What's buzzing:

The Eh Game

March Madness: Why Canadians should be rooting for New Mexico State

Dustin Pollack
Eh Game

View photo


Daniel Mullings of the New Mexico State Aggies. (Getty Images)

With the beginning of March Madness only days away, the hype surrounding the tournament has just about reached its peak.

In Canada much of the talk surrounds Kelly Olynyk, and rightfully so. The 7-foot forward who hails from Kamloops, B.C., has become the face of the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who head into the first round as the No. 1 seed in the West Region.

Olynyk was one of the top players in the NCAA this season as he led the Bulldogs in scoring and was second in rebounding averaging 17.5 points and 7.2 boards per game. He also has an interesting backstory to go along with his success being that just a year ago he red-shirted for the Zags while Robert Sacre led the team’s frontcourt.

But while Olynyk and the Bulldogs, who also have Newmarket, Ont., native Kevin Pangos in their starting lineup, may be the easy choice for Canadians looking for a team to root for in the Madness, for those who prefer cheering on the underdog and want to stay loyal to the red and white, the New Mexico State Aggies are a team worth taking note of.

Not only are the Aggies a No. 13 seed heading into the first round against No. 4 ranked Saint Louis, but they also have three Canadian players – Sim Bhullar (Toronto), Daniel Mullings (Toronto) and Tyrone Watson (Hamilton) – in their starting lineup and another in Renaldo Dixon (Toronto) who comes off the bench.

While Mullings, a 6-foot-2-sophomore guard, may be the most highly skilled player on the Aggies roster – he led the team in scoring averaging 14 points per game – for sports fans who don’t follow college basketball throughout the year, Bhullar might be the easiest to recognize.

The Toronto native stands 7-foot-5, 355 lbs and finished fourth on the team in scoring and second in rebounding, averaging 10.2 points and 6.5 boards. Bhullar stepped up for the Aggies in the Western Athletic Conference championship game over the weekend where he scored 16 points, collected 15 rebounds and added five shot blocks in the 64-55 win over the UT-Arlington Mavericks.

Watson and Dixon round out the Canadian foursome. Watson, a senior forward, finished just ahead of Bhullar in scoring averaging 10.8 points per game while Dixon, a junior forward chipped in an average of 5.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

While the experts may not be picking the Aggies as the first-round bracket buster it’s worth mentioning that No. 13 seeds have done surprisingly well over the last 10-plus years. According to this ESPN graphic, since 2000 all four No. 4 seeds have advanced out of the first round just twice and the No. 13 seeds have advanced 12 times in that timespan.

New Mexico State can only hope to be on the winning end of that statistic come Thursday.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (1)
  • Ozil says Arsenal can win the league this season

    Ozil says Arsenal can win the league this season

    Arsenal have a chance of lifting the Premier League trophy this season if they can keep key players fit, midfielder Mesut Ozil has said. The German international spoke to Bild before his country's European Championship qualifier against Ireland, … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Coach McKee committed to Fiji after positive World Cup

    Coach McKee committed to Fiji after positive World Cup

    Fiji coach John McKee is committed to leading the side through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup despite being linked with the Japan job, he said on Wednesday. Fiji beat Uruguay 47-15 in their final Pool A match on Tuesday to end the tournament on a high … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago
  • Australian Rogers signs for Somerset

    Australian Rogers signs for Somerset

    Australian batsman Chris Rogers, who retired from international cricket after this year's Ashes series, has joined Somerset for the 2016 season, the English county announced on Wednesday. The 38 year-old left hander played 25 tests for Australia, … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago
  • Nishikori beats Querrey to advance at Japan Open

    Nishikori beats Querrey to advance at Japan Open

    Local favorite Kei Nishikori advanced to the quarterfinals of the Japan Open with a 7-6 (3), 6-3 victory over Sam Querrey on Wednesday. Second-seeded Nishikori set up match point with a blistering backhand down the line and won with a forehand … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago
  • Exclusive: Red-hot Lewandowski has Euro 2016 in his sights

    By Piotr Kwiatkowski WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's record-breaking goal machine Robert Lewandowski will be in the spotlight again on Thursday when his country aim to secure a place at Euro 2016 by beating Scotland in Glasgow. The Bayern Munich … More »

    Reuters - 9 minutes ago