Basketball: Men's OUA Playoffs: An Upset...Or Three

The OUA quarterfinals took place on Wednesday night, and for those of you out there that were expecting everything to go according to plan, there were a lot of people shaking their heads on Thursday morning.

In the OUA East, the York Lions gave retiring coach Bob Bain at least one more game to coach, as the 6-16 Lions knocked off the U of T Varsity Blues, who I had maintained all season were heavily overrated. The Lions now get the enviable task of travelling to Ottawa to take on the Carleton Ravens, but keep in mind that York shocked the nation earlier this season when they knocked off the Ravens. Can they do it again?

In the West, the #5 Laurier Golden Hawks travelled to London and absolutely destroyed the #4 Western Mustangs 89-70. Take a look at the box score and note the rebounding differential. That's NOT a mistake...Laurier outrebounded the Mustangs 48-27. They will now advance to face the top seeded Windsor Lancers on Saturday. In the last week of the season, Laurier fell to Windsor 91-90. This semifinal should be a good one.

I was actually at the other OUA West semifinal between the #6 Waterloo Warriors and the #3 McMaster Marauders. In a relatively sparse crowd at the Burridge Gym (due to the Canada-Russia hockey game), and with Keenan Jeppesen still out of the lineup, the Warriors were optimisitic coming into the game, despite having lost 7 of their last 8 games, and with Coach Tom Kieswetter never having won at Burridge.

Prior to the game, UW was not sure if top scorer Cam McIntyre would even play due to a number of different injuries, including bone fragments in his leg, and a possible broken toe. But he did play, and the Warriors led for most of the game, fuelled by seniors Dave Burnett, who started off 6-6 from the field before finishing with 18 points (including a 4-point play), and Matt Hayes, who had 11 points, 7 rebounds, and a number of timely blocks.

A great finish to this game. Down 62-60 with less than 10 seconds to play, the Marauders were forced to foul, and when they sent the injured Cam McIntyre to the line, he hit both free throws to put Waterloo up 64-60. After a clutch 3-pointer by Victor Raso, Mac once again fouled McIntyre, who again sunk both free throws to put Waterloo up 66-63 with 3.7 seconds left. At the buzzer, it was Raso once again with the shot to tie, but it was no good, and the Warriors came away with the upset win.

A couple of thoughts from seeing this game. First, it was quite a scene to see the Warriors mob Coach Kieswetter on the court after the final buzzer. This win meant a lot to the team. Second, that clutch 3 by Raso to narrow the lead to one far outweights the miss at the buzzer, and while the rookie guard will likely be stinging for a few days, this is a future all-star in this league, and that was a lot of pressure for a rookie in that situation. Third, Cam McIntyre going 4-4 from the free throw line in the closing 10 seconds is as clutch a performance as I've seen in the past decade.

The Warriors now advance to play #2 Lakehead in Thunder Bay on Saturday, and is there any place that would be tougher to play than Lakehead in the playoffs? It's an uphill road for the Warriors, but they are capable of beating the Thunderwolves. Remember that they only lost by a combined 9 points in their two games vs. Lakehead this season.

On a side note, why does the OUA East re-seed the quarterfinal winners for the semifinals, but the OUA West keeps the matchups concrete as if it were a bracket format? I would suggest that it should be the same for both.

Related Stories:
'Heroic' Warriors bounce Mac (The Spec)
Untimely stinker sinks season for Mustangs
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


    Carleton 25+ over York
    *No way is Smart going to allow the Lions any breathing room after the upset, especially in "the nest"

    Ottawa 8+ over Queens
    *No one on OU can stop Leger and he'll keep the Gaels close until the end

    Laurier 2+ over Windsor
    *That's right, you heard it here first! Lancers are going to be upset by the G.Hawks. Windsor is due in my mind for a loss/upset, and after their last game, I think Laurier has Windsor's number!

    Lakehead 15+ over Waterloo
    *I don't care who you are, flying to Thunder Bay and going into the Thunderdome under these circumstances has to be considered a "worse case scenario". I understand that the visiting teams regularly have to bring their huddles to mid court to even hear themselves... I wonder if the doors to the parking lot will be open for Kieswetter to bring his squad!

  2. Couldn't agree more about V. Raso. The guy is very savvy for a rookie (always calling out the other team's plays, takes care of the ball) and will be a big part of the team's future.

  3. Re: different playoff format for West and East. I asked Kieswetter about this a couple of years ago. Apparently it's up to the coaches for each division. When they get together in the summer to tweak the rules, each division votes on their particular format.

    Yes, it was an 18-year losing streak at the Burridge Gymnasium for Tom Kieswetter as head coach of the Warriors. 18 regular season and 1 playoff. The Warriors did defeat Mac in two playoff games during that span, but both were at so-called "neutral sites": 1998 OUA West final at Waterloo, 1999 OUA West semi-final at Western.

    Peter Brown

  4. Anonymous, still no respect for the Warriors? A third game in Thunder Bay in 3 weeks, and they lost the first two by 5 points, and 4 points. After Lakehead slides to second place on the final weekend, NOW you have them winning by 15? I'll take Waterloo plus the points.

    Peter, thanks for clarification on the playoff structure.

  5. This is definitely a single-digit game, Waterloo at Lakehead. Let's say a seven-point spread?

  6. Rob, you're bang on where I would put it, Lakehead -7. I'll still take Waterloo plus the points.

    I'm not saying they'll win, but I'm not saying they won't. I am saying that this is going to be one hell of a game and I would suggest that fans watch it online on Saturday night.

  7. I agree with everything in Sean's second paragraph. And even though I don't have any particular affinity for the Waterloo team, I do have some for a few of the players, who I hope go as far as they can in these playoffs.

    In other words, I will absolutely watch this game, and you should all do the same.

  8. The fact of the matter is that Waterloo would not even be traveling up north if we had Jeppesen - plain and simple - they squeaked out a win on the road vs. a team that was 80% if best! Lakehead has had a full week off to rest and prepare, while Waterloo has had to play a nail-biter, and then travel up to the great white north!

    Waterloo & Mac's unfortunate common factor is that they both lost to LU, in Thunder Bay, at the Thunderdome! Whether it was by 2pts or by 100pts LU had the "W"s and we/Waterloo do not

    If what they say about environment being everything, and the reputation of the Thunderdome holds true, that gym is going to be off the hook! I've heard Raso say it himself it's the one place in all of the CIS that he dislikes the most to play at.

    Lakehead wins hands down!

  9. Raso wanted to fight a 40+ yr old heckler this yr during a game. He stopped coaching to challenge the fan to a fist fight because the fan made fun of his sweaty-ness. I'd say Thunder bay is a tough place to play.
    But waterloo is playing great basketball right now, regardless of where they are playing going to be a barn burner. Glad i'll be in the building that's been sold out since sunday.

  10. Anonymous 10:07, the weakest argument in all of sports is "We would have won if we had (insert player name here) in the lineup". How about this argument. Waterloo would have won the game if Jeppesen had gone there after Western instead of Mac?

    So they 'squeaked out a win vs. a team that was 80% at best'? Excuses, excuses. I would argue that with the injuries to Cam McIntyre and Alan Goodhoofd, the Warriors were 70-75% at best.

    Lakehead wins hands down? Maybe you should stop drinking your 'sour grape' wine, and look at the numbers...this will be a close game.

  11. Waterloo is playing great basketball right now ?? They limped to a playoff spot and beat a very ordinary Mac team that couldn't compete without their off-season Christmas gift Keenan Jeppesen. Maybe the stars will align and Waterloo wins again but to say they are playing great now is simply wrong. Laurier blew big leads twice against Windsor this season and if they make shots has a chance to finally win but Windsor at home in this spot is a very tough game. Overall, the OUA West is weaker this season than its been in a couple of decades. Very young league which is why things are so unpredictable.

  12. Who said they are playing great now? They played great on Wednesday, and the week before with a 19-point win over one is claiming that they should be ranked, but you have to give them some respect. Also, I will state again, when UW travelled to T-Bay earlier this season, they lost by 5 points and 4 points. Anyone who thinks this is going to be a Lakehead blowout is sorely mistaken.

    I have to HEARTILY disagree with you that the OUA is weaker this season. Parity doesn't equate to's as strong as it's been in quite some time. Mac, Lakehead, Windsor, and Laurier all spent time in the CIS Top 10, and Waterloo and Western narrowly missed it at some point this season. Remember that they're losing to EACH OTHER, the interchange games went well for the most part with the OUA West. This isn't a Carleton-Ottawa-and-the-other-6 league like the East, this division is actually comeptitive.

  13. I think this is true though...none of the teams in the OUA West this season
    are as strong as Western was last year.
    The Mustangs were perhaps the hardest hit in terms of graduation,
    and Jeppeson moving over to Mac made matters worse.
    It was a wonder they were as competitive as they were.
    The division is extremely competitive and there have been
    many surprising results, including Guelph's win in Thunder Bay.
    I think Guelph earned the dubious distinction of being the
    best last place team in the country.

  14. Forget flying, with all the praise Waterloo is getting in these posts, they should have simply walked over the waters of the great lakes to get to Thunder Bay!

    A miracle is exactly what the Warriors (14w-17L #21rpi) will need to win against the CIS#8 Lakehead Thunderwolves in the Thunderdome in the post-season!

    I hope Sean and anyone else that would: "...take Waterloo plus the points" are also Carleton fans, because come tonight... they are going to be eating "crow"!

    (honestly though... all in good fun... good luck to both teams... this will be a great game to watch! hope it's a good "stream")

  15. Walk on Not a single person in this stream has even picked the Warriors to WIN the game. The consensus 'side of the coin' argument is that they deserve respect and that this should be a competitive, exciting basketball game. I've set the line at Lakehead minus 7, remember.

  16. My guess is something like Lakehead 75, Waterloo 66.

  17. lol lakehead plus 15?

    you accidently put in a 1 in that

    Lakehead 64, Waterloo 59 on what seems to be, yet again, another late comeback

  18. Hey Anon 2:54...

    "I hope Sean and anyone else that would: "...take Waterloo plus the points" are also Carleton fans, because come tonight... they are going to be eating 'Crow'"

    'Eat crow', eh?