Brock men’s basketball heads to Ottawa for the OUA Final Four

Charles Kissi has been the Brock men’s basketball coach for four seasons and each year the program has taken huge steps forward. In year one, the Badgers won four games, then seven games the year after, followed by a 13 win season. They upped that this season with 15 victories.

What has stood out for Kissi and the Badgers this season is they have earned themselves a spot into the OUA final four. Not shocking at all, as Kissi, since taking over the program, set out a four year plan to achieve that goal.

The OUA final four has turned out to be exactly how most predicted at the start of the season: number one seeded Carleton will host the weekend and play Brock, while number two seeded Ottawa will play number three seed Ryerson. The winners of the semi-final games will earn a berth to the U Sports final 8, and the winner of the bronze medal game could earn themselves a spot as well.

Here is a breakdown of the weekend ahead:

#1 Carleton Ravens versus #4 Brock Badgers

This is the first time the Badgers have reached the OUA final four since 2008 — the same year they went on to win the National championship. The last time the Badgers beat the Ravens’ dynasty was January 7, 2006 when they picked up a 69-67 victory, but have never defeated Carleton on their home court.

Last year was the first time the two programs had met in an OUA playoff game, which the Ravens won 90-52. In this years regular season matchup, the Badgers lost 80-68 — the closest that Brock has come to beating the Ravens since 2007.

How can the underdog Badgers come out on top to upset the number one seed? It’s going to take a consistent 40 minutes of play on both ends of the floor. The Badgers got off to a decent start in the regular season matchup against the Ravens, but the opening quarter closed out on a 10-3 Carleton run.

The focus will be on the defensive end for the Badgers, who allowed the Ravens to shoot 47.5 per cent from the field. Connor Wood will also need to be stopped by the Badgers as he has averaged 19.3 points per game versus the Badgers over the last three seasons — including 37 points in the playoff game last year.

The Badgers will also need to limit their turnovers (20 turnovers against Carleton on December 6) and with their length, Brock will need the edge in the rebound category.

The last time Carleton lost a playoff game in Ottawa was in 2010 when Saskatchewan defeated them in the CIS semi-finals. This won’t be an easy game for the Badgers, as the Ravens are no friendly opponent on their home court.

#2 Ottawa Gee-Gees versus #3 Ryerson Rams

Last year the Rams finally got over falling short of reaching the OUA championship game for three consecutives seasons after losing to Carleton in 2012. The Rams, without their head coach Roy Rana, were able to defeat Carleton to earn the banner.

For Ryerson to go back-to-back they’ll have to get by the Gee-Gee’s, a team they have a three game losing streak against in the playoffs.

The Rams got the best of the Gee-Gees in the final game of the regular season this year, taking the game 94-88 in overtime. Don’t let the seeding fool you, as neither team is a true underdog heading into this game.

The Rams were 10 points per game better than the Gee-Gee’s on the season, but both teams had similar field goal percentage as the Rams shot 44.3 per cent and Ottawa at 45.9 per cent. Besides the points per game category the two teams are quite evenly matched in many statistical categories.

This game should come down to the wire like their game in the regular season, so to say one team is better than the other won’t be possible until after this playoff matchup.

Predictions:

OUA semi-final game #1: Carleton over Brock

OUA semi-final game #2: Ryerson over Ottawa

OUA bronze medal game: Brock over Ottawa

OUA championship game: Carleton over Ryerson

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