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No. 3 Kansas State vs. No. 14 Montana State preview for March Madness First Round matchup

No. 3 Kansas State and No. 14 Montana State face off in the First Round of the 2023 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of the game and how to watch.

Kansas State Wildcats guard Markquis Nowell (1) is defended by TCU Horned Frogs guard Shahada Wells (13) during the second half at T-Mobile Center. William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 14th with the First Four, and then moves on to the First Round on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17. The No. 3 seed Kansas State Wildcats will face the No. 14 seed Montana State Bobcats on Friday, March 17.

Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the matchup.

Game date: Friday, March 17
Game time: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV channel: CBS
Location: Greensboro, NC

Odds: K-State -10

No. 3 Kansas State

Kansas State is among the most surprising teams in college basketball, having finished third in the loaded Big 12. The Wildcats registered four combined wins over Kansas, Texas, and Baylor — three of the nation’s preseason title favorites. While the Wildcats are not a very flashy group, K-State’s been successful behind a well-balanced scoring attack.

Forward Keyontae Johnson and guard Markquis Nowell are excellent scorers, providing good balance offensively. Nowell also changes games on defense, averaging 2.5 steals per game which is eighth-best in the country. If Nowell is at his best in the tournament, expect these Wildcats to give more talented teams a run for their money.

Record: 23-9, 11-7 Big 12

Coach: Jerome Tang

Qualifier: At-large

KenPom overall: 24

KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 52

KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 19

Pace: 40

PPP overall: 1.028

Leading scorer: Keyontae Johnson

NET: 23

Quad 1 record: 9-8

Against The Spread: 21-11-0

Over Total: 16-16-0

No. 14 Montana State

Montana State is going dancing, as the Bobcats defeated Northern Arizona 85-78 to win their second straight Big Sky championship. Prior to defeating Northern Arizona, the Bobcats defeated Weber State 60-58 in double overtime on a game-winning alley-oop finish from RaeQuan Battle.

Battle has led the way for the Bobcats all season, as he’s averaged 17.4 points per game. Forwards Jubrile Belo (13 PPG) and Great Osobor (10 PPG) provide some nice support offensively. Montana State enters the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country, as it has won eight in a row and 17 of its last 19.

Record: 23-9, 15-3 Big Sky

Coach: Danny Sprinkle

Qualifier: Automatic

KenPom overall: 110

KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 169

KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 71

Pace: 221

PPP overall: 1.030

Leading scorer: Raequan Battle

NET: 104

Quad 1 record: 0-2

Against The Spread: 19-11-2

Over Total: 14-18