It’s been a memorable year for Canadians in the NCAA. The 2022-23 season began with 133 Canadians on 106 teams. After Selection Sunday, a total of twenty-six (26) Canadian players from twenty-one (21) schools have qualified for the 2023 March Madness men’s tournament.
Similar to the opening season trend, the overall number is slightly down from previous tournaments. A record 30 Canadians qualified for the tournament in 2022. The average trend has held steady in the mid-twenties over the past several years (2021, 2020, 2019, 2016, 2015).
Participation numbers aside, the overall theme is banner season or more specifically, conference championships. Eleven of the 21 schools featuring Canadians earned an automatic bid in to the tournament by winning their respective conference titles.
The Alabama Crimson Tide (29-5) highlighted by controversial All-American freshman guard Brandon Miller and Canadian seven-footer Charles Bediako (Brampton, Ont.) have been selected as the overall number one seed of the tournament.
All-American, seven-foot-four Zach Edey (Toronto, Ont.), and the Purdue Boilermakers (29-5) ran through the Big Ten, winning the regular season title and conference championship to secure their fourth (1988, 1994, 1996) number-one seed in school history. The Boilermakers will take on the winner of Texas Southern and Fairleigh Dickinson in their opening match-up in the East Region.
Big East tournament champions for the first time, the Marquette Golden Eagles (28-6), featuring Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Montreal, Que.) were announced as a number two seed in the East. The Golden Eagles will open-up the tournament against 15-seed Vermont Catamounts (23-10) and Canadian freshman guard T.J Hurley (Pelham, Ont.).
Following their Big 12 championship win, the Texas Longhorns (26-8) and all-time Canadian NCAA points and assists leader, Marcus Carr (Toronto, Ont.) were selected as a two seed in the Midwest region. The Longhorns will get a stiff opening test against Colgate.
The Colgate Red Raiders (26-8) have built themselves a dynasty with three straight Patriot league championships. The No.15 Red Raiders roster features two experienced Canadians in six-foot-nine Sam Thomson (Kitchener, Ont.) and six-foot-ten Malcolm Bailey (Stratford, Ont.).
The Princeton Tigers (21-8) secured an automatic entry into the tournament by doubling-up on both the regular season title and Ivy League championship. Freshman Xavier Lee (Toronto, Ont.) provided solid minutes (5.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1 assist, 14 minutes) throughout the season for the No. 15 Tigers.
Back in the March Madness tournament for the second straight year, the No. 6 Creighton Blue Jays (21-12) and a healthy Ryan Nembhard (Aurora, Ont.) are looking to make some noise in the South Region. The Canadian point guard was forced to miss the 2022 NCAA tournament due to a broken right wrist.
The Howard Bison (22-12) featuring Canadian freshman Ose Okojie (Brampton, Ont.) are back in the tournament for the first time in 31 years, they will take on the No. 1 ranked Kansas Jayhawks (27-7) in the West region.
The battled tested No. 6 Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs (21-12) make a return trip to the madness for the second consecutive season. TCU lost an all-time 85-80 overtime classic to Bennedict Mathurin and Arizona in the 2022 tournament.
One of the most productive and efficient Canadian players this season, six-foot-seven, senior forward Emanuel Miller (Scarborough, Ont.), is averaging 12 points, 6.5 rebounds on 51.6% (157-304) percent shooting.
26 Canadians in the 2023 NCAA men’s March Madness Tournament
For complete player stats, please check out the 2022-23 Canadian NCAA men’s basketball stats tracker.