OUA wrap-up, and a talk about Final 8 seeding

After one of the tighter semifinals I can remember, the bronze and Wilson Cup games ended in anti-climactic fashion.

First, Ottawa finally returned to form against Ryerson, winning 79-66. It took them until the third quarter -- with Johnny Berhanemeskel dragging his team along until then -- for Ottawa to get back to their typical up-tempo, ball-swinging ways that we have seen all season.

The Rams were never really able to make their imprint on this game, I thought. Yes, they got to the line 21 times, but when Ottawa was drifting, Ryerson failed to take over. Credit the Gee-Gees defence  though; Ryerson shot 38% from the floor and 5-17 from three.

Berhanemeskel blew the game open by engaging the Ottawa crowd with 13 straight points in the middle of the third. After that, Montpetit Hall was rocking and the Gee-Gees would start to click.

Ottawa held a 54-46 lead after three and then won the fourth quarter 25-20 to beat Ryerson 79-66.

This means the Gee-Gees are OUA bronze medallists, but more importantly, have a chance at a higher seed. More on that in a bit.

Carleton ends Windsor's Wilson Cup hopes with authority

The Ravens have won their 9th Wilson Cup in the past 13 years, blowing out the Lancers, 103-59.

A monster second quarter from Carleton was the difference. They dropped 39 points in the period by crashing the glass and getting multiple looks on their offensive trips. Down 61-38, Windsor never really had a chance in the second.

Carleton started the second half with an 18-2 run, effectively sealing the championship.

Victor Raso was the stand-out Raven, dropping 21 points on 5-6 shooting from the floor, 4-5 from three, and 7-8 from the line. It's the second night in a row where a non-Scrubb has stepped up in a major way. The idea of putting more offensive responsibility on the non-Scrubb players has looked like a bad one, as Connor Wood and Raso have put up excellent numbers with increased touches.

When Windsor beat Carleton in the regular season, they crushed them on the glass. Carleton flipped that today, out-boarding the Lancers 52-29 (!!!).

I tried to pump the brakes a bit in my preview post about Windsor's rebounding abilities. Yes, Windsor is the number one rebounding team in the conference, but when you look at rebounding percentage, Windsor wasn't much different than Ottawa. Part of that is because Windsor shoots a significantly worse percentage, giving them more opportunities on the offensive glass. As Windsor held opponents to low shooting percentages, the same can be applied to defensive rebounds. This isn't a criticism of them, it's just a fact.

I think Dave Smart's team did a much better job on the glass for a couple of reasons; 1) they were probably just simply better prepared to hit the glass, and you saw better boxing out 2) it was team-wide rebounding instead of two main players. Raso and Guillaume Boucard had nine boards each. In the regular season game, that pair only had four rebounds total.

Let's talk about seeds 

Bold, bold prediction: this is the last year we see the Acadia rule, meaning, conference champs can't get seeded lower than 6.

Why? Because the issue is simply too large to go unaddressed. As Dave Smart points out in Neate Sager's recap from last night that rule is from a different time:

"The [Top 6] rule was put in originally when it was a 10-team tournament and we didn't want conference winners to have to play on Thursday night," added Smart, whose Ravens won the OUA Wilson Cup with a 103-59 win over Windsor on Saturday night at Montpetit Hall in Ottawa. "Then we went back to eight teams and at that point, the seeding should be the seeding, but it stayed in ... now we should just rank the teams 1-8." 
And now, look at the quality of conference champion. Dalhousie is 10-10 in AUS regular season play.  Bishop's was 8-8 in their RSEQ regular season. What makes those .500 teams look worse is when you consider how the conference performed against other leagues.

RSEQ finished 6th of 8 CIS basketball divisions. This treats the OUA and CW divisions as separate groups, which is fair because the sizes are the same. The Quebec conference did not beat a top-ten opponent in non-conference. Bishop's didn't win a game against non-RSEQ competition. Also relevant: RSEQ has not won a first-round Final 8 game since 2005.

From a non-conference perspective, the AUS is no better. They are last in CIS basketball divisions with a winning percentage of 35%. To the conference's credit, there are two wins over Calgary, who were in the CIS Top Ten discussion. Dalhousie fared better than Bishop's in non-conference, going 3-3, with losses to Ryerson, Ottawa and York.

There are obvious problems here. From a competitive standpoint, it hurts the product. From a marketing standpoint, it hurts the product. From an on-court talent perspective, it hurts the product. I just can't see the CIS repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot with this rule, especially when there is media noise from the most respected coaches in the league.

So, with those rules in mind, here is my final seeding prediction.

  1. Carleton
  2. Windsor (Have to respect regional playoffs, Windsor beat Ottawa, can't see the committee tossing that game aside)
  3. Ottawa (at-large berth)
  4. Victoria
  5. Dalhousie (For reasons outlined above, Dal gets the 5)
  6. Bishop's
  7. Ryerson (Yes, this means all-OUA match-up, but a match-up we haven't seen since November. Keep in mind, the committee put Mac against Carleton in the 2-7 game last year and those teams had not played since November. There's precedent for my guess.)
  8. Saskatchewan
Some spare thoughts
  • Ryerson beat Saskatchewan by 20 (in October, to be fair) so I can't see Ryerson being seeded 8 to replay Carleton
  • I had the CanWest winner at 3 with Ottawa at the 4 yesterday, but a friend pointed out that Ottawa would then meet Carleton in the second round. Doubt the committee wants that.
  • I hope the 3-6 and 4-5 games are during the day because I've got class and would hate to miss the more competitive 1-8, 2-7 games. (That sentence alone should cause seeding rule changes)
Here's the caveat to all of my CIS seeding speculation: I haven't followed CIS hoops as long as most of you reading this. I don't know the tendencies of the committees and what they value, I'm just looking at the criteria and guessing from that.

Seeds for the Final 8 come out at 3 p.m. today. Enjoy!

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  1. You say that you can't see the CIS repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot (with the Acadia Rule). Yet, if there is one thing the CIS is consistent at, it's shooting themselves in the foot. Given how slowly things move in Canadian university sports, outside of CanWest, it would not surprise if the Acadia Rule is still there next year.

    1. Honestly, your point is solid. If you were to make a list of times the CIS was timely in making a change to their rules and times the CIS dragged their feet, I think the "dragged their feet" category would win.

      That being said, basketball might be a bit more progressive. I could be wrong, but it felt like that repatriation rule come through relatively fast. Also, Derouin, Smart and Oliver all said the system isn't working (in Sager's piece). Conversations I've had with other CIS basketball folk have agreed. People are on the bandwagon.

      I just wonder what the incentive is for RSEQ and AUS to keep this rule. They arguably get better match-ups, but it hurts everyone in the long run.

    2. It comes down to the method in which the vote would take place. If it's one vote per region the AUS and RSEQ will vote against the change purely out of parochialism and self-interest. OTOH, if it's one vote per school, the OUA and CW will ask their schools to vote as a bloc and this ridiculous rule is out.

    3. They can move pretty quickly if they want to. The national coaches meeting, which is where these rules come from, is this week.

      The Acadia Rule came in immediately after the poor, downtrodden Axemen were rewarded for winning the AUS with a game against Carleton. That was also when the ban on interconference first-round matchups was eliminated. (Had that ban not been in place, Carleton would have played Ryerson in 2012 and Acadia would have been 7th.)

      BTW, votes at the CIS level are one school, one vote to my knowledge.