Men's Basketball 2013 Outlook: Ottawa Gee-Gees

Next up: the Ottawa Gee-Gees. Our series will continue tomorrow as we finish off the OUA, with teams from the other conferences to follow soon after.

Record: 7-1 conference (t-2nd, OUA East), 12-5 overall, +9.7 SRS (8th in CIS)

Offensive/Defensive Efficiency (CIS Rank): 106.2 (8th), 90.7 DRtg (9th)

First half highlights:
  • A convincing 15-point win over Lakehead.
  • An 84-62 blowout of McMaster in which they shot 52% from the field.
  • Warren Ward's 43-point explosion in a road win over Laurier.
First half recap: It's been mostly clear sailing for Ottawa so far, with the lone mark on their record a close road loss to Windsor. Apart from that game, no one has been closer than seven points to the Gee-Gees, and their four 15-plus point wins include victories over decent teams like Lakehead and McMaster.

What makes them good: Ottawa's top-10 ranks on offence and defence give them the look of a solid contender. Led by their dynamic duo, the Gee-Gees have been able to get plenty of good shots in and around the paint, and are shooting 53% on two-pointers, second-best in the country. Ward has long been one of the country's premier scorers, and he showed why in taking over that game against Laurier, while third-year guard Johnny Berhanemeskel has continued to improve, giving the team a two-headed monster that has broken down opposing defences with ease. The two each account for around a quarter of their team's possessions when they're on the court, and why not? Berhanemeskel is shooting 44.2% from three and has a true shooting percentage of 64, while Ward's 29.1 PER ranks him among the elite once again. All signs point to this team being sustainably good and competitive with Ryerson for the second spot in the East (Sorry, Rams, Carleton's going to finish first).

What they need to improve on: Some improved outside shooting aside from Ward and Berhanemeskel will be crucial. No other Gee-Gee is shooting better than 31% from three, and fellow starters Vikas Gill (47 TS%) and Mike L'Africain (43 TS%) will need to be more legitimate threats to open up space Ward and Berhanemeskel can take advantage of to create offence.

Goals/Outlooks/Scenarios: Dueling with Ryerson for the second spot in the East is a realistic goal. That would give the Gee-Gees a shot at the Wilson Cup final four, where, as Ryerson showed last year, anything can happen. It would be a great story for Warren Ward to finish his career at nationals in Ottawa.
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