With the biggest basketball tournament in the world fast approaching after ‘Selection Sunday’ took place this weekend, it’s time to find out which Brits are continuing into the post-season.
We’ve put together all the British players in both the NCAA Tournament, and the National Invitation Tournament. From this point on, it’s a case of win or go home. Let the madness begin!
Lee Goldsbrough – Providence
Lee Goldsbrough, a 6’9″ Senior, is finishing his college career on a high by making his first appearance at the NCAA Tournament, already having a Big East Championship under his belt.
The former Manchester Magic player who hails from Newcastle has played sparingly in his four years at the high major school, but unlike many Brits, has stuck with it rather than transferring.
Providence College will be a No. 11 seed and will play sixth-seeded North Carolina on Friday, March 21, after earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament by winning the 2014 Big East Championship on March 15 with a 65-58 win over No. 14/14 Creighton at Madison Square Garden.
The Friars posted a 23-11 mark and a 10-8 record in Big East play (fourth) on the season, and will be making their 16th appearance all-time in NCAA Tournament and first since 2004 when Providence lost to Pacific at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri.
Gabe Olaseni – Iowa
Olaseni, a 6’10” Londoner, has helped the Iowa Hawkeyes break their eight year NCAA Tournament drought…kind of.
The Hawkeyes have been put in a play-in game against Tennessee, and will play in Dayton on Wednesday night. The winner of that game will get No. 6 seed UMass in Raleigh, N.C.
The Hawkeyes, once in consideration for a No. 4 or No. 5 seed, have struggled down the stretch. Iowa lost six of its last seven games, including a first-round Big Ten Tournament loss to lowly Northwestern.
Olaseni has been a key contributor this season, averaging 6.6 points. 5.1 rebounds and 1.3bpg in 16.7 minutes per game, whilst shooting 49.6% from the field.
Prince Ibeh – Texas
Ibeh is a 6’10” big man who was born in London but moved to the US aged 5. He has been a solid contributor for Texas, who are the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region, averaging 3.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, on 50.5% shooting in 14.1 minutes per game so far this season.
The Longhorns (23-10, 11-7 Big 12) will play No. 10 seed Arizona State (21-11, 10-8 Pac-12) at the Harris Bradley centre in Milwaukee.
It marks the 15th NCAA tournament appearance in the 16 years under coach Rick Barnes and 31st overall appearance by the Longhorns in the NCAA tournament.
Skyler White – George Washington
White, a 6’8″ freshman who has a Scottish father (who played for England Under-18s in the 2011 Haris Memorial Tournament – go figure!), saw scarce minutes in his first year at George Washington, GB star Pops Mensah-Bonsu’s former school.
He has played just 25 minutes all season, registering 14 total points for GW, who will head to Raleigh as the No. 9 seed and face No. 8 Memphis in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
It will mark GW’s 11th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since earning the Atlantic 10’s automatic bid as conference tournament champion in 2007.
GW will enter the NCAA Tournament with a 24-8 record, a win total which ties the 1997-98 and 1954-55 seasons as the second-most in a season in program history.
National Invitation Tournament
For those not fortunate enough to receive an NCAA Tournament, the National Invitation Tournament, or NIT, is the consolation prize.
Luke Nelson – UC Irvine
Star freshman Luke Nelson and his UC Irvine Anteaters will play at SMU in a first-round game of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on Wednesday night in Dallas, Texas.
Nelson, who leads the ‘Eaters in scoring at 11.7 points per game and also tops the team with 71 threes and 37 steals, was named Big West Freshman of the Year and also to the All-Big West second team.
Fourth-year head coach Russell Turner’s UCI squad is 23-11 overall (ties mark for second most wins in Anteater single-season history) and won the Big West Conference regular-season title with a 13-3 mark, but upset by eventual tournament champion Cal Poly, 61-58, in the Big West Tournament semifinals.
Nelson and UC Irvine will have their hands full with SMU, 23-9 overall, and a No. 1 seed in the NIT, coached by the legendary Larry Brown in his second season with the Mustangs.
Robert Gilchrist – Florida State
Gilchrist’s dream of finishing his college career with an NCAA Tournament bid came to an end when the Seminoles fell to top-seeded Virginia, 64-51, Friday in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals round.
Florida State will play host to Florida Gulf Coast in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday, March 18, at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The Seminoles are one of four No. 1 seeds in the 32-team tournament and will face one of the four No. 8 seeds in the Eagles.
Gilchrist is averaging 3.2 points and 1.9 rebounds in 13.9 minutes per game, but was removed from the starting lineup midway through the season and has seen dwindling minutes ever since.
Florida State enters the NIT with a 19-13 record and finished in a tie for seventh place in the ACC with a 9-9 record. The Seminoles were 1-1 in the ACC Tournament with a victory over Maryland. Florida State is the third winningest program in the ACC since the start of the 2005-06 season and is looking to win 20 games under Hamilton for the eighth time.
Ali Mackay – Davidson
A 6’11” junior from Scotland, Ali Mackay will be with No. 7 seed Davidson, the regular-season champions of the Southern Conference, when they play at Missouri, Tuesday at 9 p.m. (EST) on ESPN2, in the opening round of the 2014 Postseason NIT.
Minutes have been hard to come by for the former GB U20, appearing in just fifteen games for the Wildcats and averaging a single point in 3.5 minutes per outing.
Winners of 13 out of their last 14, the Wildcats enter their sixth NIT and 19th postseason appearance 20-12 overall.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo
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