Basketball: Final 8, notes from the morning after

A couple tidbits over a late breakfast and the Syracuse-Gonzaga game. Thanks to CBS for pointing out a lot of Canadians go to sports events in Buffalo.
  • It is worth noting now: Our panel did six possible brackets, and four had Saskatchewan as the No. 2 seed and the other two had the Huskies third. No one put UBC higher.

  • TSN2 might have to make the whole crowd move to one side of Scotiabank Place for the Saskatchewan-UBC final. The attendance has been that sparse and now the host team has bounced.

    There's never any one reason or excuse for a lukewarm turnout. Here's a few in random order:

    1. The ripple of recession. Spending habits are always behind the economy.

      The economy has affected press row, so no reason that wouldn't be different up in the stands. There are the local sportswriters such as Wayne Kondro of the Ottawa Citizen and Dan Plouffe of the Orleans Star, but the only out-of-town print reporter I've seen is the Toronto Star's Doug Smith (and it's great the lead NBA writer at Canada's largest newspaper came!).

      Only about 60% of CIS men's basketball coaches came; typically it's about 90%. UQAM was the lone team followed by a hometown radio crew (our friend Alex Tourigny from CHOQ-FM).

    2. Blame Canada. This is more of a hypothetical thanks to our version of NCAA (some have joked CIS could be called the National Curmudgeons Against Athletes) won't allow scholarships. I'll say it: Do you think there would be 6,000 people at our national championship if some or all of the six Canadians playing in the Gonzaga-Syracuse game were all playing in CIS?

    3. Timing. Why go out if you can watch the NCAA Tournament on TV? It's also March break.

    4. Location, location, location. In Ottawa, you're breaking the fourth wall if you mention Scotiabank Place is so far from things such as the city centre, the nightlife, and after 4 p.m., people.

      It is that much of a sore spot for the movers and shakers with the Senators and Capital Sports. The remoteness of SBP rears it head when there is less than 100% motivation for bandwagon fans. That has been the case this season with the Sennies (tied for sixth in the NHL's Eastern Conference). Carleton wasn't trying to extend a string of titles or get it back, and the Ottawa Gee-Gees missed the tourney.

    5. Marketing. It always comes back to that, does it not?

    6. Luck of the draw. One selling point for Ottawa was noting how many teams were within a reasonable driving distance. This season, the Gee-Gees missed the tournament. Lakehead and Windsor came from the OUA West, a far cry from having Brock and Western in 2008. The Quebec rep, UQAM, didn't seem to have a huge student section.

    7. Typical Ottawa. Go ahead, say it.

  • Saskatchewan flat out deserved its 86-82 semifinal win over Carleton, executing Greg Jockims' game plan (make threes on offense, take the three-ball away from the Ravens, battle them to a draw on the boards) almost perfectly.

  • This is one Ontarian who is issuing a mea culpa to the Huskies, win or lose vs. UBC. The lead-horse phenomenon tends to kick in and for much of the season, that was the T-Birds.

  • The rub is it's close on Saturday if Carleton shoots 25% from three-point land. They were 1-for-16 from three, not counting a 30-some-footer Mike Kenny threw in at the buzzer.

  • The Huskies' Showron Glover is playing for a national title and his NCAA namesake Sherron Collins of Kansas is not. It was a rough Saturday for top seeds with ornithological nicknames, since the Jayhawks and Ravens each lost. (And yes, there is an Ottawa, Kansas.)

  • Canada West will have its first W.P. McGee Trophy since 2002 (the last time the Ravens were not in the tournament).

  • It was also the first time since 2000, Dave Smart's first season at the helm, that Carleton had a season-ending loss that was more than a one-possession game. They lost by two to Acadia in '08, by two to York in '02 and by a point on a buzzer shot vs. McMaster in '01.

  • Smart, the one who did call the Huskies "the best team here," was sanguine after his team's loss. "I went through the handshake line and I turned around and all 13 guys were picking up the (used) cups and putting them in the garbage. Maybe that's part of my problem, I need to recruit more pricks."

    Smart always says it's about the character of the people associated with his Ravens, their willingness to be brutally honest with themselves. Championships and praise all just an off-shoot. Go ahead, be a cynic, but it's true. Carleton likely won't win five in a row again, but they will not quit, ever. A lot of teams would have when they were down 15 with 14 minutes left in the game.
Enjoy the game, friends.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


  1. Which quality teams did Cape Breton beat in order to justify its #2 seed? How about Carleton and their #1 seed? Was their seed and #1 ranking a nod to its previous 7 years, and not so much about this year's team? The Ravens certainly looked like a good, but anything but great, team yesterday.

  2. I forgot to add: Get this great tournament moved up a week in order to avoid conflicting with March Madness.

  3. I'm reading the Ottawa Sun and Smart is quoted "Maybe that is part of my problem, I need to recruit differently." Was the "prick" cleaned up for aesthetics, because it really changes the interpretation of what he said?

  4. I think it may have worked against Carleton to play in Ottawa. Hindsight is 20-20, but being at home presents challenges in that you are around family and friends, people asking for tickets, more local media distraction, added pressure and basically just more distractions. Being on the road as a team allowed Coach Smart to creat that seige mentality that he fosters so well. It was us against the world and he got the players to narrow their focus. Much tougher to do that at home, when everyone goes their own way after the games.

  5. People asking for tickets? You have gotta be kidding! Can't you come up with a better excuse than that? Perhaps if the players were obligated to sell some tickets to this event you might have a "challenge" argument. It's an advantage to be at home, period.

  6. Vic,

    Saskatchewan, McMaster, Laurier, Windsor (x2), Toronto (x2), and Ottawa (x3) were the top-10 teams Carleton beat this year. They lost to one top-10 team: Lakehead. 10-1

    I assume you think UBC should have been #1 seed. They beat Windsor, TWU (x2), Saskatchewan, Calgary, and Simon Fraser (x2). They lost to Simon Fraser and Saskatchewan. 7-2

    No team played, and beat, a wide selection of top-10 teams from around the nation.

  7. A Raven Maniac3/21/2010 11:03 pm

    Who are you suggesting should be # 1

  8. Never seen a player leave game with four fouls and run too change room and change and come back and sulk on bench and watch his team gut it out and compete . Number 10 for UBC just did it. I thought leaders were their to lead and think of the team not themselves . What a disgrace . (he probably say he was injured ) Never seen any thing like it. (Once maybe with 5 year olds.)

  9. #10 sat in the stands part way up the 100 level seats by himself for most of the 3rd quarter.

    He returned to the bench (2nd row behind the players bench) for the remainder of the 4th quarter.

    I thought he may have gotten ejected for a second flagrant foul as he had one in the first half, but I did not see it and was hoping for a game report as to why he was in the stands for most of the 2nd half.

  10. I really can't say who should have been seeded/ranked #1. The only reason I raised the issue is because 2 weeks ago, after Sask. knocked off then #1 UBC in Vancouver, some comments were made on this site saying that UBC shouldn't get a wild card into this tournament because of a "soft schedule". Well, all 3 CanWest teams advanced to the semis, and they never lost a game to an out of conference opponent. I will say that, while it wouldn't have changed the match-ups, it seemed strange to me that Sask was seeded below Windsor.

  11. Was it a 2nd flagrant foul, or a technical foul that got #10 tossed? He was really running his mouth after the foul that was called against him.

  12. It was a second flagrant.

    And for the record, I left in the "pricks" for the Sun and it was changed. I don't ask why.

  13. You mean a tabloid rag, er, well respected news journal that has suggestively
    posed "sunshine" girls would have serious issues with the word "pricks"?

    Apparently, someone doesn't appreciate Smart's sardonic sense of humour.

  14. See your point and will raise you by saying the standards for what's allowable has really been tightened the past year or so. It was on deadline and someone must have said, better safe than sorry.

    It was a good line from Mr. Smart, so I used it.

    Again, I don't ask why it appeared the way it did, any more than I would ask why they picked a certain photo or headline. You just don't show people whom you have to work with up by second-guessing when you weren't there.

    I just write the articles when I am reporting. Once 'send' is hit, it is out of my hands.