From twenty-seven, down to five. Canadian NCAA Basketball players continue to be well represented throughout the 2012 NCAA March Madness tournament. The Sweet 16 is set to go with five Canadian players still in the hunt for a national Championship and that special “One Shining Moment.”
Brady Heslip, Baylor Bears – SG, 6’2″, 180 lbs. | Hometown: Burlington, ON
Brady Heslip comes in firing on all cylinders. He’s buried a total of 14 three-pointers (current tournament leader) over his last two games and is an instrumental component to the Bears’ high-powered offence. The #10 Xavier Musketeers stand in the way of Baylor’s march towards an Elite 8 trip. His 27-point performance ranks amongst the highest by Canadians in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Kris Joseph, Syracuse Orange – SF, 6’7″, 214 lbs. | Hometown: Montreal, QC
Straight out of the rugged streets of Mont-Real aka Montreal is Kris Joseph. The #1 Syracuse Orange will face a well-balanced Wisconsin Badgers program primed for an upset. Joseph has struggled in stretches during the two opening games but has reached double-digits with 11 and 12 points respectively. The deeper the Orange go, the earlier Kris Joseph goes in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Junior Cadougan, Marquette Golden Eagles – PG, 6’1″, 205 lbs. | Hometown, Toronto, ON
“The originator.” Long before Tristan, Cory and all the abundance of current and upcoming Canadian talent in the NCAA, there was Cadougan. The senior guard with outstanding passing ability makes his second straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearance with the Golden Eagles. Marquette will take on a confident and well coached No. 7 ranked Florida Gators. Junior has the ability to flirt with triple-down numbers and is averaging 6.5 points, 5.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds on the year.
Kyle Wiltjer, Kentucky Wildcats – F, 6’9″, 239 lbs. | Hometown: Portland, OR
Minutes have come sparingly for the former 2011 Mcdonald’s All-American and Canadian freshman. Playing behind the nation’s most lethal and athletic lineup, Wiltjer hasn’t had much of an impact on the outcome of the No. 1 Wildcats games’. Playing time aside, Wiltjer is considered amongst the heavy favourites to grab a NCAA championship ring. The Wildcats need to get past the #4 Indiana Hoosiers, who were one of only two teams to beat Kentucky in the regular season.
Alex Johnson, North Carolina State Wolfpack – G, 5’10″, 176 lbs. | Hometown: Toronto, ON
Johnson is a senior guard who brings strong leadership skills to a young and upstart #11 Wolfpack squad. Up next is the #2 Kansas Jayhawks for a berth in the Elite 8. Johnson has failed to score a single point in his last two games and has season averages of 4.8 points and 3 assists per game.
Who do you think will advance to the elite 8? Leave your comments and feedback.