The 2023 NCAA Tournament tips off this week with a pair of play-in games on Tuesday and it will be the start of what is expected to be an extended run for a few Bradley Beal Elite alumni.
Tuesday’s first play-in game features one of the five BBE alums, as Phillip Russell leads a potential Cinderella, the Southeast Missouri State (SEMO) Redhawks against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. SEMO is a surprise entrant in March Madness after a run from the 5 seed to the Ohio Valley Conference title. Phillip was front and center in that run, averaging 18 points per game in the OVC tourney, including 21 in the Final.
At least three more BBE alums will be in action as the tournament tips off in earnest on Thursday.
Thursday afternoon, Brandon Miller leads No. 1 overall seed Alabama into the tournament in a game that could potentially feature a showdown between BBE alums as the Crimson Tide will face the winner of the game between SEMO and TAMCC.
Brandon Miller was recently named the SEC Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year after averaging 19.6 points per game across the regular season and SEC Tournament. He is on the short list of frontrunners for Player of the Year and First Team All NCAA and is expected to be one of the stars of the tourney.
Another SEC star in action on Thursday will be Nick Smith Jr. of Arkansas. The star freshman has battled injuries for much of his first college season, but is playing his best of late. He scored at least 24 points in three of his final four regular season games, then averaged 15 points per game during the Razorbacks’ SEC Tournament run. He’ll look to keep it going in the dance as eighth-seeded Arkansas battles ninth-seeded Illinois.
Thursday’s action will also feature a battle between fifth-seeded Duke and 12 seed Oral Roberts, where Duke senior Kale Catchings will aim to finish college career on a high note. Kale has played in nine games for the Blue Devils this season, in a reserve role.
The last of the BBE alums to hit the floor will be Virginia Commonwealth’s Nick Kern Jr., who will look to help push No. 12 seed VCU to an upset over No. 5 seed Saint Mary’s. Nick has played in all 34 games for VCU this season as a sophomore, including 18 starts, averaging 5.3 points per game. He is expected to start for VCU in the tournament opener.
Bradley Beal Elite is excited to see these five alums in action and hoping for deep tournament runs for each of them.