2023 NCAA Tournament: Predictions for the Elite 8 matchups
With eight teams left in the Madness, let’s predict who will move past the Elite 8 and punch a ticket to the Final Four in Houston, Texas.
2023 NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Predictions
Kansas State vs. Florida Atlantic
My oh my, did you watch the show that Markquis Nowell put on, on Broadway?
Kansas State and Michigan State came down to the wire in Madison Square Garden on Thursday, in the Sweet 16.
Ending the second half tied at 82 apiece, the Wildcats and Spartans went to overtime where Kansas State eventually pulled away, winning 98-93.
Nowell was going into Thursday’s game confident as could be after dropping 27 points on the Kentucky Wildcats in the Round of 32.
Nowell, from Harlem, N.Y., put his state on lockdown as he erupted, scoring 20 points, dealing 19 assists, and grabbing 3 rebounds against the Spartans.
Florida transfer, Keyontae Johnson, led the Wildcats in points with 22.
The music continues to play for Kansas State’s tournament dance but they have a tough challenge to overcome next.
The Florida Atlantic Owls have been overlooked all season.
Finishing the regular season 25-3 and winning the Conference USA Championship, FAU was only given the No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Owls seem to not be bothered though as they have been keeping quiet and going to work.
After beating No. 8 Memphis in the Round of 64 and No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson in the Round of 32, the Owls were faced with arguably its greatest challenge yet, the Tennessee Volunteers.
After being down 27-22 at halftime in Las Vegas, Nev., the Owls dug deep and pulled out a gritty comeback win.
Johnell Davis led Florida Atlantic in points for the second straight game with 15.
I believe this game will be the best out of the Elite 8 games.
The red-hot Kansas State Wildcats face the red-hot Florida Atlantic Owls, yet only one will move on, and to me, it looks like Kansas State will.
Due to how Markquis Nowell has been dominating and how Keyontae Johnson has been playing as well, I am taking Kansas State 86-81.
UConn vs. Gonzaga
The No. 4 seeded UConn Huskies soared past the Arkansas Razorbacks on Thursday night, earning a spot in the Elite 8.
Sophomore Jordan Hawkins led UConn in points, dropping 24.
The Huskies beat No. 13 Iona, No. 5 Saint Mary’s, and now No. 8 Arkansas in this year’s tournament, and they did so very comfortably winning each game by at least 15 points.
The Huskies will be greeted by the No. 3 seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Gonzaga pulled off the upset over No. 2 UCLA on Thursday after Julian Strawther hit a three-pointer with seven seconds to go in the game.
The three-pointer put the Bulldogs up by two and after some fouling occurred at the end, Strawther made his free throw from the charity stripe resulting in a 79-76 final.
In recent years, Gonzaga has been better than a No. 3 seed and they had no success in the big dance.
Now, as a No. 3 seed, they have the chance to beat UConn and advance to the Final Four.
However, I do not think that will happen and I am taking UConn 85-79.
Creighton vs. San Diego State
After crushing the Princeton Tigers Cinderella dream, Creighton is now faced with the San Diego State Aztecs.
No. 6 seeded Creighton beat the No. 15 seeded Princeton Tigers 86-75 on Friday night in Louisville, Ky, and advanced to its first Elite 8 since 1941.
Creighton big man Ryan Kalkbrenner did his thing, dropping 22 points and grabbing five boards.
San Diego State is a No. 5 seed and coming off of taking down the heavily favored Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sweet 16.
Darrion Trammell, who is averaging 9.8 points per game for the Aztecs, dropped 21 on the Crimson Tide, helping San Diego State punch its first-ever ticket to the Elite 8.
Both teams are hot right now and are similar in many ways.
The No. 5 seed against the No. 6 seed, I am going with No. 6 Creighton in this game, 82-79.
Miami vs. Texas
Oh boy, this is going to be a game for the ages.
The No. 5 seeded Miami Hurricanes and No. 2 seeded Texas Longhorns in Kansas City, Mo.
Miami beat No. 12 Drake, No. 4 Indiana, and No. 1 Houston on its path to the Elite 8 and have played with much heart as they have been overlooked by most in this tournament.
The Hurricanes are coming off knocking out the Houston Cougars (33-4) on Friday night.
Nigel Pack was crucial for the Hurricanes against Houston as he dropped 26 points on the Cougars and went 70% from behind the three-point arc.
Texas is coming into the game with much confidence as well as they recently dominated the No. 3 seeded Xavier Musketeers in the Sweet 16.
Tyrese Hunter scored 19 points in the win and set his team up for success while also grabbing two rebounds and helping with two assists.
Texas is looking really hot right now and they are playing loose, entertaining basketball.
Although Miami beat Houston, I am going with Texas in this game and I think it will be extremely close.
The Longhorns have my pick, 85-78.
The Longhorns just have that extra firepower in them and think they are going to end the Hurricanes’ dreams of winning its first-ever National Championship.