The 2016 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament will begin on Friday March 18 with three teams featuring Australian basketballers.
From the Kentucky Wildcats, Isaac Humphries will compete along with Jakob Cornelissen from the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.
Jack Purchase is also a member of the ‘Bows but has not played all season while Jo Acuil hails from Melbourne and although his Baylor Bears are competing in the tournament, he has not seen any court time this season.
Kentucky are seeded fourth in the East and are set to face Stony Brook on March 18 in the Round of 64. Finishing at 26-8 through the regular season, the Wildcats led the SEC standings while Humphries averaged two points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
After only playing sporadically through the first half of the season, Humphries (a product of Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence) has seen his minutes increase as he played the final 12 games of the year.
He recorded a career-best six points, 12 rebounds and two blocks on February 20 against Texas A&M and his 214cm frame will provide a solid presence in the paint throughout the tournament.
Hawaii (seeded 13th) finished atop the Big West standings with a 27-5 record with Cornelissen only playing limited minutes.
Realistically it is unlikely he will see much, if any, court time through the finals and the ‘Bows have a tough first round match-up against the fourth-seeded California Golden Bears in the West on March 19.
One side that was unlucky to make the cut was the St. Mary’s Gaels, featuring six Australians- Jordan Hunter, Emmett Narr, Tanner Krebs, Dane Pineau, Kyle Clark and Jock Landale.
Their season is not quite over though, having qualified for the 2016 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) which begins on March 16.
The full March Madness bracket can be found here.