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Canada's version of March Madness gets underway at UBC

Last Updated Mar 17, 2016 at 6:49 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Canada’s version of March Madness gets underway today in Vancouver.

UBC is hosting the best basketball teams in the country with the CIS Final Eight.

“This is the first time it’s been at UBC since 1972,” says Len Catling with UBC Athletics.

The hometown Thunderbirds start off the tournament by taking on the Ryerson Rams.

Catling is expecting a sold-out arena. “Five thousand fans, St. Patrick’s Day — it’s going to be an incredible environment.”

A good turnout could prove Vancouver is hungry for an NBA team.

“You know, maybe down the road when the NBA looks at Vancouver again as a viable market, they’ll see that Canadian university basketball tournament had several of its games sold out,” says Catling.

“Maybe they’ll see ‘You know, maybe Vancouver is a viable market. Maybe we can give it another shot.

The tournament wraps up on Sunday, with the gold medal game being broadcast on Sportsnet.