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March Madness Returns To MSG With NCAA East Regional

credit: Jason Lam

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball East Regional returns to Madison Square Garden on March 23 and 25, marking the 19th time the NCAA Tournament will be held at The World’s Most Famous Arena. The teams competing in the 2023 NCAA East Regional at The Garden include Florida Atlantic University, Kansas State University, Michigan State University and University of Tennessee.  

“March Madness is one of the biggest sporting events of the year and there is no better place to host the NCAA East Regional than the ‘Mecca of Basketball,’” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, Marquee Events and Operations, Madison Square Garden Entertainment. “College basketball at Madison Square Garden dates back more than 80 years and since then, we’ve hosted thousands of games and countless memorable moments that have shaped the history of the sport. We’re thrilled that the 2023 NCAA East Regional Champion will be crowned on The Garden hardwood.”

The NCAA Tournament was first held at MSG in 1943 when the University of Wyoming beat Georgetown University at Garden III in the first of six consecutive NCAA Championships held at the venue. Since then, The Garden has hosted seven NCAA National Championship games, 11 East Regional Championships and an additional 77 Tournament games, ranking MSG second, second and fourth respectively all-time for arenas playing host to the NCAA Tournament. In that time, the venue has welcomed more than half a million college basketball fans for March Madness games specifically.

Since December 29, 1934, Madison Square Garden, known as the “Mecca of Basketball,” has hosted more than 3,000 college basketball games and countless memorable moments including: City College of New York beating Bradley twice in two weeks in 1950 to win both the NIT Tournament and NCAA Championship back-to-back; Oscar Robertson’s 56 points against Seton Hall in 1958; Bill Bradley’s 41 points against Cazzie Russell and University of Michigan in 1964; “The Sweater Game” featuring Louie Carnesecca and John Thompson in 1985; Syracuse University’s six-overtime thriller against UConn in 2009; and Coach K celebrating career victories 903, to becoming the winningest coach in college basketball, and 1000 in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

The 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball East Regional will feature:

No. 9 Florida Atlantic University (33-3) – Florida Atlantic University, making only their second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, captured their first victory when they beat No. 8 University of Memphis 66-65 in a tight first-round matchup. The Owls continued their ride to MSG with a competitive game against No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson University, beating the New Jersey school 78-70. Florida Atlantic University will make both their Sweet 16 and Madison Square Garden debut on March 23.

No. 3 Kansas State University (25-9) – Kansas State University beat Montana State University 77-65 in the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2019 before advancing to the second round to take on John Calipari and the No. 8 University of Kentucky Wildcats. Timely 3-point baskets by senior Keyontae Johnson and junior Ismael Massoud in the last 2:21 helped Kansas State take the lead over Kentucky 75-69 and advance to the East Regional for the 18th time in team history.

No. 7 Michigan State University (21-12) – In the first-round, head coach Tom Izzo led the Spartans to a 72-62 victory over No. 10 University of Southern California. The victory set up a match up against BIG EAST Tournament champions, Marquette University. Led by senior guard Tyson Walker’s game-high 23 points, the Michigan State University Spartans defeated the No. 2 Marquee University Golden Eagles 69-60 to advance to the East Regional for the 15th time under coach Izzo. Michigan State played in the 2014 East Regional at Madison Square Garden, which marked the first time The Garden had hosted the NCAA Tournament in 53 years. 

No 4 Tennessee (25-10) – University of Tennessee beat No. 13 University of Louisiana in a narrow first-round victory 58-55 to advance to the second round against Duke University. Senior forward Olivier Nkamhoua scored a career-high-tying 27 points to lead the Volunteers past the No. 5 Blue Devils 65-52 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the ninth time in program history.   

About Jerry Milani

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Jerry Milani is a writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and as a freelance professional. His PR clients have included Wizard World and FAN EXPO, which produce pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America, USA Wrestling, the National Lacrosse League, Strat-O-Matic Media, the Pacific Life Open and Pilot Pen Tennis tournaments and dozens of others. Milani is also the director of athletic communications for Caldwell University. He is a proud graduate of North Rockland High School and Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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