A few hundred students and fans turned out on Sunday at the Kennesaw State Convocation Center for the Selection Sunday View Party to find out where and who their beloved Owls would play in the coming days.
The Owls were awarded a No. 14 seed in the Midwest Region, and will face 3-seed Xavier on Friday, Mar. 17 in the first round of the 2023 Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships in Greensboro, N.C., at the Greensboro Coliseum. The game will tip-off at 12:40 p.m. on truTV, with the veteran broadcast team of Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel and Evan Washburn providing the call.
The Owls earned an automatic bid to this year’s NCAA Tournament after claiming their first-ever ASUN Tournament title thanks to a 67-66 victory over Liberty in the championship game on March 5 in Kennesaw. It’s been a historic and storybook season for Kennesaw State, who became the fastest team in NCAA history to reach the tournament after a one-win season, accomplishing the feat in just three years after a 1-28 record in the 2019-20 season.
It’s been a great story, the Owls never had a winning record in their Division I history (since 2005-06) before this season and shattered the previous school record of 14 wins as KSU currently stands at 26-8 overall. That includes a school-record 15-3 mark in ASUN Conference play, which earned them a share of the conference regular season title.
“I’m really pleased with a 14-seed, and I like our draw,” KSU fourth-year head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim said. “I’m elated for our university and to now have that visibility on a national stage from now up until Friday and beyond that – now they’ll know Kennesaw State University.”
No. 3 Xavier is making its 29th appearance in the tournament and first since 2018. The Musketeers earned their spot in the tournament after a 25-9 season with wins over UConn and Marquette. The three-seed fell to Marquette 65-51 in the Big East Championship Game Sunday. This marks their third time as a No. 3 seed in the tournament (2003 and 2008).
Friday’s Round of 64 contest marks the first meeting between the Owls and Musketeers.
Kennesaw State will be playing in the Greensboro Coliseum for the first time in program history. Of the nine teams playing in Greensboro in the first and second rounds, which includes the two potential play-in 11-seeds, the Owls have the shortest travel distance at just over 340 miles.
The Owls are 0-6 all-time against teams from the Big East, having only played Butler and Creighton. KSU’s last game against the conference was a closer than the final score 51-44 loss at Creighton on Nov. 11, 2021, which concluded a four-game series with the Bluejays.
For KSU fans interested in purchasing tickets, they can visit the official NCAA March Madness ticket site at https://www.ncaatickets.com.