Saturday, 3 March 2007

Championship Saturday: OUA East & West + Canada West Championship Games

Articles from last night: Victoria Times-Colonist reports on Brandon's solid win over UVic as written by Sharie Epp (subscription only). In the article, Vic Coach Craig Beaucamp comments on his team's chances of a wild card berth for the Nationals saying "it's a bit hard to justify getting a wild card at this juncture". Bobcats Pounce on Vikes UBC clinched a spot in Halifax with a late-game run to knock off Saskatchewan as the Vancouver Sun reports T-Birds put the bite on Huskies also the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix has a short article on Saskatchewan's semi-final loss Huskies Bounced by T-Birds, Nationals out of the picture

Plenty of action today and tonight in the CIS with both OUA division championship games being played this evening and Canada West completing their two-day Final Four tournament in Brandon. As well, the AUS has its final slate of regular season games on tap this afternoon and evening, although all playoff spots and seedings for the AUS tournament have been decided.

LET THE WILD CARD DEBATE RAGE! Neate Sager, who authors the wonderful blog Out of Left Field, offers his opinions on the 8th and final spot in Halifax Wild Card Compass points to the (OUA) East not West

MEDIA COVERAGE FOR TONIGHT'S OUA EAST & WEST CHAMPIONSHIPS The Ottawa at Carleton game will be broadcast by Rogers Television LIVE! beginning at 8 PM Eastern time in the following areas: Ottawa, Toronto, Mississauga, York Region, Brampton, Brantford, Cambridge, Dufferin/Caledon, Durham, Guelph, Kitchener, London, Stratford, Waterloo, Waterloo Region. As a bonus, it appears that Rogers may pick up the Cogeco feed from the Mac at Windsor OUA West championship game on Saturday night and broadcast that game on tape delay after the live telecast of Ottawa at Carleton. Stay tuned to your local stations for more information. Cogeco will broadcast the OUA West championship game on Saturday live in the Windsor area beginning at 8 PM as far as we know.

OUA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW Ottawa at Carleton In what may be the most exciting rivalry in CIS basketball today, the cross-town rivals meet for the third time this season with the winner getting the automatic bid to Halifax. The Ravens struggled by their standards down the stretch losing 3 of their last 8 games however turned it around last weekend, locking down the York Lions as 6'3" Stu Turnbull had possibly his best game in a big spot as a Raven and 6'3" Jean-Emmanuel Jean-Marie returned to the all-star form he had been showing prior to going down with a bout of the flu in late January. Turnbull had a solid offensive effort, creating off the dribbel and finishing strong with 19 points against the Lions but it was his defence on York's 6'8" Dan Eves that was pivitol in helping Carleton to the win. As well, the Ravens won despite sub-par performances from 6'2" Osvaldo Jeanty and 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp. Jeanty did not score until about 5 minutes into the second half while Doornekamp got most of his points late on the foul line. Expect much, much more from these two All-Canadian type talents against Ottawa. The Gee-Gees blew a late 10 point lead against U of T but were able to come back with the win with solid defence on the last 3 possessions of the game when it mattered most. 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe has been key in both prior victories over Carleton this season and expect the Ravens to find a way to keep Gibson-Bascombe off balance, possibly even try the physical Turnbull on him on occasion. 6'5" Curtis Shakespeare had a strong effort two weeks ago against Carleton and his athleticism and inside/outside offensive skills present a difficult matchup. An important element in countering the Ravens pack-it-in "d" is to make perimeter shots and with the emergence of 6'2" Donnie Gibson off the bench, the Gee-Gees lose little if anything when 5'11" second-team All-Star Alex McLeod takes a rest. 6'3" Sean Peter attacks the rim in transition but Carleton has exploited Peter defensively in the past, especially off the ball, and he will need to defend and rebound for Ottawa to have success. Expect 6'9" Dax Dessureault and 6'7" Kevin McCleery to continue their budding rivalry (McCleery is rarely on the floor if Dessureault isn't) with McCleery showing more polish offensively but Dessureault being much more impactful defensively in the paint. Another wild card could be 5'10" Willy Manigat who was the difference maker last weekend against Toronto in the Gee-Gees semi-final victory. Wayne Kondro offers his game preview in this morning's edition of the Ottawa Citizen Ravens Gee-Gees won't play favorites Kondro's article also outlines the process and committee members for selection of the wild card team.

OUA WEST CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW: McMaster at Windsor For the second consecutive season, the Lancers and Marauders meet for the right to go to the Nationals, this time in front of what should be a loud, energized crowd at the St. Denis Center. Last season, the Lancers held the lead for much of the evening at Mac but couldn't close the deal on the road. The teams split a pair of games, each winning by 19 points at home. The Marauders are again peaking at the right time under long-time mentor Joe Raso who always seems to have his teams ready when it counts. After a slow start, this season's senior-laden team has delivered again led by the incomparable 5'8" Martin Ajayi (pictured), who completely turned the OUA West semi-final around on Wednesday at Brock with 30 of his 37 points in the second half including seven 3's. Although not the offensive threat Ajayi is, expect Windsor's 6'0" guard Corey Boswell, a tremendously-athletic ball defender, to see added time on Saturday guarding Ajayi. The Marauders need a stronger offensive effort from 6'4" John Obrovac today and his likely matchup of 6'6" Kevin Kloostra should offer opportunities. If Windsor may have an edge, it is in the backcourt and with their depth and 6'2" Ryan Steer is a tough check for 5'11" Mike DiClaudio while when the team's go to their benches up front, it is the Lancers who can bring more experience. Expect 6'8" Adam Steiner to log major minutes, most of them against Windsor's bruising tandem of 6'6" Greg Allin and 6'6" Rich Allin (pictured). Mac's 6'5" Toms Lokmanis has been a workhorse on the offensive glass all season and his athleticism gave Brock all it could handle. Offensively for Windsor, healthy doses of 6'8" Greg Surmacz inside and the Allin brothers outside and with putbacks have usually been the norm for Windsor's big men. Another tremendous matchup in the OUA West with the winner getting the automatic bid to Halifax and the right to host the Wilson Cup next weekend and the loser likely out of wild card contention. Mary Caton from the Windsor Star previews tonight's game in an article this morning Lancers Face Big Test Tonight

1 PM Eastern/ 2 pm Atlantic Dalhousie at Acadia
3 PM Eastern/ 4 pm Atlantic Saint Mary's at UNB
6 PM Eastern/ 7 pm Atlantic Cape Breton at StFX

7 PM Eastern Bronze Medal game: Saskatchewan vs. Victoria
9 PM Eastern Gold Medal game: UBC at Brandon

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