The NCAA Tournament is finally here and we have a some Canadian content on some rosters. But more importantly we have Canadians that are contributing to their team's successes making this that much better to watch. Find out who we think are the five to watch and who is playing today right here ...
So the NCAA Tournament is a few hours away and my computer decides that it wants to crap out on me. Perfect timing I'd say. To crap out during my basketball Christmas and New Year on the eve of the start is just a cruel twist of fate. But never the less, being the resourceful guy that I am I've managed to procure the use of a computer for a short time to give you the low down on who I think the Top 5 Canadians to watch are in this year's NCAAs. We know, there are other ballers out there in this field of 64 teams but these are the ones that will warrant your attention. These five will be the big reason a team get the win or suffers the loss so you need to read this. And because of the small amount of teams with Canadian ballers, I'll also be including the teams playing at the end of the post. So without further adieu, here we go ...
Top Five Canadians to Watch in the 2010 NCAA Tournament
1) Andy Rautins, Syracuse
Key Stats: 11.7 pts, 3.2 rbs, 5 asts, 2 stls, 39.6 3PT FG%, 80.6 FT%
Here is a guy that has pretty much transformed himself into a complete player since the his freshman season playing for the Orange. Primarily a shooter coming in, he has been able to make that leap to the lead guard role this season in the absence of an experienced point for this incredibly good Syracuse team. In what became addition through subtraction, having to play the point in bulk this year has lead to his breakout season showing that he is indeed a leader. He has become the play maker that hold the team together as well a very vocal on the floor when his team needs it. You can argue that without Rautins in the lineup, the 'Cuse would not be as good as they are making him the difference between a number one seed and a possible spot in the NIT. With that in mind, he may have played his way into the Second Round of the NBA Draft and if he leads this team to through the Tournament like he did this season he could possibly play his way into the First Round.
2) Kris Joseph, Syracuse
Key Stats: 11.3 pts, 5.4 rbs, 1.6 asts, 1.3 stls, 49.8 FG%
Joseph, quite similarly to Rautins, has made a giant leap from last season to this one. Last season as a freshman, Joseph played during the season but was the eighth or ninth man off the bench on a fairly loaded team. This season, he broke out to be the high-flying, crowd pleasing, energy guy the 'Cuse needed. He has become what you can call Wesley Johnson lite and could very well be starting on other big conference teams. With his name already being mentioned in the mock drafts for 2011 he has become a very important part of this team, particularly since the bench is short, and he will be counted on to provide scoring off the bench and for this Syracuse team to be a team of destiny, which they have the markings of, and make a long run in the Tournament.
3) Maurice Joseph, Vermont
Key Stats: 14.1 pts, 2.6 rbs, 1.1 asts, 38.1 3PT FG%, 85.3 FT%
The older of the Montreal Joseph boys, Maurice will be facing brother Kris in the First Round in Buffalo. After starting off his college career at Michigan State, he transferred to Vermont where he enjoyed his senior season where he was named Third Team All America East after bouncing back from a less then spectacular junior season. Like Rautins, MoJo had the rep as a lights out shooter coming into college and he still is. But this year, he improved his overall game and is now more of rounded offensive threat. He is the Catamounts best shooter and will be called upon to provide the long range bombs to free up conference player of the year Marqus Blakely in the middle. With this game likely being his last barring a miracle win over Syracuse, look for MoJo to go out firing and with a bang, especially against his little brother.
4) Devoe Joseph, Minnesota
Key Stats: 9.6 pts, 2.9 rbs, 3 asts, .9 stls, 39.7 3PT FG%
There seems to be a running trend with guys with the last name Joseph on this list but the final one to crack the lineup, Devoe, is a good one. He was all but buried in the Tubby Smith rotation which was really guard heavy last season but thanks to some indiscretions by several players early this season, Devoe was thrust into a bigger role early in the campaign and then inserted into the starting lineup in January and hasn't looked back since. Steady running the point for Coach Smith, he has shown that he is more than a shooter in the last two months and really coming into his own. During the Gophers season saving run through the Big Ten Tournament to the title game, he scored in double digits every game and looks to be playing the best basketball of his young college career at the right time.
(5) Rob Sacre, Gonzaga
Key Stats: 10 pts, 5.2 rbs, 1.9 blks, 52.4 FG%
Sacre has been the starting center on a very bipolar Gonzaga team this year. Despite the big wins and bad losses (lest we forget San Francisco, Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary's to get here), he has manned the middle showing vast improvement from last season. He looks very comfortable on the low block on offense and his defense has been good all year. With the Zags lacking many interior options, Sacre has held down the fort. Interesting to note is that over the summer he did manage to become more chiseled and is playing better ball overall but he still has the knock that he is soft on the glass. Sacre will have to improve on his rather low rebounding numbers for his team to go deep into the Tournament this year. If he can be monster on the glass, this could go a long way for setting the tone for him through the coming summer, his junior year and maybe even a possible spot on the 2011 mock Draft boards.
NC-Double-Eh Tournament Schedule
2:50pm (10) Saint Mary's vs, (7) Richmond - this should be a good game. Both teams are well coached and go deep on their benches. Montreal's Francis-Cedric Martel had a huge game in the Spiders loss to Temple in the Atlantic 10 Championship game so he could be primed for another big one here against the Gaels.
7:20pm (11) Washington vs. (6) Marquette
College Insider Tournament
8:00pm Southern Miss @ Louisiana Tech