injury he suffered last month. Following the Tigers’ game in Houston, Kennedy struck a wall out of frustration and broke his hand. The program is hopeful he will return in the postseason.