TORONTO, Ont. (March 14, 2022) -- A record 50 Canadians will be participating in March Madness this year. There will be 30 Canadian men in the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and 20 Canadian women in the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. Twenty-nine out of the 50 Canadians have represented Canada at either the age-group or Senior National Team level with all four regions of each tournament featuring Canadians.
Canadians in the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women's Basketball Championships:
After making it to the NCAA Championship game last year, Andrew Nembhard wants to go all the way this season. He’s got a good chance of getting there, as his Gonzaga Bulldogs enter the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship as the top overall seed. Nembhard isn’t the only Canadian to begin the tournament as a No. 1 seed, though. Nembhard leads five Canadians playing for top seeds in the men’s and women’s tournaments.
Nembhard averaged 11.7 points and 5.7 assists in his Senior season for the Bulldogs and was named the 2022 WCC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Also opening the tournament as a top seed is Bennedict Mathurin and the Arizona Wildcats who are the No. 1 seed in the South region in the men’s tournament. Mathurin was recently selected as the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year and is a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy for best player in the country. Big man Zach Edey and Purdue will be a No. 3 seed in the East region this year.
Nembhard and the Bulldogs kick off their tournament on Thursday March 17 at 4:15 P.M. ET against 16th-seeded Georgia State. Purdue will play its first game on Friday, March 18 at 2 P.M. ET against 14th-seeded Yale, while Mathurin and the Wildcats will also be in action on Friday at 7:27 P.M. ET, opponent to be decided.
Creighton University will be a No. 9 seed in the Midwest region, though Canadian freshman Ryan Nembhard will miss the tournament after undergoing surgery on his wrist two weeks ago. Though he will not play in the tournament, Nembhard led the Bluejays all season and was named the Big East Rookie of the Year last week, after averaging 11.3 points, 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game this season.
In the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, Laeticia Amihere and the South Carolina Gamecocks will begin play as the No. 1 seed in the Greensboro region. Defending champion Alyssa Jerome and the Stanford Cardinal will be the No. 1 seed in the Spokane region, while Merissah Russell and the University of Louisville Cardinals will be the No. 1 seed in the Wichita region. In the Bridgeport region, Aaliyah Edwards and the UConn Huskies will be a No. 2 seed, while Shaina Pellington and the Arizona Wildcats will be a No. 4 seed in the Greensboro region.
Amihere averaged 7.1 points and 4.0 rebounds this season for South Carolina, while Edwards finished the regular season averaging 7.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game for the Huskies. Pellington averaged 10.9 points for the Wildcats, second on the team behind leading scorer Cate Reese.
Amihere and the Gamecocks will play on Friday at 2 P.M. ET, opponent to be decided. Russell and the University of Louisville will face 16th-seeded Albany at 6 P.M. ET and Jerome will be in action with Stanford on Friday at 10 P.M. ET against 16th-seeded Montana State. Edwards and UConn will face 15th-seeded Mercer on Saturday at 1 P.M. ET. For Pellington, the first game of the tournament will also come on Saturday, though it will be at 10 P.M. ET against 13th-seeded UNLV.