Carleton and Ottawa Look Like Odds-on Favourites
Thursday, March 12 –
11 am – game 1- # 1 Carleton Ravens vs # 8 Saskatchewan Huskies –
The Ravens are, as has been the case for over 12 seasons, the team to beat. They’ve won the CIS title for the past 4 years, and won 10 with Coach Smart since their 2003 win. Carleton limits opponents to 56 ppg against, while scoring 91 ppg themselves. Death !
They have the Scrubb brothers, Thomas, a 6-6 whirlwind, who has become their most
consistent offensive threat, and Philip, the 6-3 guard, who controls a fast paced attack, and, when on, can be a deadly outside shooter. Guard Connor Wood is a dangerous shooter as well, helping CU hit 50% from the floor and 46% from 3 point range, and they are +14 on their rebound margin. This 26-2 team is battle – ready and more than prepared to take a very good run at their 5th straight McGee Trophy.
Saskatchewan is in tough here, to put it mildly. The Huskies have size, with 6-6 Matt Forbes, 6-8 Conner Burns, and the multi-talented team catalyst, 6-4 Ben Baker at guard. But they give up 20 points more per game than the Ravens, while scoring 8 points less. They rebound well as a team, but not like Carleton. Their pace can give them open court baskets in stretches, but, again, not nearly as relentless as the ‘Birds’. If their 3 point shooters, like Dadrian Collins, Evan Osterberg, Baker, and Trevor Severinski can get ridiculously hot, maybe … but, they still suffer 7-8 more turnovers per game, and, clearly, Carleton are a runaway favourite.
1 pm – game 2 – # 4 Victoria Vikes vs. # 5 Dalhousie Tigers – Two League champions square off in this one, with the Vikes having more experience in this event by far, having played in the last 2 Nationals. UVic were 23-8 vs CIS teams this season , while Dalhousie were 13-14. The Vikes are a notably stingy defensive team, giving up just over 70 ppg, which is 7 less than Dal.
This game features Vic’s Canada West player of the year, Chris McLaughlin, who, at 6-10, scores 19.8 ppg / 10 rebounds; Dalhousie has ridden their 1st team AUS all-star, Kashrell Lawrence, who averaged 23 ppg / 12 rebounds in the Tigers’ 3 game odyssey in winning the Atlantic title. The point guard match-up will be fun to watch, with Victoria’s Marcus Tibbs more of a scorer (17 ppg / 5 assists), and Dal’s Richie Kanza Mata a set-up man (7 assists, 9 ppg), with both very adept at turning the other team over on the defensive end.
The supporting cast for UVic has ace defender, 6-4, Reiner Theil, who can also knock down the trey, and 6-6 Mack Roth, who has been a more prominent factor in recent games. Dalhousie has strong rebounding from Sven Stammberger (5.2 rebs/ 9 ppg) and Devon Stedman (5.2 rebs/ 8 ppg), and a smooth 2-way guard in James Reid (13.5 ppg / 2.5 assts/ 2 steals).
Unless they can control the inside presence of McLaughlin, and manage to score against the rugged UVic D, the Tigers playoff magic may disappear quickly.
6 pm – game 3 – # 7 Ryerson vs. # 2 Windsor – Let’s try to put aside the seeding arguments, and, if you’re Ryerson, be very happy that you have home court against a potent Windsor team in the 1st round. The Rams bounced the Lancers 98-78 in their league game on this Mattamy Centre court in November, and they will try and get momentum back after 2 losses (Carleton and Ottawa) in the OUA Final 4. Prior to last weekend the Rams had won 14 straight.
Windsor beat ‘mighty Carleton’ in the OUA regular season, and Ottawa in the Final 4, so they are ‘big game treacherous’, with a 24-6 CIS record, led by guards, Rotimi Osuntola Jr. (20 ppg/ 11.5 rebs ) and Mitch Farrell (13 ppg ) This should be a fast-paced, high scoring affair, with the Lancers averaging 87 ppg and Ryerson over 89 ppg. The Rams shoot it better from 3 pt range (38% to 33%), and are + 12 in rebounds vs + 7 for Windsor.
Ryerson has 4 players in double figure scoring, led by veteran guards, Jahmal Jones (17 ppg/5.5 assts/ 4.3 rebs) , and Aaron Best (15 ppg/ 5.5 rebs/ 46% from 3). They get strong rebounding through their line-up, with 6-9 Kadeem Green averaging 7 rpg plus 12 ppg on 58% FG shooting. It won’t be a surprise or an upset if Ryerson beats the # 2 seed; it might, however, be quite traumatic for the home folks if Windsor were to come up big, yet again.
8 pm – game 4 – # 6 Bishop’s vs. # 3 Ottawa – In the last Q-final of the night, we may see ‘Ponies running wild in the streets’ . The Gaiters can play defense (65.5 ppg against), but not necessarily vs ‘Johnny B’ and his ‘back-up singers’. Bishops was just 10-15 vs CIS teams, and lost 80-66 to Ottawa early in the season. The Gee-Gees score 94.5 ppg and surrender only 69 ppg, and boast a 29-2 overall record.
Ottawa has J. Berhanemeskel , the OUA’s 5th year MVP, at 23 ppg/ 56% FG/ 45% from 3/ 4.5 assts, and wing man Caleb Agada (16 ppg/ 8 rebs), plus shooting and floor leadership from Mike L’Africain (46% from 3/ 12 ppg/ 5 assts). They have 6 players 40% or better from beyond the arc, and are 51% from the floor as a team.
Bishop’s counters with far more conservative numbers … with a 69 ppg scoring average, the Gaiters shoot only 39% from the floor, and 28% from 3 pt range. They do have some solid veterans, and lots of size – Kyle Desmarais is a 5th year transfer guard (Concordia) (14.5 ppg / 3 assts ), Mike Andrews, a 6-10 forward (12 ppg /5.5 rebs.) , Majid Naji, a 6-11 post ( 10 ppg/ 8 rebs) , and Matt McLean, a 6-9 fwd ( 7 ppg / 6.3 rebs).
The Gaiters have a way of hanging in against tough opponents, but it’s doubtful they have the fire-power to get past as explosive a unit as Ottawa, who come at you with so many weapons.
- Correction … Waterloo has 1 CIS title (1975), and the other is Waterloo-Lutheran (1968) , which became Wilfred Laurier. Our local Kitchener-Waterloo historian, Martin Timmerman, sets us straight ! Go to Martin’s cishoops.ca for stats, records, draws, results, team info, and much more .
- Saskatchewan Coach Barry Rawlyk, obviously disappointed, but understanding of the draw seeding for the Nationals, “Anyway you try and dice it and slice it, there’s going to be a tough first-round game at nationals,” said Rawlyk, adding there are some artificial rules in place that put conference champions in certain spots. (The 4 League champs cannot be ranked lower than 6th. So 7 is Ryerson, and 8 is Saskatchewan.) From Darren Zary in the Star-Phoenix.
- There are 2 Calgary high school grads playing for the Atlantic champions, the Dalhousie Tigers. John Traboulsi, a 4th year, 6-3 guard, played at Western Canada HS in Calgary for Coach Steve Wiebe. He is averaging about 10 minutes /game in the late season and playoffs. Ross Crichton , a 6-7 rookie from E. Manning HS in Calgary, may be on the travel roster, but is unlikely to get any floor time at the Nationals.
- Just in case we’re confused about the ‘pecking order’ in the Tournament, the
Ravens’ Coach Dave Smart fills us in, “We’ve got a long way to go. It’s going to be tough. The team with the best record in the country, Ottawa, just came off a disappointing loss at home at the OUA Final Four, so they’re highly motivated. The second or third best team in the country is playing at home this week, so they’re going to be highly motivated as well. For us, we’ve got to keep going in the same direction we’ve been going and play the games. “ CIS press release.