By Liam Ellison.
No. 2 Michigan St. vs. No. 15 Bradley
March 22, 5:45am AEDT
Jayden Hodgson (Bradley) – 1.7 points, 1.1 rebounds and one assist per game.
The Junior out of Gosford, NSW is not likely to play a heavy role in Bradley’s first-round match-up against Michigan State but his team have returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.
No. 6 Villanova vs. No. 11 St. Mary’s
March 22, 10:25am AEDT
– Jordan Hunter (St. Mary’s) – 7.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and one assist per game.
– Tanner Krebs (St. Mary’s) – 8.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
– Jock Perry (St. Mary’s) – 2.2 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.
– Alex Mudronja (St. Mary’s) – 0.8 points, 0.4 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game.
After defeating #1 seed Gonzaga in a stunning upset, the Gaels punched their ticket to the NCAA tournament and will now face the reigning National Champions Villanova in the first round.
GAELS ARE GOING DANCING!
SAINT MARY'S DEFEATS NO. 1 GONZAGA TO CLAIM THE WCC CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE! pic.twitter.com/eqsAzA7V53
— Saint Mary's Hoops (@saintmaryshoops) March 13, 2019
New South Welshman Jordan Hunter was instrumental in the WCC championship game, playing a starring role on the defensive end by helping to shut-down Japanese star and potential top-five NBA draft pick Rui Hachimura. The performance earned Hunter the MVP of the WCC tournament.
Fellow Aussie Tanner Krebs also played a huge role in the upset win, playing all 40 minutes and dropping 13 points. In his Junior season with the Gaels, Krebs has shot 44.5% from the field and an impressive 91.7% from the free throw line.
In all, five Australian’s are on the Saint Mary’s roster with three of them expected to hit the floor in the tournament. 7’1’ Jock Perry is likely to come off the pine to play a small amount of minutes as back-up centre.
No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 15 Montana
March 22, 12:20pm AEDT
Ben Carter (Montana)– 0.4 points and 0.8 rebounds per game.
Montana will need to play their best basketball to stand a chance of knocking off the West #2 seed but having only featured in ten games, Carter is unlikely to see much court time in this first match-up.
No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Colgate
March 23, 5:45am AEDT
Hugh Baxter (Colgate)– 0.6 points and 0.6 rebounds per game.
A sophomore out of Melbourne, Baxter has played limited minutes for the Patriot Conference winning Colgate Raiders this season who face a tough match-up against another tournament favourite in Tennessee.
No. 1 Virginia vs No. 16 Gardner Webb
March 23, 6:10am AEDT
Kody Stattmann (Virginia)– 1.8 points per game.
Having recently been named to the Under-19 Emus team for the upcoming World Cup, Stattmann has an important hurdle to get past in his freshman year.
Appearing in 17 games this season, Stattmann has averaged 1.8 points per game but like Jack White, has a legitimate chance to become the first Australian to win an NCAA national championship.
No. 7 Rutgers vs. No. 10 Buffalo
March 23, 7:30am AEDT
Courtney Wilkins (Buffalo) – 6.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Senior Courtney Wilkins will make her third NCAA tournament appearance after helping the Bulls earn a ten-seed in their portion of the bracket.
Wilkins has once again been a solid contributor for Buffalo, scoring 12 points on 4-9 shooting from beyond the arc to help the Bulls defeat Ohio in the Mid-American Conference Championship game, booking themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament.
No. 8 Utah State. vs. No. 9 Washington
March 23, 9:50am AEDT
Ben Fakira (Utah State) – 1.4 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
The freshman out of Sydney has had a limited role in his first season with Utah State and is unlikely to see court time in this tight match-up between an eighth and ninth seed.
No. 1 Duke vs. No. 16 North Dakota St.
March 23, 10:10am AEDT
Jack White (Duke)– 4.4 points, five rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.
Playing for tournament favourite Duke, White has a massive chance to become the first ever Australian to win a NCAA National Championship.
Playing 21.5 minutes per game as co-captain of the nation’s number one ranked team, White has averaged 4.4 points and 5 rebounds per game for the Blue Devils.
Hailing from Traralgon in country Victoria, a NCAA championship win would be a historic moment for White and Australian basketball while Duke are chasing their third title this decade.
No. 2 Oregon vs No. 15 Portland St.
March 23, 12:30pm AEDT
– Morgan Yaeger (Oregon) – 1.7 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists in 10.1 minutes per game.
– Courtney West (Portland St) – 10.5 points on 56% shooting, 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.
The only match-up in the men’s or women’s bracket that sees two Aussies face off, Yaeger’s Ducks will take on West and the Vikings.
Along with Alanna Smith, Yaeger is in a strong position to win the NCAA Championship but West will play a vital role in Portland State’s attempt to upset them.
West has been a key player for the Vikings all season and played 35 minutes in the team’s Big Sky Conference Championship game, registering 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocks as the Portland State prevailed 61-59 to punch their ticket to the tournament.
2Q, :11.2 | Viks 31, Eagles 30@ana_tainta finds @courtney_west30 again and the Vikings retake the lead just before halftime. West has six points to go with four rebounds and two blocks. #GoViks #ProudViks pic.twitter.com/4JZ6RfR915
— Portland State Basketball (@psuviksWBB) March 15, 2019
No. 3 Syracuse vs. No. 14 Fordham
March 24, 4:30am AEDT
Tiana Mangakahia (Syracuse) – 15.4 points, 8.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game on 40% from the field and 39% from three.
One of Australia’s biggest stars in college basketball this season, Tiana Mangakahia has continued to shine in her Junior season wearing the Syracuse Orange.
Finishing with a 24-8 record, Syracuse enter the tournament as a #3 seed, coming out of the loaded ACC conference.
Aussie hoops fans should keep a close eye on Mangakahia as the Queenslander looks set to lead her team on a deep tournament run with her WNBA draft stock continuing to rise.
No. 3 Iowa State vs. No. 14 New Mexico St.
March 24, 9am AEDT
Lauren Mills (Iowa State) – 0.5 points and 0.5 rebounds per game.
In her freshman season with the Cyclones after redshirting the 2017/18 season, the Tasmanian Mills has played a limited role off the bench for the #3 seed Iowa State Cyclones.
No. 4 Oregon St. vs. No. 13 Boise State
March 24, 9am AEDT
Jasmine Simmons (Oregon St.)– two points, 1.2 rebounds, one assist per game.
A former NSW representative and Under-17 World Champion, Jasmine Simmons has stepped into the highly ranked Oregon State line-up in her first season of college basketball and has played 20 games so far.
No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 15 UC Davis
March 24, 9am AEDT
Alanna Smith (Stanford)– 19.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.4 blocks per game on .512 FG/.736 FT/.395 3P shooting.
FIBA World Cup silver medallist with the Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals, Alanna Smith will lead her Stanford side as they aim to win their first NCAA Championship since 1992.
Smith has enjoyed a highly successful season with Stanford, being named to the espnW All-America Second Team, CoSIDA Academic All-American Second Team as well as being named one of 15 candidates for the John R. Wooden award.
Boasting an impressive 28-4 record on the season, Stanford will enter their first-round match-up against UC Davis as heavy favourites to advance an Smith’s performance will have a major influence on the result.
The 22-year-old is also expected to be picked inside the top ten in the WNBA draft on April 10 in New York City.
Find the full men’s bracket here.
Find the full women’s bracket here.