This weekend is the final slate of regular-season games in the OUA West. Most of the playoff picture has been set, but there is still some to be determined. Let’s take a look at this weekend’s games and what they potentially mean for the playoffs, followed by my All-Star choices for the season.
On the women’s side, Windsor and Western have locked up the #1 and #2 seeds, and a first round playoff bye. Laurier is stuck in 6th place and can’t move, but the spots 3rd through 5th are still to be determined. McMaster has a 2 point lead over Brock and Lakehead, so a win over Windsor on Saturday would clinch third place for the Marauders. A Lakehead sweep of Western could tie the Thunderwolves with the Marauders, but Mac would win out on the tiebreaker (1-1 record, +3 point differential).
In all likelihood, Windsor beats McMaster, and Brock beats Guelph to set up a tie between those two teams, which Brock would win on the tiebreaker (1-1, +7 point differential). A Lakehead sweep would vault them into 3rd place, with Brock 4th and Mac 5th. A Western sweep would have Brock in 3rd, Mac in 4th, and Lakehead in 5th. And a Lakehead-Western split would set up a three-way tie, and then let the math begin!
So, in essence, more than anything, Laurier want Western to sweep the Thunderwolves on the weekend. The last thing the Golden Hawks want is a mid-week flight to Thunder Bay for a playoff game. Keep in mind that those latter scenarios are based on Windsor (19-1) beating McMaster (13-8), but that’s anything but a sure thing. Remember that the Marauders are the only team to beat Windsor all season, and they can do it again.
On the men’s side, Lakehead and Windsor have locked up the #1 and #2 seeds, but since they are currently tied, this weekend’s games will determine who finishes 1st and who finishes 2nd. Can the Thunderwolves go wire-to-wire, or will the Lancers steal it at the buzzer, as they did in Guelph on Wednesday night? McMaster and Western are locked into 3rd and 4th place, respectively, and know they will play Waterloo and Laurier, but they don’t know which one yet. Saturday’s Waterloo-Laurier game will determine the #5 and #6 seeds. With both teams tied with a 9-11 record, the formula is quite simple, the winner will play Western in London, and the loser will travel to Hamilton for a playoff date with the Marauders.
With Lakehead playing two games and Windsor only playing one game, a number of different situations could arise, but keep this in mind: if Lakehead and Windsor are tied at the end of Saturday, Windsor will win the tiebreaker (1-1 record, +20 point differential).
Now that I’ve covered all of the playoff implications that lie with this weekend’s games, I wanted to give my choices for this season’s All-Star teams and major award winners. I will preface my selections by saying that I ‘loosely’ chose by position, and by that I mean that while I may not have followed the traditional PG-G-G-F-C formula, I chose a team where the players on the All-Star team could logically be started together on the floor at the same time and slotted into those positions. There were a couple of borderline picks that almost made my women’s and men’s All-Star teams, and while I did not pick a second team, I did list them as honourable mentions. I’m sure this will elicit a lot of conversation in the Comments section, and I look forward to your opinions and/or alternate selections.
OUA West Women’s All Stars
Taylor Smith - McMaster
Amanda Anderson - Western
Tasia McKenna – Lakehead
Renata Adamczyk – Laurier
Jessica Clemencon – Windsor
MVP – Amanda Anderson
Rookie of the Year – Jessica Clemencon
Coach of the Year – Chantal Vallée – Windsor
Honourable Mentions (Katelyn Leddy – Western, Jasmine Douglas – Guelph, Shavaun Reaney - Windsor)
OUA West Men’s All-Stars
Isaac Kuon – Windsor
Clinton Springer-Williams – Brock
Jay Mott – Guelph
Keenan Jeppesen – McMaster
Andrew Wedemire – Western
MVP – Keenan Jeppesen
Rookie of the Year – Clinton Springer-Williams
Coach of the Year – Scott Morrison – Lakehead
Honourable Mentions (Ryan Barbeau – Western, Jamie Searle – Lakehead, Jesse McDonald – Laurier)
A couple of quick comments on my selections to head you off at the pass. I know I picked no players from the Lakehead men’s team, who has led the OUA West for the entire season. But my point is that they have done it as a team, with no real standout performances. If I could pick the team as an All-Star, I would. And yes, I picked Jay Mott as a first team All-Star from a last place team. I would argue that no player in the OUA West was more vital to their team than Mott was to the Gryphons this season. While the Gryphons only had 5 wins, they had 11 other winnable games, almost all of which were due to Mott’s performance on the court. Also, I think Shavaun Reaney is the top guard in the league not named Smith, Anderson, or McKenna. I couldn’t justify 3 point guards on the All-Star team.
The MVP, Rookies of the Year, and Coach of the Year awards (on both sides) are all no-brainers to me, and keep in mind that I do NOT subscribe to the belief that first place team = Coach of the Year. But Windsor’s dominance warrants a second straight win for Chantal Vallée, and Lakehead’s surprise surge into a top team in this division gives the award to Scott Morrison. I’d love to hear arguments for any other MVP, ROTY, or COTY choices.