By now, of course, you know that the top three seeds for Thursday is in order of Ontario University Athletics' podium, with Rams-Ravens-Gees going 1-2-3. This list's last projection had Calgary in the 3-hole with what would have been a fraught Ottawa-McGill 4 vs. 5 quarter-final.
What did I get wrong? The committee got it right in terms of weighting recent results. Ryerson defeated Carleton on Saturday, and Carleton defeated Ottawa on Friday.
McGill's 74-70 win against Ottawa at Pavilon Montpetit on Nov. 1 will be more than 16 weeks old by the time the tournament tips off at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on Thursday at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
Oh, and if someone looks at the Redmen's result on the Gee-Gees' floor getting discounted and free-associates it with the fact the Ottawa and Montreal cluster do not meet in interlocking regular-season games? And that, might, in fact, affect OUA to some extent, albeit it nowhere near as much as RSEQ? Well, can't help but feel partially responsible.
Something to enter into the minutes here, since Charron and Pettapiece and Hastie have gone onward and upward to work toward titles, is each team's offensive and defensive outputs vis-à-vis their effective shooting, and shooting defence.
By no means is this a true pace factor. There is also no controls for strength of schedule and repeat regular-season opponents, and it's only reg-season since that is what is on CIS' website. Basically, points per game (and national rank) and effective field-goal percentage for each of the floor. The last column shows the difference, which might illustrate how much margin of error each team has if they are scuffling shooting-wise and an opponent gets hot. Of course, it's not controlled for quality of conference, and do keep mind that 21 per cent of Carleton and Ottawa's samples involve OUA North games against Algoma and Nipissing.
Hence the 'that's how well you have to play to beat Carleton' line that McGill coach Dave DeAveiro coined in 2008, when someone did defeat Carleton. Yeah, hence!
The matchups, if you have not seen. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I am venturing to Vancouver on my own buck and will have coverage of all championship-side games. Consolation games are like being Peter Criss in a KISS tribute band. No one wants to be Peter Criss.
- 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT, No. 2 Carleton vs. No. 7 Thompson Rivers — Ravens coach Rob Smart and WolfPack coach Scott Clark were each part of the Simon Fraser Clan when it was in the NAIA, before CIS, before NCAA Division II.
Does this mean one of the coaches has to find a tailor to make him a red suit? It is hard to get a tailor on such short notice.
Interesting matchup, since Thompson Rivers has some toughness inside with Josh Wolfram.
- 6 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT, No. 3 Ottawa vs. No. 6 Dalhousie — The uniqueness of Dal's defensive systems, their commitment to the bit so to speak, makes them an ideal opponent for Ottawa. One, it is probably better to have 72 hours of prep time instead the just fewer than 48 a team receives for Semifinal Saturday.
The matchup will be a style change for Ottawa, which could use a step out of its comfort zone. The Gee-Gees were in the 3-6 game last season against Bishop's and got extended to overtime, needing a Caleb Agada steal to get the regulation tie. Ottawa struggled with a big Bishop's frontcourt. Now, with 'Brathan McMaracle' platooning in the post and 6-foot-6 Matt Plunkett at the stretch-four, they get another defensively stout opponent of a different nature.
Dalhousie, which does not start anyone taller than 6-foot-5 Sven Stammberger and has 6-2 Kashrell Lawrence at the 5, is used to spotting teams a size advantage and is probably sick of being asked about it.
Plato was successful in the ACAA/CCAA before taking Dal's reigns. The ACAA, 14 years or so ago, had a unique style due to a paucity of post players. It was playing four-out, one-in before it was cool. Does that mean it was hoops for hipsters who needed more than our criminally underrated and not always well-understood Canadian university basketball, which would seem to meet all of a hipster sports nerd's needs?
- 9 p.m ET/6 p.m. PT, No. 4 Calgary vs. No. 5 McGill — The Dinos play in the high 80s and 90s. McGill plays in the 60s and mid-70s, and some snarksters would say that also corresponds with the decades during which their respective cities peaked.
McGill was 31st of 47 nationally in scoring. In context, it was, however, right in the meaty part of the conference curve with Laval (27th, 74.9), UQAM (30th, 73.4), Concordia (44th, 66.7) and Bishop's (66.2, 45th).
- 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT, No. 1 Ryerson vs. No. 8 UBC — Like a blue/gold team to take this one.
Neither the timing nor the tide has ever quite lined up for Kevin Hanson's T-Birds, or for the Rams, really, at nationals.
All those years that UBC was a top team, they would inevitably draw into the afternoon quarter-final doubleheader after already traversing three or four time zones. They were still the silver medalist in 2009 and '10 at Ottawa. Some, not us, would call it perfectly ironic that UBC was the first to get the Final 8 bronze in 2011 after the third-place was restored. The bronze was a solace following a two-point semifinal loss against Trinity Western
Of course, no one wants to hear about travel being a factor for past 'Birds failures. Just three months ago, another UBC program in a sport won won playoff games in Calgary, Antigonish and Quebec City to win the Vanier Cup.
Likewise, look at Ryerson's denouements. Overlooked amid the OUA Wilson Cup celly-ing was that, of course, this was the fourth season in a row a championship game has been held at the restored Maple Leaf Gardens, but the first actually involving MBB Rams. Also overlooked, by all but one Rams support staffer who remembers it bitterly well, was that it was not the first Wilson Cup between the teams.
The Rams got on the plane for the first time in the Rana era in 2012, when Aaron Best was a frosh in an all-underclassman lineup. In a span of two weeks, though, they lost to Carleton by 43 points, twice, including 82-39 in an OUA final that was a total formality.
Then Ryerson steps up to host first-class Final Four tournaments in '13 and '14. Only the Rams had to watch since OUA's outmoded two-division alignment meant it could only be Ryerson or Ottawa advancing with Carleton out of the East. The RPI-offs ameliorated that injustice, but they wound up with a CIS bronze medal after the bitter semifinal loss against Ottawa.
Sometimes with teams, the one that wasn't supposed to do it, does. That could be loosely applied to any of the OUA trio, and perhaps some others in the draw.