Men's Basketball 2013 Outlook: Ryerson Rams

Our look at the 2013 portion of the men's basketball schedule continues with the Ryerson Rams.

Record: 8-0 conference (1st, OUA East), 12-2 overall, +14.3 SRS (2nd in CIS)

Offensive/Defensive Efficiency (CIS Rank): 107.4 ORtg (4th), 85.6 DRtg (2nd)

First half highlights:
First half recap: It was a peachy coming out party for Ryerson in 2012, with their massive Wilson Cup quarterfinal upset of Lakehead last March spilling over into a brilliant first semester. And the numbers suggest this isn't just a hot run — this is a very, very good team that's ready to contend for nationals this season. The young core of third-year players Jahmal Jones, Jordon Gauthier and Bjorn Michaelsen has been brilliant, while Aaron Best has showed flashes of monstrous potential. They also haven't gotten a game from York transfer Ostap Choliy yet. So, once again, very, very good.

What makes them good: Having a top-5 offence and defence usually translates to good basketball. And despite having a young team full of good (no, really good) athletes, the Rams play a fairly deliberate pace and are able to score well in the halfcourt. Jones (25.6 PER), Michaelsen (24.6, with a 65% eFG) and Gauthier (25.7) have all been fantastic, while Aaron Best, whose breakout game on national TV last spring against Lakehead wowed CIS hoops observers nationwide, continues to look like a potential star (see his 34 points on 18 shots against McMaster). The crazy thing about this Ryerson defence is that they don't do it by forcing tons of turnovers (a rate of 19%, just 32nd in the country). They keep teams from taking and making efficient shots. Teams have shot just 25% on threes this season against the Rams, and have rebounded less than 24% of their missed shots — which puts Ryerson's defensive rebounding rate behind just Carleton, Acadia, and UBC nationwide.

What they need to improve on: Really, not much. This is a well-rounded team. Every available stat shows this is a top-tier defensive quad (that opponents' 38% eFG is sweet) who can hold their own on the glass. The numbers may regress slightly against better OUA East teams, or just in general, but if they can keep doing what they've been doing, great things lie ahead for this young team.

Goals/Outlooks/Scenarios: It's too bad this team plays in the same division as Carleton, because they might be the second-best squad in the country. Of course, it's possible they knock off Carleton, but it's also unlikely they can beat them twice while winning the rest of their games, a feat they'd need to pull off in order to guarantee a spot at the Final 8. Realistically, they'll need to hold off Ottawa and then win (at least) one game at the Wilson Cup Final Four to have a shot at nationals. That's a tough task, but should they pull it off, the sky's the limit.
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