The Ravens, now 30-0 after a 75-56 win over Ottawa in the OUA East final (it was close at the half; cishoops.ca has more, as always), are the only team whose Final 8 seeding is clear-cut. Almost everyone right under them in the polls -- No. 2 Calgary, No. 5 Windsor and then-No. 5 Toronto -- lost the plot this week. It reaffirms there's a lot of good teams out there, but seriously, no one wants to visit Ottawa in March? It's not like this winter is about to set a record for snow.
Anyway, the tournament committee will have a tough task trying to slot the 2-7, 3-6 and 4-5 quarter-finals if Brandon is the wild card, joining Canada West reps Alberta and the UBC. It's going to be much easier said than done.
Here's a first stab, with plenty of hedging and butt-covering, at what the seedings might look like next week.
- Carleton (OUA East champion): It's theirs to lose, but you knew that already.
- UBC (Canada West champion): Coach Kevin Hanson's team is 11-1 in the past six weeks and cancelled out that lone loss (which was close, five points) by winning on Calgary's floor on Friday. Chris Dyck's 26-and-10 effort against Calgary was something else.
- Alberta (Canada West No. 2): Strong RPI, good coaching and C.G. Morrison's steady hand at the point give them a shot at playing for a national title.
- Acadia (Atlantic champion): Please don't read this as an assumption Acadia's going to win the AUS next weekend. This is where Les Berry's team might go if they win the AUS Final 6. If the Axemen should lose in the final to St. FX and it's a close game, they're going to have a good wild-card argument. They've lost just five games and beat Brandon at Christmastime, in western Canada no less. It comes down to how much stock people put into those games.
- Brandon (wild card): The Scrum Brandon was pretty candid after the Bobcats fell to Alberta on Friday and all looked lost (and then Calgary gave it away in the Can West bronze-medal game): "BU did not adjust well when things were starting to go away from them. And here is a recurring, and startling, trend from the Bobcats in tight games: Horrendous shot selection. Shots early in the shot clock when you’re protecting a lead, first-touch hoists and in-traffic bombs."
It's always darkest before the dawn, though. Brandon has quick guards and some solid seniors such as Adam Hartman. Oh, and ask Calgary can attest to how well they get on the boards.
- Western (OUA West champion): Let's say Ottawa beats Brock in the special play-in game next Saturday in St. Catharines.
It might be tough but fair to slot Western ahead of Ottawa . The case for the Gee-Gees would be that they beat Western by 17 points, have three fewer losses and of course, would have to win on Brock's floor to earn their spot. The committee could say that they're not seeding teams based on October and November and that Western's displayed more depth and has played better. Four of Ottawa's starters played at least 36 minutes against Carleton and scored all but six of their points.
That said, gut instinct dictates that the Gee-Gees can't be written off. Dave DeAveiro's done a good job with a young and undermanned team.
- Brock or Ottawa (OUA #3): There's probably no way Brock gets seeded ahead of the Western team who just dusted them by 17 on their own floor. From the looks of the boxscore, the 'Stangs were full value. Their bigs, Colin Laforme and Andrew Wedemire, put up good numbers. Shooting guard Brad Smith shot 9-of-15.
As for next Saturday, the Badgers should be favoured based on experience and playhing at home. For what it's worth, they beat Ottawa by 11 at home in the regular-season meeting, but the Gee-Gees won a tournament matchup by a point on a last-second shot by Donnie Gibson.
- Laval/Concordia (Quebec champion): The QSSF winner probably has to go here to ensure that two OUA teams don't meet in the first round.