This week's quick glance at the mid-week matchups in the OUA West for January 13th:
Brock (7-3) at McMaster (6-4)
The Badgers are trying hard to prove that they are in the upper echelon of teams in the division, sitting in the shadows of Windsor and Western. Don't forget about this team...they may surprise you this season. I expect them to pull off a road upset in Hamilton.
Waterloo (2-8) at Windsor (10-0)
The Warriors are coming off of a tough loss on Saturday which saw the one-win Gryphons come back to defeat them in the 4th quarter. It would have to be one for the ages for them to rebound on the road against the undefeated Lancers. Windsor goes to 11-0.
Western (8-2) at Guelph (2-8)
Angela Orton's Gryphons are on an emotional high after Saturday's win at Waterloo, but this is a team that has only three players with more than one year of OUA experience, in Alex Russell, Alex Yallin, and Kara Muhlhausen. They won't be able to compete with the Mustangs, and Amanda Anderson could go off for a season-high point total with a group of rookie guards trying to check her.
Brock (4-6) at McMaster (5-5)
The Marauders were swept in Thunder Bay on the weekend, which dropped them to .500 on the season and saw them slip out of the Top Ten for the first time this season. Coach Joe Raso and his team need to rebound at home against the Badgers, and they're going to need more players to step up than just Keenan Jeppesen night after night. I expect them to get back on track with a win here, but if they don't, this season may just be spiralling out of control.
Waterloo (6-4) at Windsor (8-2)
This is by far the marquee matchup of the night. The Warriors are in third place and on the cusp of going on a big run in the coming weeks. Their depth off the bench is tops in the league, and with 8 seniors, this is a team that is reminding a lot of people of the 2005 Warriors that went 19-3 and on to the Final 10 in Halifax. With 8 players who are capable of scoring 15-20 points in a game, they are going to be a tough matchup for the Lancers. The key matchup in this game will be Matt Hayes and Nigel Johnson-Tygter. Whoever controls the paint will control this game. If this was in Waterloo, I would give the edge to the Warriors, but a Wednesday game in Windsor is never easy, and I think the Lancers will scrape through on this one, but barely. (I wouldn't have said that a week ago.)
Western (6-4) at Guelph (3-7)
Without Jay Mott in the lineup, I don't think the Gryphons will be able to compete with a good Mustangs team, unless they get BIG production from rookies John Brutto and Evans Otchere. Dan McCarthy, Jonathan Moscatelli, and Adam Bering are taking on a big work load, but the young players need to chip in significantly.
Now, a quick note about the new rankings that came out today. I can't say if the constant griping I (and others) do about the archaic protective measures in place to prevent excessive movement up and down the rankings have had any effect, but I can't even begin to tell you how pleased I was today to see what is arguably the fairest Top Ten of the season. McMaster drops 5 spots OUT of the Top Ten, Lakehead moves UP four spots, and Ottawa makes a long-awaited debut. I still have a couple of minor issues (ahem...Toronto), but for the moment, I'm content to revel in the positive and commend the coaches on getting it right.