While March might come in like a lamb, it is out with the Lions.

Monday morning, 60 hours before the start of the OUA Wilson Cup playoffs, with teams and athletic departments arranging travel and for Wednesday playoff games, the report from Mark Wacyk dropped that the York Lions have been bounced due to using an ineligible player for nine games.

In other words, two August exhibition games, the ones that Windsor used Raheem Isaac in before he enrolled at York, are affecting the playoffs in March. Over to the oracle:
... the Lions used 6’1″ Raheem Isaac for 9 games earlier this season before he was released from the team. Isaac had also played in two games for Windsor in August during Lancers NCAA/CIS series vs. Indianapolis at the St. Denis Center. By allowing Isaac to play for them after suiting up for a different OUA team in the same season, apparently by ruling, York forfeits at least the 9 games Isaac played in and as such U of T finishes third in the OUA Central. Still no word on why Toronto will go to Queen’s: clearly with U of T in the playoffs instead of York, RPI- calculated seedings are very likely change, throwing the entire bracket into uncertainty. With it being Monday morning and games on Wednesday and the other 6 playoff teams already preparing for their initial opponents, OUA likely was trying to think practically in the adjusted bracket. (CANhoops.ca)
Quelle clusterfudge! It goes without saying OUA is following the manual, adhering to protocol, and trying to do as little harm as possible to teams' prep for playoff opponents. Not to be Mr. Negativity, since it is always better to be prescriptive ... but if it was not determined until 2-3 days prior to the playoffs that York was in the wrong by using Raheem Isaac, then, well, it's too late to do anything about it that affects the outcome of the 2015-16 season.

Warning: contents of post might be considered hot takes.

We have reached the point where form and history are in conflict in the Power Conference. With Ryerson holding the No. 1 seed for the OUA Wilson Cup, it sets up that Ottawa will likely have to defeat Carleton for the third time in a row in order to directly qualify for the Final 8. When was the last time a team did that against Carleton?

With that in mind, one should not presume to go all What We Learned while slotting eight teams into the men's basketball CIS Final 8. The OUA has a No. 1 playoff seed that is No. 3 in the coaches' poll and was last seen running fifth-year guard Aaron Best for 40 minutes in order to secure a nine-point win against York, the worst team in the OUA playoffs. (Ryerson also needed two buzzer triples in the second half to escape with a two-point victory on Friday against Queen's, whose starting five probably consists of Sukhpreet Singh and four Commerce majors named Tanner, Taylor, Travis and Tyler from 'just outside Toronto.')

Carleton is No. 1 in the country but No. 3 for the playoffs and is also 0-3 against the Gee-Gees and Rams, but those games were three weeks ago.

The AUS, as per uje, seems like anyone's game; Dalhousie won as the underdog last season and now gets cast as the overdog after winning a very balanced conference with Rick Plato's old-school tempo-slowing style. (Per game, the Tigers took six fewer shots per game than anyone else down East, and allowed 8½ fewer points.)

Updated ... since the OUA doesn't go to the fourth digit, Brock (.5128 RPI) and Queen's (.5130 RPI) are technically tied for the sixth seed. The Badgers move up due to having 13 regular-season wins to Queen's 11. Far be it to argue that instead of using a Tie Breaking Policy, the sixth seed could actually go to the team with the better RPI, even if it is by two-ten thousandths of a point.

Also, far be it to wonder whether any team contemplated the reality that if you're not a Top 4 bye team, it's really immaterial where you finish. There is a 'shifting deck chairs' aspect to sweating out whether you're fifth, sixth or seventh when you have one more hurdle to get to the OUA Final Four or CIS Final 8 than Ryerson, Ottawa, Carleton and McMaster, which probably also have deeper benches.

Brock Badgers coach Charles Kissi had Dani Elgadi play 35 minutes and three other starters play at least 30 (Tyler Brown had only 22 before fouling out) in their 65-62 win at Guelph, which became RPI-irrelevant since it eliminated the Gryphons.

And as it turned out, Brock would have got sixth if it had lost on Saturday. Their outcome  mainly flipped Ryerson above Ottawa for the No. 1 seed, and caused Windsor and Queen's to trade places in the 5 and 7 seeds.

Ten years ago this week, your agent travelled up through a blizzard – what other kind of weather would await someone daft enough to move to Ottawa in February? – to begin digging a happy little rut in the national capital region.

Whether a 'placeversary' is a thing is specious, at best, and at most. Wedding anniversaries are a thing; work anniversaries are a thing. That kind of leaves out a WFHLA on the outside looking in. That is more unfair than the broadcast industry's tendency to give colour commentator jobs to ex-players or people that are, you know, in broadcasting.

The form normally calls for some profundity or summary of What Has Changed in 10 years. The world has no need of another second-rate mansplaination about the communications and technological revolution that has made the job I moved to Ottawa for obsolete. How are you going to explain to American hedge fund managers that control the Canadian media that a media outlet needs a last line of defence that is actually vaguely familiar with the market they are trying to serve and sell to, or that making their content whiter, slighter, tighter and politically righter is a recipe for failure in a liberal-left country such as Canada? Rather than dwell on the dystopian nightmare that's good for Paul Godfrey and about nobody else, it might be better to focus on the positive.
Focus up: whether it is Guelph or Lakehead as the OUA Central's third playoff team is yugggge.

For fun, time to go to cishoops' Scenario Consideration page, playing with drop-down tabs — Laurentian over Ottawa? Why not? — to see how it would affect the RPI used for playoff seeding.

For a refresher, here is what we are looking at in the event the pre-filled selections all come through during the final week of the regular season:

There should be some discord if, indeed, it comes to pass that 6-13 Toronto and 5-14 Laurentian get in over 9-10 Guelph. The point of an analytics-based playoff seeding was to strip out some of the geographical biases that came up under the old East/West structure.

This is the business we have chosen, though, so here's a handy bullet-pointed listed of games that could turn the table. The RPI-ifications of each game are being considered in a vacuum (i.e., the higher-percentage teams win all of the other games).
  • Mac at Brock, 7:30 Wednesday, Meridian Centre — St. Kitt's is getting its big-venue game on, and the Badgers will have benefit of a raucous student section. McMaster could vault to fourth in RPI with a win, with the Badgers and Windsor Lancers sliding a slot.

    That takes that Mac-Carleton quarter-final out of play.
  • Ryerson at Queen's, 8 p.m. Friday — Worth noting since Sukhpreet Singh and the Gaels are one of the more intriguing mid-table teams, fomenting a certain alumnus' delusions that Queen's is the sleeping giant of OUA men's basketball. If Queen's somehow, some way turned around a 16-point losing margin from their January game at Mattamy, Ottawa would vault to first with Ryerson second, Carleton third.
  •  Lakehead at Western, 8 p.m. Friday — The Mustangs probably did the math; a home-floor win potentially creates a playoff rematch with the Thunderwolves in the 9 vs. 8 prelim game. Toronto goes to Queen's in the 10 vs. 7 in that scenario.

  • Mac at Guelph, 8 p.m. Friday; Brock at Guelph, 8 p.m. Saturday — Whither the Gryphons after administering comeuppance to Juwon Grannum-less Ryerson?

    Guelph owns the tiebreaker against Lakehead, so that playoff spot flips with one Guelph win and Thunderwolves' losses at Western and on Windsor on Saturday. (Prove me wrong, Great Group of Dudes 8.0; prove me wrong.)

    Mac handled Guelph 99-77 at home in January, shooting an effective 56.3 per cent with all five starters hooping at least nine points while Rohan Boney scored 18 in as many minutes.

    If Guelph pulled if off on Friday with Lakehead having a winless weekend:

    Now, in the possibly more plausible scenario that the Gryphons got that all-important tiebreaker-inducing win at the 11th hour against the Badgers, who will have had two full nights off? Ottawa again goes to No. 1.

    It pretty much plays out that way in any scenario where Guelph goes to the playoffs and Lakehead is eliminated.
Happy hoops-following!
Long story short, Guelph's 96-92 upset against No. 1 Ryerson might have ramifications for the CIS Final 8, but not for the OUA Wilson Cup playoffs, because RPI.

Commit 24 turnovers against a desperate and dialed-in team, and the law of unintended consequences can kick in for an entire conference. The Gryphons, with Jonathan Wallace scoring 27 on 85.7 per cent effective shooting while Daniel Dooley had 19 points and nine assists with 70% eFG and Ahmed Haroon had the  20-point, 12-rebound double-double with 61.5% eFG, stunned the nation's top-ranked team. Ryerson's starting five gave the ball away with 19 times; only Adika Peter-McNeilly, who scored 37 to lead a comeback attempt,  was immune for the slippery-fingeritis.

The upshot, though, is that this will only hurt the Rams' place in the 'RPI playoffs' if the Gryphons surmount Lakehead (9-6) for the third playoff spot out of the OUA Central. Only games against playoff teams count, after all.

The Gryphons likely have to win at least 2-of-3 to invoke their tiebreaker advantage against Lakehead and get that playoff berth. Meantime, McMaster's loss to Lakehead will count in the seeding, but this Ryerson loss likely will not.

Guelph's remaining games are all at home against Toronto and two top 10 teams, Brock and McMaster.

Lakehead hosts Ryerson and Toronto on Friday on Saturday, then finishes up with a Western/Windsor road trip. One has to have a little empathy for whichever team finishes fourth in the Central. They will surely have a better overall record than either the third team out of the East, whilst playing in a division with two Top 6 teams.

As the oracle of the orange ball says:

"Plenty to think about given the unique format of using a ranking tool designed for 300+ teams that count each and every game and applying it to 12 teams with only games among those 12 teams counting in the ranking."

What Mr. Wacyk said. Using an analytics-based format was a bold and welcome idea, but the application clearly has bugs in it that come up when a top team gets caught in a trap game.
Alternate title: How Do You Solve A Problem Like UBC?

By now, astute fans of our Canadian university basketball have the gist of men's CIS Final 8 seeding. Conference champs cannot be seeded lower than No. 6, even if they were unranked before getting hot for two games at the RSEQ Final Four or for three in the AUS Final 6. Matchups of teams from the same conference are allowable; after all Ryerson and Windsor met in the 7 vs. 2 quarter-final last season.

This exercise assumes no upsets, so here's a first crack at Nate Silver-ing the seeding for five weeks from now:

  1. Ryerson (OUA champion) — The Rams project for top spot in the OUA RPI and the home-floor advantage throughout the Wilson Cup playoffs. They will be awfully tough in that environment, especially now that the RU community has really come down with Rams Fever.
  2. Ottawa (OUA runner-up) — Some shine probably came off Ottawa with that split weekend against the Central's 1-2 punch. Overall, James Derouin's crew is 23-4 in CIS play with the fourth-toughest strength of schedule among the 47 hooping schools.
  3. Calgary (Canada West champion) — Form pick from a fellow who is only following C-Dub from afar. There should be no way the conference's champion, or best team, gets in ahead of the OUA's two best if the Eastern bastards don't have any true upsets in the early rounds.
  4. McGill (RSEQ champion) — David DeAviero's Redmen will complete a cycle of road wins against the other four Q schools if they defeat Laval on Friday. McGill has only three league games left before the RSEQ Final Four. They go nine deep and that Ottawa win, even if was in October, left a powerful impression.
  5. UBC (host) — Ah, there is the rub: a tournament in Vancouver will need some local interest to have any hope of getting traction the way the 2015 nationals did in Toronto. And, even then, it might only go so far. That is why it figures that the Thunderbirds, albeit a "graduation-depleted" iteration with only three seasoned rotational players as per Howard Tsumura, slide into a 5 seed against a team that will be three time zones from home.

    That means McGill, or whoever wins the Q, would be tipping off at 11 p.m. Eastern on March 16. Of course, Montreal's not really a late-night town.
  6. Dalhousie (AUS champion) — Never take anything for granted with the AUS, since that first-round bye for the top two finishers seems to be a double-edged gift quite often. Dal is defending champ, so they are the default choice. Selfishly, it would be fine if Javon Masters and UNB, who have played a tough schedule are a high-scoring team, somehow got hot in the playoffs.

    Over at CANHoops, there is a little kerfuffle over a wholly factual post about how many more fouls are whistled on visiting teams than on the UPEI Panthers during games in Charlottetown, going back across the last few seasons. For example, the Panthers, not that they haven't had full agency in their turnaround, have come out ahead in the fouls in 33 of their last 39 AUS games in Charlottetown.

    One wonders how many of the Panthers fans carping about the article also had occasion  to read Wayne Kondro's examination of the lack of training and travel support for Canadian basketball officials. Kondro noted, "Games in PEI, for example, will never be called by officials from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Newfoundland & Labrador." Please understand highlighting that isn't meant to impugn anyone, but it's a reality there are probably only so many university basketball refs on Prince Edward Island." In other words, a nationwide problem might be particularly acute in that case.

    Of course, by the time that gets fixed, we'll have also have reversed climate change. Memorial University's definition of an assist will still be wonky, though.

    Anyhow, the AUS might be a four- or five-team derby come the first weekend of March. That very much includes UPEI, and generally if you have no skin in the game, selfishly root for a team that has gone the longest without a nationals visit. The Panthers last went in 2003.
  7. McMaster (at large; OUA bronze medal) — Martin Timmerman's what-if tool, my new favourite toy, suggests the Marauders and Carleton Ravens might be on a collision course for an OUA quarter-final at the Ravens' Nest on Sat., Mar. 5. Presuming no outliers or WTF one-off upsets, Ryerson, Ottawa and Carleton would be seeded 1, 2 and 3 for the Wilson Cup playoffs. Brock and Windsor would slide into the 4-5 slots, with Mac at No. 6.

    The rub with Carleton, who did look better last weekend, is that aside from that win against very young and very thin Brock, 75 points seems to be their plateau against high-quality competition. They have a lot of say over whether a game will go into the 80s, of course, but McMaster plays fast and pushes the pace. Just saying.

    In any event, the wild card is coming from Ontario, again. Sorry, not sorry.

  8. Manitoba (Canada West auto berth) — The Bisons are tied with UBC for the second-best 'last 10' record at 8-2, finishing 15-5 overall. They will have two weeks before hosting a best-of-3 quarter-final, meaning AJ Basi, Keith Omoerah and everyone else should have plenty of juice in their legs to play three games in as many days if that's what asked of them.

    With UBC hosting nationals, the Canada West bronze-medal game is potentially a play-in game for the 7 or 8 seed.
Now is the winter of our discontent — hacky, I know! — with Ontario University Athletics' use of RPI to seed the basketball postseason. Fortunately, there is a workaround.

The main takeaway from the yeoman's work the invaluable Martin Timmerman is doing with the OUA rankings is that it might be better to look his CIS Hoops' projections before the official update, in order to best understand this playoff race that is unverifiable by mental arithmetic.

Ottawa (.607), after their road split that involved a loss at McMaster and a win against Brock, has a slim lead against Ryerson (.605), which plays lowly Toronto on Sunday as part of the NBA All-Star Weekend. The No. 1-ranked Rams, after entering form picks in Timmerman's menu for the 32 remaining men's games, project to capture the first seed:

Again, this is based on the form holding. You or I can't predict with 100 per cent accuracy whether a semi-quality team will stumble at home against a lower-ranked team. Or which lower-ranked team will play so over its head for one night that their noses bleed for a week to 10 days afterward. This shows Ryerson is in the driver's seat, even though

Full disclosure: your agent was, and is, in favor of using analytics to resolve the issue of power programs all residing in the  same division, whether it was the women's West division when Windsor, McMaster and Western were dominant or the men's triumvirate of Carleton, Ottawa and Ryerson in the East.

The application is definitely problematic; RPI's main use in NCAA Division I is comparing teams with few common opponents, but a conference season is all common opponents. A team's record is also weighted only 25 per cent in RPI, with opponents' winning percentage counting for 50 and opponents' opponents winning percentage counting for 25.

Another RPI issue is scale, since each team plays their three or four division opponents twice and everyone else once. That can bestow an advantage to a team by virtue of no more than geographic location, which is what this system was supposed to factor out in order to send the best three teams to the Final 8. Atlantic University Sport has long got around that problem by double-weighting games between opponents that, due to travel costs, only meet once. The OUA could easily use winning percentage with the value of a season series cut in half, so a split would essentially be a tie.

Anyway, rant over. Some actual observations about actual basketball games.

  • Ottawa hasn't been a fourth-quarter team of late, whether it was in their Ryerson and McMaster road losses or their second win against Carleton and the Brock game on Saturday. Mike L'Africain (33 points, four assists) and Brock rookie guard Tyler Brown (28 points) put on a show on Saturday, with L'Africain persevering through some well-timed presses and some Ottawa turnovers. Caleb Agada is back, but didn't seem to get a lot of run offensively in either game. Matt Plunkett lived up to his 'Massive Shot Matt' moniker with five triples, including a dagger that opened an 11-point margin with a minute left.

    In the 96-90 loss against McMaster, Ottawa led by 15 midway through the third quarter. Then it went cold and Amos Connolly's crew, which is hellbent on being pace-pushers this season, heated up and also went to the offensive boards, which grounded Ottawa's transition offense.

    For fun, tally up the combined line for Troy Joseph, Leon Alexander and Rohan Boney: 81 points on 28-of-46 from the floor, with 7-of-11 from three for a 68.5 per cent eFG%. That leaves 15 points on 3-of-18 for the rest of the Marauders. Joseph was 7-of-9 from three, including the triple that put Mac ahead for good, as he tallied 30.

    Please understand it was a superlative effort and anything that's a harbinger of parity is welcome, but it's fair to wonder what the odds are that Mac's big triumvirate could recapture that magic in another big game. Against Carleton, Maroon Three (I'm so, so sorry) combined for 33 points on 12-of-37, including 3-of-8 from three for a 36.5% eFG.

    Sometimes good nights and bad nights are just good nights and bad nights.
  • One shouldn't make anything of the fact Ottawa has lost in its next outing after defeating Carleton. They lost close road games to Top 6 teams. There is no cause-and-effect.
  • Whither Carleton, which held both Brock and McMaster to 65 points? Connor Wood (22 points on 60.9 eFG%) seemed to have more pep in his step, and Guillaume Boucard (14 on 70% eFG) also had a nice night. They are among the living, so there is that.
  • Brock is a fun team with Brown, Johneil Simpson (21 and 10 vs. Ottawa for a double-double), Dani Elgadi (who was plagued by foul trouble vs. the Gees) and fourth-year Ryan Bennett. They are small, with Elgadi and fifth-year Matt Marshall being the only rotational players who are 6-foot-6 or taller. They are not deep, and that element really comes to the forefront at the Final Four with back-to-back grinders on Friday and Saturday.  
If you don't believe Neil Lumsden's move to Brock University is football-related, then you probably also hold the deed to the Garden City Skyway bridge.

It is fairly easy to put one and one together. Lumsden, a Canadian football icon, was named the Ontario University Athletics institution's new director of recreation and athletics on Tuesday. Last week, the long-time Burlington junior program announced that it is pulling up stakes and moving to St. Catharines, effective immediately.

Brock tried to sell a "not coming" for football fake in its release. Sure, it's not solely about football. Lumsden's sports administration CV goes far beyond the gridiron. The signs are there, though. The existing junior team in the region, the Niagara Spears, who have applied to move up to the Canadian Junior Football League level, also disclosed there were talks about a merger but the "two groups just differed too much to see a successful amalgamation." That suggests having the junior program would be part of developing infrastructure and an convenient recruiting pool when/if football launches. Carleton also made similar use of junior teams before rejoining OUA football in 2013.

It would take 4-6 years if it were to be done right and done well, but definitely the pieces are in place. There is a lot of football talent in that corner of Southern Ontario, which Guelph, Laurier, McMaster, Western and others have mined very well over the years. The OUA and CIS are each running with the dreaded odd number of football members with 11 and 27 respectively, so no doubt there's some champing at the bit so see that situation get rectified. (And speaking as a fan of CIS, it's better to get to an even-numbered league through expansion rather than a withdrawal.)

Twelve teams would be a great number for the ever multi-tiered OUA, and Quebec and Canada West at six each, it would address some of the logistics with interlocking regular-season games. Just saying, and just saying there are some lines one can read between here, even if Brock hitting the gridiron might not happen before 2020.
The OUA Final Four and national championship will come down who is healthy and hitting shots in March — not February.

That prefaces any #HotTakes about the No. 2 Ottawa Gee-Gees defeating the No. 3 Carleton Ravens 78-72 on Friday, earning both their first Capital Hoops Classic win and first regular-season series sweep of the OUA's longtime lodestar since 2007. The result will not do much damage to No. 1 Ryerson's lead in the RPI that determines OUA playoff seeding, which factored into why Ottawa wing Caleb Agada was scratched after testing his sore ankle in the warmup. Notwithstanding that, it was the inevitable aggressive affray Carleton and Ottawa are known for when they get on the big stage in front of 10,105 people. Fifth-year point guard Mike L'Africain hooped nine of his game-high 23 points during a 22-12 Gee-Gees third quarter, and Ottawa's ball movement set up utility forward Matt Plunkett to hit three fourth-quarter triples on his way to 14 in 22 minutes. Carleton, which had 19 apiece from point guard Kaza Kajami-Keane and small forward Guillaume Boucard, chiseled a 13-point mid-fourth quarter deficit to four in the final seconds.

"Last year we beat them at home, the year before we beat them [in the 2014 OUA Wilson Cup], and nobody knows, right?" L'Africain said. "This is the game where everybody comes. This does a lot for our program, a lot for our school and a lot for the city of Ottawa.

"Every game is a new, complete game, though," L'Africain added. "Confidence-wise, it feels good. We win this game, everybody loves us for a little bit. We still have one goal [the CIS championship], one last thing to do on our bucket list."

First, the big picture stuff.

"The reason why this victory feels good is because of Carleton's dominance, not only with us but within basketball," said Gee-Gees coach James Derouin, who was a Gee-Gees assistant coach when they scored their only other Capital Hoops win in the inaugural edition in 2007. "Any win against them is great. That's a testament to their dominance. If we beat someone else it's different. This team has got like a 95 per cent winning percentage over the last 15 years. Any time you beat a team this good is special and it's extra-special when you do it in this environment.

"But we're different this year. We're looking to the future. We have a veteran group and we want to win in March. And I think they understand that."

Ottawa stretched out a 28-27 halftime lead largely though tighter ball movement and resolute rebounding. With fifth-year guard Mehdi Tihani (13 points, team-high four assists) taking on more lead-guard responsibility, they had only three of their 13 turnovers in the final 20 minutes. They also limited the Ravens to three second-half offensive rebounds in the second half after allowing 12 in the first 20 minutes.

Carleton shot an effective 58.8 per cent after the break after a ghastly 29.3 in the first half, but the patented Ravens run never materialized. Gavin Resch added 12 points (4-of-9 on threes) and Connor Wood added 10, but was 4-of-14 from the floor.

Agada's absence was covered well by Ottawa's complementary players, with temporary starting wing Mackenzie Morrison contributing eight rebounds in 33 minutes. Brandon Robinson added some athleticism on each end.

"The guy for me tonight was Mackenzie Morrison," Gee-Gees coach James Derouin said. "I felt like his defense was phenomenal, diving on loose balls and winning 50/50 rebounds. Caleb usually gets these balls, gets us 10 total rebounds, eight defensive, and today Mackenzie got us those balls. That's what you hope for in these games, that a guy steps up. That will be great for us moving forward."

The two Ottawa rivals' trip next week to No. 4 Brock and No. 7 McMaster are their only toughies left before the OUA playoffs. (The Ravens go into Brock first, while the Gee-Gees' Friday game is at Mac.) It looks like Ottawa will be stronger for this stretch without Agada.

"It means a lot to win without Caleb," L'Africain said. "I know everyone counted us out and that Ryerson game helped us a lot and it helped out our role players, and when Caleb gets back we'll be that much stronger."

Other shallow, fairly obvious observations:

  • As Plunkett goes, so too do Ottawa's chances of beating Carleton. That goes back to when the Barrie native had three triples in the 68-66 win at Montpetit Hall last January.

    "It's the second game in a row against Carleton that I felt he's been the X-factor," Derouin said. "When he plays with a chip on his shoulder and plays with confidence he's huge for us. He was awesome for us. His confidence mostly revolves around whether he makes threes. If he doesn't make one he can drop out of the game. He's an underrated athlete. He doesn't look like it with that man bun but he is a great athlete."
  • Say little when you win and even less when you lose, right? That is the 2016 working definition of duende. Carleton had a closed-door meeting afterward, which is understandable after their third loss in six games.

    They are still 5-4 against Ottawa over the last three seasons, including decisive wins in the last two national finals.
  • Phil Scrubb, Thomas Scrubb, Victor Raso, Tyson Hinz, Clinton Springer-Williams, Kevin Churchill ... Not even Carleton can cover for such turnover over two seasons. They are still a Top 5 team despite losing three games by a combined margin of 25 points to the country's two best teams.

    The rub is, being Top 5 when the OUA can only send three teams to the Final 8 might not be good enough.
  • Ottawa's bench outscored Carleton's 27-8. That is different from the past. Four of the five Ravens starters played at least 34 minutes. That's a Stu Turnbull workload.
  • Brathan McMaracle, Ottawa's two-headed centre, had 18 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks while hitting 6-of-8 shots. Ottawa made a strong power move by going right to Nathan McCarthy (nine points, five boards) at the start of the third quarter. Brody Maracle saved a fourth-quarter possession when Tihani lost his dribble while driving late in the shot clock by catching the ball and flipping in an over-the-shoulder shot.

    "There were some elements there where you go, 'maybe it's our night,' " Derouin said.
  • About Agada taking the warmup: Those with an overactive imagination, guilty as charged, might have wondered if Derouin was playing some mind game, but there's probably too much respect in this rivalry for that.

    "Caleb's been sidelined for three weeks and he just wanted to be part of the team tonight," Derouin said. "We were going to take a look at it the warmup tonight. He sort of gave me the 'it's not going to happen' look in the warmup. I wasn't really considering it. Win or lose tonight, we need him for March."
  • Another post-game curiosity. L'Africain played a game-high 38 minutes, leaving briefly with about two minutes left while Ottawa was milking the clock.

    "If you guys remember a really good player named Johnny Berhanemeskel, we used to play a lot of 1-on-1," L'Africain said, referring to last season's Moser Trophy honoree. "One time he hit my elbow and I got a bit of nerve damage — whenever it gets hit, I still can't feel my right hand. It gets numb, then I'm fine."
  • Ottawa's last three wins against Carleton were all one-shot games, including two that Berhanemeskel won with last-second shots. This was more decisive.
  • About the women's basketball Ravens' 73-50 beatdown of Ottawa earlier in the evening. Carleton looks like it has done an 180 since double-digit losses to the Gee-Gees and Ryerson, having now beaten nationally ranked teams in their last two starts. Six-foot-three centre Heather Lindsay had 18 points and 15 rebounds, while wing Elizabeth Leblanc was one board off a double-double with 15 and nine. The Queen's and Ottawa wins might be the best back-to-back efforts by Taffe Charles' team in a good while.

    For whatever reason, the Gee-Gees, who were practically brazen with its outside shooting when it beat a very quick Ryerson team in its gym was shellshocked, shooting an effective 28 per cent (12-of-42 on twos, 3-of-17 on threes). Once-a-year arena games can be a tough adjustment, but they were cold for 40 minutes.
  • The women's games at Capital Hoops have often been slow-starting and low-scoring. Along with adapting to not having a close backdrop, the players also have to contend with starting the game in a nearly empty hockey arena. You would likely never hear a complaint from a player about it, but it's a factor. Only this time, it wasn't for the Ravens. Ottawa took 8:42 to get its first basket. Meantime, on the evening the Ravens starting five of Lindsay, Leblanc, Stephanie Carr, Nicole Gilmore and lefty forward Lindsay Shotbolt shot an effective 55.7%.

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