Sunday, 8 March 2009

Western Press Release with Brad Campbell comments

CIS Final 8: Mustangs draw hometown Gee-Gees in opening round, seeded No. 4

LONDON, Ont. - The Western Mustangs were seeded No. 4 for the 2009 CIS Final 8 men’s basketball national tournament and will have a difficult path to a national title facing the No. 5 seeded Ottawa Gee-Gees on Friday March 13 at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.

Championship website:

The OUA Wilson Cup champion and host Carleton Ravens, ranked No. 1 in Canada for most of the year, enter as the top seed in the tournament, while two Canada West teams, No. 2 Calgary and No. 3 UBC, were ranked ahead of Western.

A non-Ontario team has not won the national title in seven years.

"I'm very disappointed with the draw," said Western head coach Bradley Campbell. "Looking at the draw we have a tough road ahead, but we’re up to the challenge. Playing Ottawa, we face a very good team and in their own back yard which is basically a home game for them."

Ottawa was ranked No. 3 in the final Canadian Interuniversity Sport rankings in 2008-09, while Western was at No. 4. Both the Gee-Gees and Mustangs lost their only playoff game to Carleton – Ottawa a 21-point loss in the OUA East Final on March 4 and Western a 14-point loss in the OUA Wilson Cup Final on March 7.

"And we would see a tough semifinal matchup if we get past Ottawa. If we win a national championship, it's going to be earned," Campbell said. “The way it's set up, we can go to our national tournament and not even play a team from outside our region."

Even though the Mustangs defeated Ottawa by 20 points in the opening weekend of the regular season, the Gee-Gees have since added guard Josh Wright to the roster, who Campbell describes as “a quick and skilled player” who played top minutes with Syracuse in the NCAA. The Utica, N.Y., native was also a two-time New York State All-State selection.

While the host Carleton squad earned the No. 1 seed, the St. Francis Xavier X-Men earned the lone wildcard spot and No. 8 seed after losing to Dalhousie in the Atlantic University Sport conference final.

The eight-team, single elimination tournament gets under way Friday March 13 with the quarter-final round and concludes on Sunday March 15 with the presentation of the national final at 4 p.m. The Score Television Network will broadcast the last two first-round duels on Friday evening, including the Western-Ottawa game LIVE at 6 p.m. The Carleton-St. FX quarter-final is on tape delay. The Score will also carry Saturday’s semi-finals and the gold-medal match on Sunday.

Joining host Carleton in the nation’s capital for the chase for the W.P. McGee trophy are the No. 2 Calgary Dinos (Canada West champions), No. 3 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West finalists), No. 4 Mustangs (OUA West Champion), No. 5 Ottawa Gee-Gees (OUA bronze medalists), No. 6 Dalhousie Tigers (AUS champions), No. 7 Concordia Stingers (QSSF champions) and No. 8 St. Francis Xavier X-Men (AUS finalists, wild card).

St. FX received the wildcard berth following a vote from the selection committee, the group which also seeded the teams, comprised of CIS coaches.

New national champions will be crowned next weekend as the Brock Badgers missed the OUA playoffs with an 8-14 record after graduating a number of star players following their 2007-08 championship run. Their playoff hopes were crushed by the Mustangs in the final game of the 2008-09 regular season with Western winning 74-71.

Calgary and Concordia kick off the 2009 Final 8 tourney March 13 at 12:30 p.m., while the second quarter-final duel pits UBC against Dalhousie at 2:30 p.m. The evening session will see both hometown teams in action as Ottawa faces Western at 6 p.m., while Carleton battles St. FX at 8 p.m.

The No. 1 Ravens saw their run of five straight W.P. McGee trophy victories – the second longest in CIS history - come to an end a year ago when they dropped a double-overtime decision to Acadia in the semifinal round. Carleton led 13 of 14 national coaches polls this season – UBC led for one week – and hasn’t lost to a CIS opponent since an 80-68 defeat at Windsor in its conference opener back on November 7.

Western lost in the other 2008 semifinal to eventual champions Brock.

The No. 2 Dinos have never claimed the W.P. McGee trophy since the inaugural championship in 1963; the No. 3 Thunderbirds have a pair of rings but haven’t been crowned since 1972 (1972, 1970); the No. 4 Mustangs won their lone title in 1991; the No. 5 Gee-Gees and No. 6 Tigers are both looking for their first CIS banner; the No. 7 Stingers were national champions in 1990; the No. 8 X-Men were crowned for the first time in 1993 and captured back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.

PLEASE NOTE: The Mustangs will practice two more times in London, Ont., prior to their Wednesday March 11 morning bus departure for the CIS Final 8 tournament in Ottawa:

Monday March 9 7 p.m. Alumni Hall

Thames March 10 7 p.m. Thames Hall

Media Availability before the practice as players arrive. Please arrange in advance. Walk-ups may not be filled as pre-arranged interviews will be given preference. Practice starts at 7 p.m. sharp.


1. Carleton Ravens (OUA Wilson Cup and OUA East champions: 21-1 regular season, 3-0 playoffs)

2. Calgary Dinos (Canada West champions: 17-5 regular season, 4-0 playoffs)

3. UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West finalists: 21-2 regular season, 5-1 playoffs)

4. Western Mustangs (OUA West champion, OUA finalists: 19-3 regular season, 2-1 playoffs)

5. Ottawa Gee-Gees (OUA bronze medalists: 19-3 regular season, 2-1 playoffs)

6. Dalhousie Tigers (AUS champions: 13-7 regular season, 3-0 playoffs)

7. Concordia Stingers (QSSF champions: 12-4 regular season, 2-0 playoffs)

8. StFX X-Men (Wildcard – AUS finalists: 17-3 regular season, 1-1 playoffs)


Thursday, March 12

19:15 All-Canadian Reception (Marriott Hotel - Victoria Room)

Friday, March 13

12:30 Quarterfinal #1: No. 2 Calgary vs. No. 7 Concordia

14:30 Quarterfinal #2: No. 3 UBC vs. No. 6 Dalhousie

18:00 Quarterfinal #3: No. 4 Western vs. No. 5 Ottawa (The Score)

20:00 Quarterfinal #4: No. 1 Carleton vs. No. 8 St. Francis Xavier (The Score / tape delay: 22:00)

Saturday, March 14

12:30 Consolation #1

14:30 Consolation #2

18:00 Semifinal #1 (The Score)

20:00 Semifinal #2 (The Score)

Sunday, March 15

13:30 5th-place consolation final

16:00 Final (The Score)


Anonymous said...

Any word as to whether Tyler Richards and the other two suspended X players will be reinstated for the tournament?
Not that it should make a lick of difference...Carleton is at least 15 points better whether he plays or not.
But somehow, it's the principle of the thing, if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who are the individuals responsible for seeding the tournament, but all I can say is they have a serious case of myopia.
Three Ontario teams on the same side of the draw?
Pitting Western and Ottawa together in a first round match?
Are these the same people who seeded SMU #3 and Acadia #5 last year?
Just what criteria DO they use?
Throwing darts, perhaps?