Saturday, 17 March 2007

Previews of Today's Games

Brandon vs. St. Mary's As always, the Huskies need to control the tempo with solid point guard Mark Ross, who has played every minute of every game in the post season, covering four games including overtime in the AUS tournament final. St.Mary's star guard Mark McLaughlin showed the country that he can compete and succeed against the top defenders in the CIS with a superlative showing against Concordia's array of athletes and expect Brandon Head Coach to throw multiple defenders and multiple looks at the Huskies prime offensive threat. The ability of Cordell Wright, Clint Bateman and Ross to make shots off draw and kicks, if indeed the Cats decide to send double teams at McLaughlin, will be key. The Huskies have survived foul trouble for the most part in the post-season including yesterday when Bateman was saddled with two questionable fouls including one in the first 3 seconds when absolutely no advantage was gained by an inadvertent bump. (That said, the officials yesterday did a great job for the most part, generally letting teams play and sensibly deploying the "no call" in many instances when it was very appropriate.) With a favorable matchup yesterday afternoon against Concordia, Ike Uchegbu was a key cog to run the offense through for St. Mary's. Tonight, against 6'9" Yuri Whyms and 6'7" Stevens Marcelins, Uchegbu faces probably a more formidable pair of opponents, especially on offense when he'll likely have to face up more - Uchegbu's much more comfortable scoring with his back to the basket and putting misses back. The 6'6" Bateman could be the wild card as long as he stays out of foul trouble because of his ability to step out and knock shots down - he could be Brandon's toughest matchup tonight. The Bobcats will likely look to isolate their tremendous slashing wing, Dany Charlery on the perimeter. Point guard Yul Michel will need to make shots as Huskies pg Ross has proven he can keep more athletic defenders in front of him the entire post season. Bobcats Chad Jacobsen stepped up at a key moment in yesterday's game against Windsor when Charlery went to the bench, scoring 5 straight points as the Cats took the game over early in the second half. Michel's ability to draw help and find Jacobsen for open looks will be a key. Look for Cordell Wright to have to play a role defensively, likely working on Charlery, while expect Whyms to try to take advantage of his size advantage inside. 6'5" Adam Hartman plays a very cerebral game, reading his check very well and his matchup with Bateman will be interesting. Here's a layman's view of the potential matchups of the starters tonight. michel - ross; jacobsen - mclaughlin; charlery - wright; hartman - bateman; whyms - uchegbu

Bottom Line: If Brandon can push the tempo defensively and use their bench to wear the Huskies down, the Cats could romp, but St.Mary's has been written off before and McLaughlin and Co are on a tear. Expect a large, boisterous crowd that will provide energy for the hometown Huskies to feed off of and another methodical, close game.

Carleton vs. Ottawa As most already know, this will be the fourth meeting of the season between these bitter rivals and it will be played in the fourth different venue. Both teams have had the advantage of playing in a large arena with the different shooting sight lines prior to coming to Halifax after their game at Scotiabank Place in January and their games yesterday. The Gee-Gees especially, showed no effects in the new environs, shooting a solid 11-24 (45.8%) from 3 in yesterday's win vs. UBC. There already has been enough tape watched between the 2 coaching staffs to humble Captain Video Roger Neilson so there isn't much more these teams can learn about each other nor is there alot of time to put in anything new so I believe the game will come down to how the big stars on both teams perform on this stage. The exploits of 6'2" Osvaldo Jeanty in big moments over the course of his career have been well chronicled and 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe, when he looks for his offense, is a very difficult check for anyone and has already led the Gee-Gees twice in this series. The Ravens also have 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp, who potentially is tonight's X-factor. When he's knocking shots down, posting up favorable matchups and finding people out of double teams, Carleton is nearly impossible to beat. 6'5" Jermaine Campbell returned to earlier season form with a dominating second half effort against UBC and his ability to hit perimeter shots and have the offense go inside/out through him and 6'5" Curtis Shakespeare will be key. 5'11" Alex McLeod has had big games in this series and expect him to make big shots when getting a good look at the rim. 6'4" Ryan Bell made probably the biggest shot in Carleton's win in the playoff meeting, a late 3 in rhythm to give the Ravens the lead and Bell's lock-up "d" could be complemented by a solid shooting game. Gee-Gees need more from 6'3" Sean Peter who generally struggled yesterday but stayed with it at the end, grabbing a huge offensive rebound and converting a backdoor layup off a solid set to help clinch the win. He usually is tasked with guard 6'3" Stu Turnbull, who has been picking his spots taking Peter off the dribble on ball reversals. 6'3" Jean-Emmanuel Jean-Marie had likely his best Ottawa game in his career last time. Matchups tend to go out the window in these games as each coach makes adjustments almost from possession to possession - Ryan Bell, Rob Saunders, Jeanty guarding Gibson-Bascombe; G-B, McLeod, others guarding Os.

Bottom Line: The ability of each team to guard the ball and limit the draw and kick opportunities may decide this game. Expect another classic game in the 60's that goes down to the wire and hopefully will be decided by the players on the floor.

The Carleton student newspaper, the Charlatan, has a prompt report on-line this morning summarizing last night's win and previewing tonight's Carleton/Ottawa win Ravens cut Axemen down to size, face Gee Gees tomorrow uOttawa's official web site just posted a game report from last night Gee-Gees advanced to semi-final

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