Longhorns are Toronto’s team for NCAA March Madness

Longhorns are Toronto’s team for NCAA March Madness

March Madness is upon us. That means 67 high-octane games over 28 days for 68 of the best college basketball teams in the United States. Even in Canada, office pools are in full swing, productivity is about to drop precipitously and mid-afternoon trips to the nearest pub with the biggest television are in the works. If you’re a casual fan looking for a contender to get behind this year, we suggest supporting the University of Texas Longhorns. The number-four seed in the West region has two players from the G.T.A. on its roster and has a legitimate shot at going the distance in what broadcaster Dick Vitale has famously dubbed the “Big Dance.”

The Star even elected to send city columnist Royson James down south to take in the atmosphere at the Austin campus. From the venerable Toronto writer:

Who would have ever thought that the road to U.S. college basketball supremacy runs through Toronto? This little town in the big, bad state of Texas does. And University of Texas students and alumni have embraced the mind-bending idea.

Canada knows hockey. Now, Texas knows that Canada knows basketball, thanks to twin stars from the G.T.A. who walked onto campus as freshmen, took over a perennially strong team and now have collegians dreaming of one day winning college basketball’s ultimate prize—an NCAA championship—during March Madness.

Those twin stars are Tristan Thompson of Brampton and Cory Joseph of Pickering. Joseph plays the most minutes and leads the team in assists, while Thompson, the team’s second-highest scorer, also leads the squad in rebounds and blocks. He also made the Big 12 all-star team, was named the conference rookie of the year and is one of five players in the running for the Wayman Tisdale Award as the NCAA’s best freshman. Oh, and word is he’ll be a first-round selection in the NBA draft if he decides to go pro.

Texas opens play Friday. Go team Toronto!

• Thompson turns NCAA hoops dream into reality [Globe and Mail]
Texas Longhorns assume title of Toronto’s team [Toronto Star]