Wednesday, 31 January 2007

CIS Previews for Wednesday (OUA West Games)

The rise of the Windsor Lancers in the past 2 seasons has been spectacular and assuming the Lancers continue their winning ways, this season's team will end one of the longest running droughts in the OUA West. The last time the Lancers won the OUA West regular season title outright was 1979-80 (27 seasons ago) - Windsor did share the regular season crown in '80-'81 and '78-'79 but were seeded second both times for the playoffs. In fact, the Lancers won 4 consecutive OUA West playoff championships between 1978-79 and 1981-82, playing in 4 consecutive Wilson Cups, all against the York Yeomen (at the time), going 1-3, with the only victory an 80-78 win in 1979. Windsor represented the OUA West at the CIAU Nationals each of those 4 seasons, going 0-4 in the first round. The '79-'80 team was led by 6'9" OUA West Player-of-the-Year Stan Korosec (who later was named CIAU All-Canadian twice), shooting guard Phil Hermanutz, ex-Lancer assistant coach Vince Landry and a little-known walk-on from Nova Scotia named Henk Dykhuizen, now still starring in the Ottawa JCC Tuesday night runs.

OUA West Games Tonight (All Times are Eastern)

McMaster (8-7) at Waterloo (6-10) Both teams have glaring areas of concern as the Marauders are experiencing probably their worst defensive season in the Joe Raso coaching era while Waterloo is having difficulty scoring the ball. Mac and Western trail Brock by one game in the battle for second place and a first-round playoff bye. Recently, the Marauders have been carried offensively by their pair of all-conference candidates in 5'9" Martin Ajayi, the leading scorer in the OUA West and 6'8" Adam Steiner. With fifth-year forward John Obrovac still hobbled by a foot injury and playing hurt, Mac will need a young player to step up offensively. In losing 5 of their last 6 and their past 4 in a row, the Warriors, who have already played their two games against last place Lakehead, have simply not had any one of their senior players step up in their recent drought and are beginning to lose sight of the top half of the division. Both campus university radio stations will carry the game McMaster Radio and CKMS Waterloo Radio
Windsor (12-3) at Guelph (6-9) If any game could help turn a season around, this is the one for the Gryphs who have lost 5 in a row, many in decisive fashion including an 86-51 drubbing at Windsor one week ago. Guelph has had trouble finding consistent scoring lately from anyone except for Aron Bariagbre as 6'10" J.R. Bailey is in a slump and expected long-range threats Borko Popic and Jay Mott have simply not produced. The traditionally-tough Guelph half-court "d" has broken downs through a series of mental mistakes at key spots in games, eliminating the possibility of easy scores off their defence and putting the Gryphs, traditionally vying for first place, in a spot where they may have to battle for the final playoff spot in the division. The Lancers are three games ahead of second place Brock and with a win at Guelph will be only a total meltdown away from their first outright OUA West regular season league crown in 27 seasons. Also, a preview article from the Guelph Mercury Gryphs out to put breaks on skid
Western (8-7) at Laurier (7-8) A very interesting game between two young teams looking to mature quickly and push for a league championship. Hawks Big 3 freshmen: 6'7" Andrew Pennycook, 6'3" Justin Golob and 6'4" Evan Eliason each stepped up late in their win against Waterloo on Saturday after leading scorer Matt Walker fouled out with 5 minutes remaining. Pennycook is becoming a defensive force in the paint while Golob, lightly recruited coming out of high school, is knocking shots down and Eliason is maturing into a top player. The Mustangs have won 4 in a row with balance as 6'3" Andy Wedemire looks to have recovered from a mid-season offensive slump while 6'1" Matt Curtis is back to his stat-sheet-stuffing ways, scoring, rebounding and distributing from the guard spot. Up front, 6'6" Brad Smith has stepped up offensively and 6'7" Adam Ruickbie defends and rebounds. With a pair of young, rising teams, this game could preview two of the top OUA West teams in the next few years. These teams meet again on the final night of the regular season at Alumni Hall in three weeks.

Other articles of interest: Legendary Canada West referee Lew McCorkall was honoured this week on the occasion of his retirement. McCorkall, 86 years young, retired recently after 57 years officiating basketball and softball. The Victoria Times-Colonist reports Lew McCorkall Tribute

Fraser Valley Cascades kept their minuscule playoff aspirations alive over the weekend. The Cascades will need Trinity Western (8-12 in Canada West) to lose all three of their remaining games against Simon Fraser, and the Cascades will need to win-out their remaining schedule. From the Abbottsford News

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