Same format as the men's:

      Semi Final Champ
1 WSR  94.5   83.7   56.2 
2 SMU  74.4   63.1   31.2 
7 ALB  25.6   17.0    4.7
3 SSK  82.5   18.9    3.9 
4 MCG  59.7    9.7    2.6
5 UFV  40.3    4.9    1.0 
8 WLU   5.5    1.7    0.2 
6 QUE  17.5    1.1    0.1 

The playoff results in Canada West, where Alberta finished third behind Saskatchewan and Fraser Valley, require the strange scenario of a 7 seed being third-most likely to win, and the 2 seed having with a tougher matchup in Round 1 than in Round 2.

Some may give Laurier half of the home bonus, being relatively close to the site of the tournament, but they are treated the same as any non-Windsor team here.

The quarterfinal matchups, viewable at, are:

Fri Mar 14
1:00pm ET - (7) Alberta vs. (2) SMU (predicted score: SMU 68-63)
3:00pm ET - (6) Queen's vs. (3) Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan 66-56)
6:00pm ET - (8) Laurier at (1) Windsor (Windsor 80-48)
8:00pm ET - (5) UFV vs. (4) McGill (McGill 59-55)
We'll start with the tournament odds, in the same format as, once again:

      Semi Final Champ
2 CAR  96.8   80.8   71.3 
1 OTT  84.2   64.6   13.9 
3 ALB  94.8   18.6   11.7 
4 VIC  78.9   26.2    2.6 
8 SSK  15.8    6.4    0.4
7 MAC   3.2    0.5    0.1 
5 MCG  21.1    2.8    0.1 
6 SMU   5.3    0.1    0.0 

Hard not to call this a runaway for Carleton, last Saturday's result notwithstanding. It's also almost like they designed this bracket to dispatch the bottom four teams as quickly as possible, giving the 4 seed the second-easiest opponent and all but guaranteeing us Carleton-Alberta and Ottawa-Victoria semifinals.

The rule about conference winners in the top 6 doesn't really matter in this tournament because the seedings generally don't matter as much as who's on your side of the bracket. (Picture the Elite Eight in the NCAA, and ask yourself the last time it mattered what number was next to a team's name at that point.) Suppose we swapped Carleton with McGill, something that nobody would ever do. McGill's odds of winning the tournament go from 0.1% to ... 0.1%. Odds of reaching the final go from 2.8% to 3.8%. Or how about swapping SMU and Mac? That would give Mac a better chance at a first-round win, sure, but nothing else. So someone being 6 vs. 8 or 1 vs. 2 is not hugely important here.

And as for the games themselves, here are the predicted scores and a summary for each matchup (* denotes top-50 players in our preliminary player rankings):

(3) Alberta vs. (6) Saint Mary's, 12:30pm EST
Alberta 85, SMU 72 (95%)
Alberta starters: Youssef Ouahrig, Sahr Saffa, Joel Friesen, Todd Bergen-Henengouwen, Jordan Baker*
SMU starters: Boyd Vassell*, Brian Rouse, Theon Reefer*, Riley Halpin, Harry Ezenibe

Not quite "the McMuffin Classic" game for Barnaby Craddock this time around, but a 10:30am MT tipoff seems odd, especially when the other team is coming from Halifax.

SMU averaged ten possessions more per game than Alberta did this year, easily the biggest gap in pace of play among any of the matchups here. AUS play is known for a high pace almost throughout the league, but with a likely path of Alberta and Carleton here, the east Huskies will not just run into a much more difficult opponent than they've faced, but a very different type of game as well. They're either a team who peaked late or a team that got lucky in two games (you can guess which one they think they are). Supporters will point to the close game they played with Carleton; detractors will say that they needed OT to beat Regina (33rd in SRS) and lost to Brock (44th) three weeks later.

Also look for Kenneth Otieno off the bench for the U of A; he averages 25 MPG and is the other top-50 Golden Bear in this game along with Baker.

(2) Carleton vs. (7) McMaster, 2:30pm EST
Carleton 90, McMaster 66 (97%)
Carleton starters: Philip Scrubb*, Clinton Springer-Williams*, Thomas Scrubb*, Tyson Hinz*, Kevin Churchill*
McMaster starters: Aaron Redpath*, Joe Rocca*, Rohan Boney, Taylor Black*, Nathan McCarthy

The Ravens have six of the top 50; the sixth, Victor Raso, is not unknown to his opponents.

It's the Best Carleton Team EverTM but also one that has had at least four close calls this year, and three of those teams are here. At McMaster in November, they needed to run an episode of The Phil Scrubb Show when the originally-scheduled beatdown was cancelled. If this game is half as entertaining as that game was, it'll be about the best you can expect from a Carleton quarterfinal.

(4) Victoria vs. (5) McGill, 5:30pm EST
Victoria 72, McGill 66 (79%)
Victoria starters: Marcus Tibbs, Kyle Peterson, Reiner Theil, Terrell Evans*, Chris McLaughlin*
McGill starters: Simon Bibeau, Vincent Dufort, Dele Ogundokun, Michael Peterkin, Francois Bourque

Yes, the winner in this one is predicted to score just 72 points, compared to 85, 90, and 91 in the others. No, the Redmen don't have any top-50 players (nothing against M. Bibeau). Yes, I'm also interested to see how a lineup of five players all between 6-2 and 6-5 can go up against that UVic frontcourt.

(1) Ottawa vs. (8) Saskatchewan, 8:00pm EST
Ottawa 91, Saskatchewan 75 (84%)
Ottawa starters: Mike L'Africain, Johnny Berhanemeskel*, Terry Thomas*, Caleb Agada, Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue
Saskatchewan: Stephon Lamar*, Andrew Henry, Dadrian Collins, Ben Baker, Matt Forbes

Probably the most entertaining game. Not that close, but very high-scoring: these teams are 2nd and 5th nationwide in per-possession scoring, but only 17th and 22nd in per-possession defence. The Huskies apparently "weren’t necessarily planning on going" before they got the call as the wildcard team. Barry Rawlyk likes being on the opposite side of the bracket from Carleton, Alberta, and McMaster. Wouldn't you?
TORONTO — The best part was how one didn't see it coming, thought maybe Johnny Berhanemeskel and Terry Thomas and the Ottawa Gee-Gees had let Carleton get away again.

Someone with a more mathematical bent might have to figure what the odds are that a Carleton Ravens team would ever cough up a 10-point lead with 3½ minutes to play. Yet it happened, since these Gees close out opponents' possessions better than any garnet-and-grey gang in recent memory and also finish with flair. Score, get a stop, score and get a stop — "to be honest, it's all a blur" — coach James Derouin said — and suddenly Ottawa had a chance to win, down one with 6.8 seconds left.

That's when, fittingly, Berhanemeskel, making up for an air-balled three a minute earlier, put up the fadeaway while being fouled, over Clinton Springer-Williams, with 0.5 seconds left. That gave Ottawa not only the Wilson Cup, but its first win over the colossus that is Carleton since 2007.

"They switched the ball screens and he still got it up over three people on the fadeaway," said Ottawa coach James Derouin, whose team is 36-2 in CIS play this season, with both losses against you-know-who. "Johnny's an incredible kid, he's an incredible player. There's no better guy to hit that shot.

"Some of these guys have played four years here and never beat 'em, You can imagine what that is like in Ottawa. 'How did you against Carleton?' 'We're 32-3.' 'But how did you do against Carleton?' For these guys, it's pretty special to tell them we beat 'em in an OUA final."

Berhanemeskel finished with 30 points on 13-of-28 shooting. Terry Thomas chipped in 17 and nine rebounds for Ottawa, while glue guy extraordinaire Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue's 12 points including two tough buckets during the game-ending 13-2 run. Tyson Hinz had a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double for Carleton (30-1 in CIS play). THomas Scrubb hadded 21, while Philip Scrubb, facing a rotating cast of defenders such as Caleb Agada and Mehdi Tihani, had 13 points on a 3-of-12 night and six turnovers
Ottawa, which lost by more than 20 in both regular season games vs. Carleton, talked about merely wanting to give the Ravens their best game. They've said that so many times and been unable to summon it, yet on Saturday, albeit by the slimmest margin, they rose to the level demanded of a team that shares a city with a

"It's honestly one of the biggest motivators you can have, it makes you wake up every day wanting to watch tape, wanting to get in the gym, wanting to lift weights," Berhanemeskel said. "Obviously we would have wanted to win games against them earlier, but I wouldn't change the last four years for anything. It's made me the person I am today and made our team what it is today. Our culture is definitely evolving.
"We didn't want to lose the game just because of a couple missed shots or some foul calls.

Carleton lost the Wilson Cup in 2007 and '11 after its Final 8 ticket was already purchased, so who knows what this will mean. Ottawa has the OUA banner but Carleton took the season series 2-1 with a plus-44 point differential. But the wins were on Nov. 29 and Jan. 22, not on March 1.

"That was a wake-up call [against Lakehead in 2011], this one, I think it is what it is," said Smart, whose program is 129-3 vs. CIS teams during the Scrubb era. "They're a good team, they're better than us.

"The seeds are the seeds," Smart added. "They just beat us, so if they get the No. 1 seed, it's not going to upset me. We have the body of work — maybe — but if you put either one of us No. 1, I don't think it's going to upset either one of us. I think they're a great team. They're awesome."

Carleton was out in front from the mid-second quarter onward, save for a brief spurt in the third when Ottawa took a 46-45 edge that lasted all of one possession. The Ravens shot an effective 50 per cent for the night (25-for-59, including 9-for-21 on threes), but Ottawa's ball movement (a mere nine turnovers) and acumen with earning extra shots kept it in contact. Nevertheless, some open looks that wouldn't go down created the impression Ottawa might have to be satisfied with merely having played well without getting the result.

"You just keep trying to forget the losses, whether it was 12 or 13 in a row," Derouin said. "I just didn't feel like we played well the last two times that we played. I thought we were competing all game today and it went back and forth and we had a shot to win it at the end."

A Gee-Gees team often believed to be leaky defensively because its high pace factor often means it plays in the 80s also turned up the pressure in the fourth, with Gonthier-Dubue and Agada closing off lanes. Carleton scored only once in the final four minutes, on a hard drive by Hinz with 6.8 seconds left. That was when Ottawa showed if a team gets enough chances, eventually it will make good on one.

"Experience is the best teacher," said Berhanemeskel, the fourth-year shooting guard and grad of Lester B. Pearson in Gloucester. "The guys who have got us here, [former star] Warren [Ward], the fans and family who have got us here, we're here because of them and we're sharing this moment from them, from the beginning.

"It's just indescribable right now. All I can do is just laugh and get ready to play next weekend and share the moment with these guys."

Right, there is still the Final 8. It was almost easy to overlook that while seeing Ottawa cut down the nets at Mattamy Athletic Centre.
TORONTO — In what could be the final game for the trio with the most regular season wins in Windsor Lancers history, Enrico Diloreto, Josh Collins and Lien Phillip faltered.

McMaster prevailed 93-89 behind a late fourth-quarter and overtime rally in the OUA Bronze medal match, and the three fifth-years on Windsor combined for 20 turnovers.

Diloreto shot 2-9 and the Collins-Phillip duo both shot 5-14.

Windsor owned a 10-point lead early in the third quarter, but Mac would slowly chip away at the lead. Like last night, the marauders did not have production from their main offensive weapons – Taylor Black and Joe Rocca. Black shot 2-11 and Rocca only shot 2-4.

Mac’s Trevon McNeil made a three with 13 seconds remaining, putting McMaster up 81-79. Collins got fouled with .7 and cashed in two free throws to send it to OT.

Adam Presutti nailed two threes and hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left to put McMaster up four and put the final result at 93-89.

It was the play of Leon Alexander on Phillip that was the game-changer. Alexander, a transfer from a United States junior college, is listed at six-foot-five but was able to bother the six-foot-11 Phillip and force ten turnovers and 5-14 shooting night.

Lancers coach was disappointed with the team’s performance, pointing to missed free throws (20-32) and turnovers as the issues.

“You pretty much do it to yourself sometimes. Full credit to Mac, they played well enough to win the game,” said Oliver. “That was not our best effort and this team is good enough to be at Nationals. There’s a lot of disappointment in that locker room.”

For Mac, it was a goal realized. Making it to the CIS Final 8 has been the repeated and seldom goal of the Marauders, and with the victory, they book a spot at the tournament. McMaster was the most local school in the Final Four and was well supported. Head coach Amos Connolly immediately praised the fans post-game.

“It was nice to have those people there and their support, especially after yesterday,” said Connolly. The Maroon and Grey had to battle numerous times, after being down seven at half, a bizarre non-time-out that was turned into a media time-out, and the foul with .7 seconds left where Collins tied the game.

Rookie Trevon McNeil has been outstanding all weekend. He led the team in minutes against Windsor, logging 35 in the OT affair. McNeil also dropped a game-high 23 points on 7-13 shooting.

Moving forward, the Lancers are an outside shot to make the CIS Final 8. Rotimi Osuntola Jr., the new “cornerstone” of the team according to Oliver, did his best to make up for the failings of the seniors. His energy, rebounding and consistency made him the lone bright spot. Osuntola Jr. shot 10-15 from the field, knocked home two threes for 23 points and led the game with 11 rebounds. He only committed two turnovers in 38 minutes of play.

McMaster will grab a lower seed after finishing third in the OUA. Ottawa and Carleton will be the other OUA representatives.
TORONTO — The Mattamy Athletic Centre seemed poised to host a classic battle between two OUA heavyweights, but instead saw a dazzling scoring performance and end-to-end dominance.

In a 101-68 win, the Ottawa Gee-Gees showed just why they have been the No. 2-ranked team for the majority of the 2013-14 season. The OUA West leading McMaster Marauders had no answer for the barrage, as Ottawa shot 38-57 from the field – good for 56.7%.

“I think today, we showed offence and defence, which is a change for us,” said Gee-Gee guard, Mike L’Africain. “[Mac] played hard but we have so many weapons out there. Our offence, to be honest, feels like it’s always clicking.”

L’Africain started out the game shooting 5-6 overall and 4-5 from deep. His shots came on difficult looks, through a mixture of pull-up jumpers, step-back threes and corner long-balls, especially difficult in a cavernous gym.

Ottawa head coach James Derouin was cautious about the win, pointing to McMaster’s inability to make shots at the free-throw line (11-26) as a sign that the game could have been closer than the box score shows. The dazzling field goal percentage didn’t surprise him, though.

“We felt confident coming in. I felt that because we had played here – we had a great shoot-around, great warm-up, great practice upstairs… Now, we have to reload for tomorrow,” said the coach.

It’s Derouin’s fourth year as the head coach of the Gee-Gees, and he’s created an offensive powerhouse. Johnny Berhanemeskel led the team in scoring, dropping 26 points on 11-14 shooting, L’Africain was behind him with 19 points and Terry Thomas – a St. F-X transfer – finished right behind him with 17 points. The highlight of the game was a Thomas slam over Rohan Boney.

With the victory, Ottawa earns a berth in the CIS Final 8. Just getting a spot in the tournament isn’t enough for the bench boss of 2013’s CIS Bronze medal winners.

“A No. 1 ranking at Nationals is the key to success. Even if we do end up two or three, there is nothing better than getting a No. 1 seed and a lighter first game,” explained Derouin.

The OUA West Coach of the Year Amos Connolly was surprisingly upbeat in the post-game interview, accepting defeat at the hands of a better team.

“That’s life, I’ve been here before,” said Connolly first to the media scrum. “I don’t think our guys weren’t ready to play. I don’t mean they weren’t ready to play, I think we weren’t in the right place. Is that our conference, is that our style of play or the way we practice?”

But Mac still has an opportunity to play in to the CIS Final 8, should they win tomorrow’s game against the Windsor Lancers. The numbers were ugly across the board for the Marauders: 25-67 from the field, 7-21 from three 11-26 at the line. Connolly pointed out that the teams tied in shots attempted, turnovers and only lost the rebounding battle by six.

Top scorers for Mac were Nathan McCarthy and Trevon McNeil, who both scored 14 points. Taylor Black and Joe Rocca – fresh off OUA First Team All-Star nods – had zero and two points, respectively. They combined for 1-12 shooting.

Ottawa will now face off against Carleton, and the Ravens own the only two losses on the Gee-Gees record. The margin of victory for the reigning Wilson Cup champions is 45 points in two games. Windsor will play Mac for the Final 8 berth, and less importantly, OUA Bronze.

Stray observations:

  • McMaster forward Taylor Black said before the game that Terry Thomas could struggle with the athletes Mac has on the perimeter. Thomas said he didn’t have a tough time with the Marauders, and when asked if Mac was defensively easier to prepare for than Ryerson, he said “definitely.” He also said that Mac runs “about three offensive sets,” while Ryerson runs about ten.
  • The game was televised on Sportsnet One, which is a specialty channel not offered in most basic cable packages. Sportsnet Ontario was showing Friday Night Hockey: Owen Sound @ London, while Sportsnet 360 was showing WWE Smackdown. Interesting to see a product trying to grow in a market where students are careful where they spend money stashed on a channel that costs extra cash.
  • McMaster was the closest school to the Ryerson gym, and they could not fill a bus for students to make the hour-long ride down. Still, the fans that did attend were the most vocal group in the building before being effectively muted by a strong Gee-Gee first quarter.
  • The crowd in attendance was much older than I expected. Granted, it is my first Final Four I’ve seen live, but the average age was north of 40. Does the OUA have a demographic problem?
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