More than 25 Canadians ready to play in March Madness

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More than 25 Canadians ready to play in March Madness

Hope everyone is ready to fill out their brackets!

That’s right, it’s March Madness! The one month of the year where everyone suddenly becomes a college basketball junkie. You can see this year’s full bracket here.

While the tournament is played annually in the US, the basketball world has begun to take note of Canada’s recent uprising.


 With the last two first-overall draft picks in the NBA Draft (Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett), as well as several other picks, coming from Canada and the sudden explosion of support for the Toronto Raptors, all of a sudden Canada has some basketball talent to be proud of.
Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins’ Kansas Jayhawks were ousted in the round of 32 last year. (Photo: Canadian Press)

While there is no superstar Canadian like Andrew Wiggins in this year’s March Madness tournament, there are still a number of Canucks who could find themselves as NCAA national champions come early April. More than 25 Canadians could eventually see action by the end of this year’s tournament, and several of them happen to be on favourites and high-ranked teams.

Power forward Trey Lyles, of Saskatoon, has been a key contributor for the unbeaten Kentucky Wildcats. The freshman has averaged 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season for the top-ranked team in the nation and biggest favourite to win this year’s tournament.

Trey Lyles is one of the biggest Canadian names to watch for this year. (Photo: Canadian Press)

Trey Lyles is one of the biggest Canadian names to watch for this year. (Photo: Canadian Press)

Junior guard Dylan Ennis, who helped the Villanova Wildcats to a No.1 seed, is the younger brother of NBA rookie Tyler Ennis. Tyler played for Syracuse in last year’s tournament before being selected 18th overall in the draft. Dylan scored 16 points to lead the Wildcats to the Big East title, which was their 15th win in a row. Dylan will be hoping to push his team farther than his brother did, as Syracuse was ousted by underdog Dayton in the round of 32 last year.

Dylan Ennis will be looking to help Villanova become national champions. (Photo: Canadian Press)

Dylan Ennis will be looking to help Villanova become national champions. (Photo: Canadian Press)

Senior point guard Kenny Chery will be looking to push three-seed Baylor out of the West region. The Montrealer played a team-high 32.1 minutes for the Bears, while averaging 11.4 points per game. In a story written by USA Today during last year’s tournament, Baylor head coach Scott Drew called Chery “a significant piece of our team”. Drew continued, saying “He’s got a great presence about him. He is a calming presence with the ball in his hands”.

Kenny Chery will look to led the Baylor Bears to the sweet sixteen last year.

Kenny Chery will look to led the Baylor Bears to the sweet sixteen last year. (Photo: Canadian Press)

The Gonzaga Bulldogs, who will be the second seed in the South region, have a trio of Canadians on their team. Veteran starting point guard Kevin Pangos, who was recently named WCC Player of the Year, is joined by this year’s WCC Newcomer of the Year Kyle Wiltjer as well as freshman Dustin Triano. Dustin is the son of Canadian national men’s team head coach and three-time Olympian Jay Triano.

Kyle Wiltjer led Gonzaga in scoring this season, averaging 16.7 points per game. (Photo: Canadian Press)

Kyle Wiltjer led Gonzaga in scoring this season, averaging 16.7 points per game. (Photo: Canadian Press)

The New Mexico State Aggies have the most Canadians on their squad, with four ready to play and one who will miss the tournament with an injury. Aggies centre Tanveer Bhullar, who towers at 7-foot-3, is the younger brother of Sim Bhullar, listed at 7-foot-5, played for the Aggies last year. Sim signed with the Sacramento Kings last summer, becoming the first player of Indian decent to sign with an NBA team.

Tanveer Bhular, left, looks to block a shot by brother Sim in warmup.

Tanveer Bhular, left, looks to block a shot by brother Sim in warmup. (Photo: Canadian Press)

In total, six different provinces will have representation this year (from East to West): Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Ontario leads the way with 16 players calling the province home.

Hopefully this preview has provided you with a few teams to cheer for during the Madness over the next few weeks. Every game of this year’s tournament will be broadcast live on TSN.

Here is the full list of the Canadian content in this year’s tournament, laid out by region:

EAST REGION

Villanova (#1): Dylan Ennis – G

Virginia (#2): Marial Shayok – F

Oklahoma (#3): Dinjiyl Walker – G

Providence (#6): Junior Lomomba – F

Dayton (#11 play-in): Dyshawn Pierre – F

Albany (#14): Richard Peters – C

Lafayette (#16): Jake Newman – G

WEST REGION

Baylor (#3): Kenny Chery – G

Oregon (#8): Dillon Brooks – F

Harvard (#13): Chris Egi – F, Agunwa Okolie – F, Patrick Steeves – F (currently injured)

MIDWEST REGION

Kentucky (#1): Trey Lyles – F

Buffalo (#12): Jarryn Skeete – G, Rodell Wigginton – F

Valparaiso (#13): Max Joseph – G, Tevonn Walker – G

New Mexico State (#15): Tanveer Bhullar – C, Rashawn Browne – G, Daniel Mullings – G, Jalyn Pennie – F, Matt Taylor – F

SOUTH REGION

Gonzaga (#2): Kevin Pangos – G, Dustin Triano – G, Kyle Wiltjer – F

Iowa State (#3): Naz Long – G

Utah (#5): Dallin Bachynski – C

San Diego State (#8): Kevin Zabo

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