All 17 OUA teams are in action this weekend with 7 games tonight and 8 tomorrow night. #1 Ryerson hosts Algoma on Saturday and then meets U of T Varsity Blues at the Enercare Center as part of N.B.A. All-star festivities. While the game will bring much-needed visibility to our product, both teams view this as a must-win as the Blues are trying to hold off York Lions for the final playoff spot in the OUA East while Rams continue to hold out hope of garnering #1 seed in the OUA playoffs as per RPI system, which presently ranks them second despite their #1 national ranking and earlier 7 point win over uOttawa.
The Gee-Gees RPI calculation presently sits about 20 bps higher than Ryerson’s and if uOttawa can sweep what are two “stronger” (according to RPI) opponents this weekend, that lead should climb. In Hamilton tonight, the reeling Marauders who are still licking their wounds after a pair of losses at Lakehead two weeks ago, entertain Ottawa in the first game back in Burridge Gym for ex-Marauder 6’8″ Nathan McCarthy. Expect McCarthy and fellow big 6’6″ Brody Maracle to attack the interior “d” of the undersized Marauders – 6’7″ Connor Gilmore will be under pressure to defend – look for his foul count to potentially play a role tonight. The rivalry between Ottawa and McMaster has historically been healthy and it may become even sharper if the rumored transfer of ex-Marauder guard Adam Presutti to Ottawa materializes. Expect the Gee-Gees to have All-Canadian candidate Caleb Agada back in the lineup. Adding to the heightened expectations of an energetic affair, Gee-Gees star 6’1″ point guard Mike L’Africain was high school teammates with Presutti and Mac’s 6’3″ jumping jack forward Rohan Boney. Predictions of an exciting up tempo game in the 80’s or 90’s is not unreasonable with Mac very likely to be hard pressed to answer Gee-Gees paint area presence.
Brock Badgers get another opportunity at knocking off a Top 5 team, this time in the friendly confines of what is likely to be jam-packed and ear-plug loud Ben Davis Gym when Carleton Ravens come to town. Ravens perimeter shooting deserted them in their loss to Ottawa in the Capital Hoops Classic last weekend while Brock shook off a pasting by #1 Ryerson with what was a challenging win at U of T in a game that was up for grabs up until 2-3 minutes remaining. Brock’s depth will be tested, as will 6’6″ Matt Marshall in the paint as expect the Ravens to begin their attack with 6’5″ Guillaume Boucard. In the end, Carleton must make shots and Badgers need to free up 6’5″ Dani Elgadi, who should find multiple defenders in his grill.
Western at Queen’s is another interesting game if for no other reason that two potential First Team OUA all-stars will face off and very likely check each other for part of the game as Queen’s emerging 6’3″ Sukhpreet Singh – averaging 33 ppg in his past 3 games including 39 at Carleton and 36 vs. Lakehead in a program-progressing win at home last weekend faces off with 6’3″ Greg Morrow, one of the leading scorers in the nation.
York Lions are up against the proverbial wall and need a pair of wins against two difficult opponents this weekend, beginning tonight as Windsor Lancers visit.
Laurier hosts Guelph as the Golden Hawks honour Will Coulthard for becoming just the third Hawk to score more than 1,500 OUA league points in a career, joining Kale Harrison (1,918 points) and Max Allin (1,745 points).
How the RPI standings can or will change depending upon results is anyone’s guess but nonetheless there is plenty of fine action on the OUA schedule tonight.
In Quebec, UQAM travels to Bishop’s and Gaiters need to win every game to have any hope of a playoff spot. In fact, a loss to the Citadins this evening officially eliminates Bishop’s from the playoff picture, a year after one of the more successful post-season’s in recent Gaiters history. Still, the Gaiters program has several young, talented pieces that should eventually compete for RSEQ crowns.