TORONTO, Ont. (March 14, 2023) — A record 53 Canadians will be participating in March Madness this year. There will be 29 Canadian women in the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and 24 Canadian men in the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.
34 of the 53 Canadians have represented Canada at either the age-group or Senior National Team level, including 12 players who suited up at GLOBL JAM this past summer in Toronto.
Canadians in the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women's Basketball Championships:
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One of the biggest stories of NCAA men’s basketball this season has been the dominant play of Torontonian Zach Edey. The seven-foot-four big man, who was named the only unanimous selection on the AP All-America Team on the men’s side on Tuesday, is the centre of attention on the Purdue Boilermakers. The Boilermakers begin the tournament as a No. 1 seed — thanks to last weekend’s Big Ten Tournament Championship. Edey ranked sixth in the NCAA in scoring with 22.3 points-per-game and led the country in double-doubles with six. Edey and the Boilermakers will take on either Farleigh Dickinson or Texas Southern in the First Round on Friday, Mar. 17 at 6:45 p.m. ET.
On the women’s side, it’s been a breakout season for UConn Huskies forward Aaliyah Edwards. Edwards and the Huskies begin the tournament as a No. 2 seed, and will be looking to build upon a record of 14 consecutive Final Four appearances. The Kingston, Ont. product averaged 16.6 points and 9.2 rebounds-per-game this season and helped the Huskies to a Big East Tournament championship, where she was named to the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. Edwards and the Huskies are looking to avenge a defeat in last year’s national title game loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks. Edwards and the Huskies begin their tournament against 15th-seeded Vermont on Saturday, Mar. 18 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Laeticia Amihere and the Gamecocks, who ran wire-to-wire as the No. 1 ranked team in the AP Top 25, enter the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed ahead of their national title defence. Amihere, a senior forward with the Gamecocks, is fresh off a dominant SEC Tournament, helping the program to their third conference title in the last four seasons. Amihere surpassed the 16-point mark in two of South Carolina’s three games, with her signature performance coming in a seminal win over Ole Miss in which she recorded 17 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Shayeann Day-Wilson and the No. 3 seed Duke Blue Devils begin Madness with a matchup against Iona, while Shaina Pellington and the No. 7 seed Arizona Wildcats open against West Virginia.
Amihere and the Gamecocks begin their national title defence on Friday, Mar. 17 against Norfolk State at 2:00 p.m. ET. Day-Wilson and Duke’s First Round matchup is slated for Saturday, Mar. 18 at 9:30 p.m. ET. Pellington and the Wildcats open their tournament on Friday, Mar. 17 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Charles Bediako joins Edey as the lone other Canadian on the men’s side to be suiting up for a No. 1 seed. The seven-foot sophomore is averaging 6.1 points and 6.6 rebounds-per-game for the SEC Tournament champion Alabama Crimson Tide. The Brampton, Ont. product had a monster showing in the conference championship game, recording a 12-point, 13-rebound double-double, to go along with five blocks. Big 12 champion Marcus Carr and the Texas Longhorns will be a No. 2 seed. Ryan Nembhard and the Creighton Bluejays, as well as Emanuel Miller and the Texas Christian Horned Frogs, are both slotted in as No. 6 seeds.
Bediako begins the tournament on Thursday, Mar. 16 against either Texas A&M CC or Southeastern Missouri State at 2:30 p.m. ET. Carr and Texas are set to take on 15th-seeded Colgate on Thursday, Mar. 16 at 7:15 p.m. ET. Nembhard and the Bluejays will battle 11th-seeded N.C. State on Friday, Mar. 17 at 3:50 p.m. ET