Men's Final 8 Preview part one: Carleton-Sask, Windsor-Ryerson

This is part one of the CIS Final 8 men's basketball preview. I wanted to have all the games in one piece, but Wednesdays and Tuesday are busy days at my student newspaper job and something came up, so I'm just finishing these. I'll be putting the others up tomorrow. I'll also be providing some takes on Saturday and Sunday from the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Note: ORtg, DRtg and NetRtg are numbers from I just found this and it's a great resource.



1. Can Saskatchewan guard the Ravens?

Only a couple teams contained Carleton all year, but they used athleticism to get the job done. I’ve watched the Huskies play and Sask reverted to a 2-3 zone a couple times because their man-to-man defence failed to limit penetration. I’m curious as to who guards Tommy Scrubb. Matt Forbes and Dadrian Collins match-up size-wise, but it is yet to be seen how they can defend the crafty T-Scrubb.

In an interview with OUA Today, head coach Barry Rawlyk said his team plans to take a balanced approach, crediting the variety of weapons the Ravens have. Sask has the second-highest DRtg in the tournament, and Carleton has the second highest ORtg. This one doesn’t look great. 

2. How will Carleton defend?

Sask doesn’t really rely on anyone for scoring, they have five players averaging double-figures. Carleton can choose to eliminate one of them from the game -- they have the personnel to do that -- but the team is balanced enough that others can shoulder the load. That being said, the Huskies like to shoot, ranking in the top ten for 3s made per game. Threes are a classic recipe for tournament upsets, and Sask has been stroking it from the land beyond. In five of their last six games, the No. 8 seed has made 10 or more 3s, and they even had a game where they shot a ridiculous 16-28. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Ravens run Sask of the line and challenge them to beat Tommy Scrubb and the combo of Jean-Emmanuel Pierre-Charles, Guillaume Payen-Boucard and, to a lesser extent, Cam Smythe.

3. What should you watch for??

I just don’t know if Sask can defend Carleton. If Carleton starts out well offensively, the Huskies may go into desperation mode. This past weekend proved that the Ravens can use Connor Wood or Victor Raso as a main weapon and still be damn efficient. Phil Scrubb is as good as he ever was, and I’m not sure about the perimeter defence of Sask, especially after watching the UBC game.

Prediction: Carleton 89, Sask 73



Regular season match-up: Nov. 15 - Ryerson won 95-75

1. Big question for Windsor: How do they score?

The Lancers offensive issues were put in the spotlight in that Carleton game. Sure, the Ravens cracked the century mark, but Windsor only scored 59. Ryerson is no Carleton defensively, but the Lancers problems are a bit internal. Mitch Farrell has struggled recently but maintained his shooting touch. Khalid Abdel-Gabar and Alex Campbell stepped up as Rotimi Osuntola Jr. was effectively eliminated in the Final Four, scoring 13 points total. But the Rams have good rim protectors and long defenders that can be disruptive on the perimeter.

Windsor used leak-outs and transition offence to score against Mac and Ottawa. Ryerson will play up-tempo, but they are comfortable playing a more controlled brand of offence too.

2. Who does Ryerson run their offence through?

Ryerson has options. Jahmal Jones and Aaron Best are solid, but Adika Peter-McNeilly has played well in the playoffs, finishing second in the scoring average. Mike Rocca and Osuntola Jr. lead the perimeter defence, but the most interesting part of the Lancers scheme is their treatment of screens. Windsor switches everything, which would make sense for a team that plays small and has swift frontcourt players. Evan Matthews does not meet that description yet it works. Teams have tried to drag Matthews out in screen-and-roll switches and then attack him in isolation but it has been less effective than you think. McMaster and Ottawa seriously struggled to get good looks because Windsor has good help instincts and a roster with guys that possess above-average closing speed. Ryerson has to figure out where they attack and what player they think will make the best decisions when they see a switch.

3. What should you watch for?

Rebounding. Rebounding. REBOUNDING.

This is the way Windsor makes up for the lack of pure scorers. They crash the boards hard, relying on their athleticism to get them extra possessions. The Lancers can keep a lot of missed shots alive, tipping it up and knocking the basketball loose. Ryerson absolutely must keep guys like Matthews and Osuntola off the offensive glass. If they do this, it will make the road to the championship side of the bracket easier.

Prediction: Ryerson 78, Windsor 69
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  1. No score prediction for Ryerson-Windsor?

    1. Oops, sorry. Forgot it in the copy and paste. Adding it now!