With one full weekend left in the regular season, seeds in the OUA playoffs aren’t necessarily set in stone—even though the Carleton Ravens (21–0) will probably run the rest of the regular season table. But the good teams are in the right places.
The picture in the OUA West is almost clear. The Lakehead Thunderwolves (16–4) will take the division and a bye week; the Windsor Lancers (14–6) are also poised to get a bye. What is less predictable in the west is the third to sixth seed shuffling. Specifically, the sixth seed. The division’s bottom-feeders, the Brock Badgers, Guelph Gryphons, and—wait for it—the Waterloo Warriors (all of them at 8–12 after 20 games) are all mathematically still alive and looking to win their way in.
Of this group, the Badgers are the team I’m least impressed with. I really like this squad, but bad showings this weekend have created this minor quagmire of competition. They went 0–2 this week, losing to the Thunderwolves twice. On Friday, a 69–59 Wolves win was dictated by a 26–18 fourth quarter. Even though the Wolves turned the ball over 17 times, they shot a better percentage (38 per cent overall, 33 per cent from the 3-stripe); Brock shot only 28 per cent from the field and 19 per cent from deep. Lakehead's Ryan Thomson led all scorers with 14 points.
On Saturday, the Wolves had a better numbers game. Although they were out-rebounded 37–31, the Wolves’ 78–59 win was defined by their high-octane offence. They shot 48 per cent from the field and won three of four quarters, keeping the Badgers from scoring no more than 19 points in any quarter.
The Warriors feel the Badgers’ pain. For those who forgot about the Warriors, they have somehow kept pace with their peers in Guelph and St. Catharines. But they do need to take control of their own fate, and an 0–2 weekend is not a good showing. They had the toughest schedule of the three squads, first losing to the Lancers 109–80. Lancer forward Isaac Kuon led the squad with 25 points. They also lost to the Western Mustangs (10–10) 94–80, in a game where the Warriors were leading after the first half of the game, 43–37. Four Warriors posted double digit points.
The Gryphons enjoyed a 1–1 weekend, beating the 12-8 Laurier Golden Hawks 73–72 last Wednesday, and losing to the 11-9 McMaster Marauders 96–92.
The last week will be a fun one to watch, I can guarantee you that.
By the way, the top six teams in the OUA East should be in the postseason, and will work out their seedings next week. In what I shall refer to as the “Raven Division” for the time being, the Ravens have a 14-point cushion on their closest division rival: the Toronto Varsity Blues (14–7). The Ravens solidified their division win (yes, I’m calling it) with a decisive win at the Blues gym, 102–75 Friday night. Dave Smart’s Ravens also thumped the Ryerson Rams (10–11) 100–62.
For those who did not see them coming, the Ottawa Gee-Gees (11–10) have recovered from bad luck and a 1–3 start to rise to third in the East. They are in a serious groove, going 2–0 this weekend, also beating the Rams and Varsity Blues.