Thursday, 13 March 2008

#2 UBC vs. #7 Brock Game Preview

FRIDAY GAME TWO QUARTER-FINAL at 2:00 PM Both teams face different types of pressure going into this interesting meeting between the Canada West champions and OUA Bronze medal winners as UBC Thunderbirds look to shed a growing reputation for first-round flops while the Badgers crew of graduating seniors, many of whom have played together since grade school, getting one last crack at a National championship. Both teams have top-level talent in UBC's 6'3" Chris Dyck, one of the best pure scorers in Canada who likely would have competed for CW Player-of-the-Year had he not battled injuries midway through the season, and Brock's 5'10" Brad Rootes, a likely All-Canadian once again this season (official announcement to be made tonight at the All-Canadian awards banquet). Dyck, who looks to make up for what was by his standards a mediocre effort in last season's Final 8 quarter-final game, has as complete an offensive package as any wing in Canada with the ability to get to the rim, create mid-range shots for himself and pull up on a dime in transition. Rootes, who has played on a bad wheel for much of the season, nonetheless had another remarkable season despite not consistently shooting the ball up to his standards. A creative passer in transition and a savvy user of his body getting to the rim off the dribble, Rootes will call his own number confidently in big spots in games. Both teams are very different when Dyck and Rootes are not on the floor. Expect the Badgers to put their best defender, 6'2" Mike Kemp, the OUA West Defensive Player-of-the-Year, on Dyck with another strong defender, 6'3" Rohan Steen also likely to take a turn guarding the talented wing. Rootes will likely matchup with T-Birds starter 6'0" Brett Leversage or 6'0" Alex Murphy off the bench, who is quickly gaining confidence in during this his sophomore season. UBC has experience and quality up front in 6'6" sophomore Brent Malish, who can step outside and knock shots down, 6'7" Matt Rachar, effective scoring in and around the paint and 6'8" Bryson Kool, finally healthy and one of the better big men in the CIS running the floor when fit and motivated. Brock's resurgence after a slow start to the season coincided with more focus and production from their forwards including 6'7" Owen White, who has matured into a steady inside player with several solid moves either facing or with his back to the basket, and 6'7" Dusty Bianchin, who clogs the paint defensively and is most comfortable shooting the elbow jumper offensively. 6'8" Michael Muir joined the Badgers after Christmas and provides a very good third option up front for Brock. Both teams have instant-offense type players off the bench in Brock's three-point specialist 6'0" Scott Murray, who took one for the team at the beginning of the season, going to the bench after starting for much of his career - he may start tomorrow depending upon the status of Steen - and T-Birds 6'4" Blaine Labranche, shooting 47% from beyond the arc in the post-season off the bench. Bottom Line: UBC has a little more depth and a star scorer in Dyck however this is one of the best defending Brock teams in recent memory and the Badgers are very comfortable and full of confidence after defeating a pair of Canada West powers in Brandon and Calgary at the Winnipeg Christmas tournament.

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