Ladies and gentlemen the madness is about to begin.
While most of you probably had trouble sleeping last night, and woke up with your heads in a daze, we here at NPH have taken it upon ourselves to help you plan your tournament viewing.
Let us be the guide to ensure that you get the most Canadian content as possible. In this year’s field of 64, there are now 28 Canucks playing in the big dance.
Thursday tips off with 16 games on the schedule featuring a couple Canadians to root for.
#11 Bucknell vs. #6 Butler 12:40 p.m.
CanCon: Bryson Johnson 11.1 pts. 2.7 rebs 2.4 ast
The sharp shooting senior out of Pictou N.S will try for the upset against a very solid Butler team in Thursday’s first game featuring a Canadian. Johnson broke the Patriot league record in career three pointer this past year, so the Bulldogs better get a hand in the face of number 12.
#9 Wichita State vs. #8 Pittsburgh 1:40 p.m.
CanCon: Nick Wiggins 5.2 pts 1.8 rebs, Chadrack Lufile
The Shockers feature the soon to be most famous Canadian brother in all of sports. Nick Wiggins, brother of high school phenom Andrew Wiggins will take the court on Thursday in hopes of extending his junior year. Chadrack Lufile out of Burlington also comes from a basketball family with brother Abednego (NPH Top25) and Meshack (Cape Breton).
#13 New Mexico State vs. # Saint Louis 2:10 p.m.
CanCon: Sim Bhullar 10.2 pts 6.5 rebs, Renaldo Dixon 5.7 pts 3.9 rebs, Daniel Mullings 14.5 pts, 5.2 rebs 2.6 ast, Tyrone Watson 10.8 pts, 5.1 rebs, 3.0 ast
Grandy Glaze 3.2 pts, 2.7 rbs
If you were looking for an underdog team to cheer for, with a tonne of Canadians then look no further than the New Mexico State Aggies. The Aggies have four Canadians on their roster and with big Sim Bhullar in the middle and playing really well as of late, they may be that Cinderella team everyone one always looks for.
For Saint Louis, Brampton’s Glaze has proven to be a solid contributor when given the necessary minutes.He may get his chance during the madness.
#14 Davidson vs. #3 Marquette 3:10 p.m.
CanCon: Junior Cadougan 8.7 pts 2.9 rebs 4.1 ast, Nik Cochran 9.8 pts 2.3 rebs 3.4 ast
Steph Curry and Dwyane Wade’s old teams will do battle in the first round. Meaning Toronto’s Junior Cadougan’s Golden Eagles and Vancouver’s Nik Cochran’s Davidson Wildcats will face off on Thursday. This may be one of Thursday’s better games. The possibility of an upset here looms large.
#16 Southern vs. #1 Gonzaga 4:10 p.m.
CanCon: Kevin Pangos 11.5 pts, 2.7 rebs, 3.2 ast, Kelly Olynyk 17.5 pts 7.2 rebs 1.7 ast
The number one ranked team in the polls going into the tournament will be in action on Thursday as well. The Zags will be out to prove to the nation that their 31-2 record was for real, and Pangos and Olynyk will be main keys to their success.
#13 South Dakota State vs. #4 Michigan 7:15 p.m.
CanCon: Nik Stauskas 11.5 pts 3.2 rebs 1.2 ast
The Wolverines at one point looked like a team destined for a final four berth. They received a four seed in the tournament and will now have a tough road to Atlanta, but with the elite guard skills of Trey Burke, outside shooting of Nik Stauskas, and a lot of young talent they could regain their form which gave them the number spot in the polls earlier this year.
#12 California #5 UNLV 7:27 p.m.
CanCon: Anthony Bennett 16.1 pts 8.1 rebs, Khem Birch 7.2 pts 5.7 rebs
One of the potential first overall picks in this year’s draft in Anthony Bennett takes the floor on Thursday to try and lead his Runnin’ Rebels to the Final Four. A lot of eyes will be on Bennett as draft scouts have sung his praise all season long.
#9 Missouri vs. #8 Colorado State 9:20 p.m.
CanCon: Joe De Ciman 1.0 pts 0.4 rebs 0.2 ast, Stefan Jankovic 3.2 pts 1.5 rebs 0.4 ast, Negus Webster-Chan 2.5 pts 2.0 rebs
The nine, eight match in the Midwest region has three more Canadians on rosters. All three are freshman, and will be salivating at the chance of making a contribution to a victory.
#14 Harvard vs. #3 New Mexico 9:50 p.m.
CanCon: Agunwa Okolie 1.7 pts 1.1 rebs, Laurent Rivard 10.4 pts 3.7 rebs, Patrick Steeves
If you haven’t passed out from all the basketball you’ve taken in all day, there’s a couple more Canadians in this match that will take the floor. Harvard will try and upset everyone’s most “underrated team” in the tournament.
#13 Montana vs. #4 Syracuse 9:57 p.m.
CanCon: Noel Jones 0.3 pts, 1.0 rebs
The last game of the night to tip also has some Canadian flavour on the roster. The Orangemen’s Noel Jones a junior out of Halifax, NS.