#1 Ottawa (27-4, 17-2) (LW #1)… Gee-Gees had a pair of relatively easy victories at Nipissing and Laurentian on the weekend although Ottawa trailed in Sudbury early in the second half and led by only 5 late in the third when underrated 6’6″ forward Matt Plunkett buried back-to-back 3’s, part of a 16-2 run that put the game away. OUA Player-of-the-Year candidate 6’1″ Mike L’Africain had 22 points and 8 assists in the victory. This coming Saturday, Ottawa will host the winner of the York at Queen’s first-round playoff game to be played in Kingston on Wednesday night.
#2 Ryerson (21-3, 17-2) (LW #2)… Rams laboured in both of their weekend games, requiring a last-second three by 6’3″ Adika Peter-McNeilly to outlast Queen’s by 1 on Friday and then were tested well into the fourth quarter last night at York before pulling away. These two victories were critical to Rams retaining the OUA #1 seed and the right to host the Wilson Cup Final 4 should they defeat the winner of the Western/Lakehead match-up to be played Wednesday in London. 6’7″ J.V. Mukama, who had been the most complete player on Rams through their tough stretch of games against Carleton, Ottawa and Brock, had missed time and did return for 17 minutes last night at York. Ryerson also got back 6’6″ Juwan Grannum, one of their more underrated contributors, but 6’5″ Ammanuel Diressa missed last night’s game with a leg injury. Rams are home on Saturday looking to clinch a spot at the Wilson Cup, which would likely be held upstairs in the larger facility at Mattamy Center.
#3 Carleton (21-4, 16-3) (LW #3)… Somewhat under the radar, the Ravens are getting back to their tough, defensive ways, locking down teams and beginning to get contributions from deeper in their bench. Carleton hosts the winner of Brock/Laurier next Saturday night at the Raven’s Nest and have been holding teams to below 30% shooting recently. Key to the Ravens are their pair of upper-classmen in 6’4″ Connor Wood and 6’5″ Guillaume Boucard, expected to lead the current version of the 5-time defending national champions.
#4 Calgary (24-6, 17-3) (LW #4)… Today’s last second “and 1” by Alberta’s freshman Dwan Williams (Toronto Oakwood) in the third and deciding game of the “Battle of Edmonton” ensures that Calgary will host the Golden Bears in a Canada West quarter-final series. Bears 6’6″ forward Mamadou Gueye had 29 points in the win. Calgary swept the season series with a solid win at Alberta two weeks ago after winning easily at home before Christmas. A victory in the Best-of-3 series in the Jack Simpson Gym would vault the Dinos into the CW Final 4 with the tournament taking place at home at the “Jack”.
#5 UBC (19-5, 16-4) (LW #5)… T-Birds finished in 2nd spot in the Pioneer and are set to host a Canada West quarter-final home series against Lethbridge Pronghorns, 4th in the Pioneer, beginning this Thursday night in Vancouver. UBC swept Lethbridge at home during the first week in January, out-rebounding the Horns in both games and shooting 48% themselves. Lethbridge continues to hope that 6’1″ Dejon Burdeaux will return after an ankle injury sustained last weekend. UBC retains the automatic host bid for the Nationals but has sites set on another Canada West playoff crown.
#6 Manitoba (19-10, 15-5) (LW #6) Manitoba’s first home playoff series since 2003-04 begins this Thursday against Fraser Valley Cascades – second in the Explorer Division. Teams met in the pre-season (October 24th) on a neutral floor at the Duckworth Center as part of the Winnipeg tournament and Cascades, after taking an early 20 point lead, held on to win 72-67. Bisons played that game without 6’4″ Keith Omoerah and 6’7″ Jonathan Alexander. Bisons are looking for their first playoff series win in 15 seasons. Bisons have not played in almost 3 weeks after winning 7 consecutive and 16 of their past 19 games.
#7 McMaster (18-6, 14-5) (LW #8)… Marauders were solid during a pair of road victories this week at Brock and at Guelph, clinching OUA Central and earning a first-round bye and #4 seed in OUA playoffs. 6’4″ Leon Alexander‘s resurgence (24 ppg average this week) has help Mac finish the regular season winning 5 of their past 6 games. A potential quarter-final re-match with Windsor looms next Saturday giving Mac the opportunity to potentially exorcise some demons from last season’s upset playoff loss, also at home.
#8 Brock (20-6, 13-6) (LW#7)… With an opportunity to capture #4 seed in the OUA, Badgers lost their rivalry game vs. McMaster in front of 2,800 fans at the Meridian Center and, even after Saturday’s victory at Guelph, have dropped to #6 seed. Still, Brock has made the playoffs for the first time since ’12-’13 and hosts a first-round playoff game (Wednesday vs. Laurier). 6’5″ Dani Elgadi appears to have broken out of a late season slump with a 36 point game vs. Mac.
#9 Dalhousie (19-8, 13-7) (LW #9) Tigers had clinched first-place last weekend however Friday’s night’s exciting loss at Cape Breton, when freshman Jack MacAulay launched a desperation 3 from the right corner with no time remaining can be cause for some worry. Dal struggled at the free throw line late, twice having a chance to clinch it. 6’2″ Kashrell Lawrence was outstanding and 5’11” Ritchie Kanza-Mata remains the underlying key at both ends for the defending AUS tournament champions, who await the winner of Thursday’s Saint Mary’s/UNB quarter-final.
#10 McGill (19-5, 11-4) (LW #10) For a team that has shot ~23% from downtown after Christmas, a 7 for 17 (42%) effort from beyond the arc was confidence building for the Redmen. McGill’s 30 point home win on Saturday vs. Bishop’s eliminated the Gaiters from the post-season and completed a 4-game Redmen sweep of the season series. McGill is likely to face Laval in the RSEQ Final 4 at home. Redmen complete their regular season at home vs.UQAM next weekend. McGill hosts the conference tournament RSEQ Final Four at Love Competition Hall on March 11th and 12th for the first time.