During the current nine game win streak that includes an average win margin of 20.8 points, the fan base for Brock men’s basketball can get caught up in believing the team is unstoppable. However, the Badgers biggest obstacles for an OUA championship and U Sports Final 8 berth are all in the east division, including the two teams Brock lost to this season: Carleton and Ottawa.
In a weak division, it is easy to forget about the stronger teams. The Badgers haven’t faced an east opponent since December, so let’s take this moment to see how the top-four teams in the east are doing.
Carleton Ravens: 19-0
Beat Brock 80-75 in overtime on December 2
What can be said about the Ravens, who are the favourites to win the OUA and U Sports championships. The Ravens continue to dominate throughout the regular season, however, Ryerson and Laurentian – like Brock – pushed the Ravens to the edge but all fell short.
This is a younger Ravens team than what we have seen in the past, so inexperience could play a factor come playoff time. Although, right now they remain the best offensive and defensive team in the OUA.
Laurentian Voyageurs: 16-3
Lost to Brock 71-55 on November 18
Don’t let the 16-point loss to Brock fool you. The Voyageurs are arguably the third best team in the OUA behind Carleton and Brock. They’re coming off the worst loss of the season this past weekend to the 8-11 Nipissing Lakers – who also upset Brock during the 2016-17 season. The Voyageurs should finish as the number two seed in the east, however, three of their remaining games are against Carleton, Ottawa and Ryerson, so nothing is set in stone.
Brock fans should also not be confused about Kadre Gray, who scored 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting in Laurentian’s loss to Brock. Gray continues to be the best scorer in the OUA, and can single-handily lead Laurentian to victory. The Voyageurs had a bad game versus Brock, but if the Badgers see them in the playoffs, it will be a lot closer of a game.
Ottawa Gee-Gee’s: 13-6
Beat Brock 78-69 on December 1
Following their upset victory over Brock, Ottawa was taken to overtime by McMaster, so to say the Dec. 1 game was the worst of the Badgers season is an understatement.
Now don’t get it wrong, Ottawa also has a win over Ryerson so they aren’t some middle of the pack team. They just aren’t the same talented team Brock beat last year in the OUA bronze medal game. The Gee-Gee’s three recent losses to Carleton, Ryerson and Laurentian were lost by an average margin of 7.3 points per game. This is a Gee-Gee’s team that can beat anyone on a given night, but also lose to anyone.
Ryerson Rams: 13-6
Lost to Brock 80-75 in overtime on November 8
Just like Ottawa, this isn’t a Ryerson team that’s as talented as they have been in the past. However, this Rams team is much more dangerous come playoff time.
The Rams have Manny Diressa back from injury – the guard missed the Nov. 8 game versus Brock. Over his last seven games, Diressa is averaging 31.3 points per game – including a 50-point game and 41-point game.
We all know basketball isn’t a one-man game, so Diressa can’t carry the Rams on his own. The consistency of the guys around him continue to be a major question mark and it’ll be interesting to see how the Rams do with games remaining versus Queen’s and Laurentian.
With four games remaining on Brock’s schedule, they have two laughable games left against a 2-18 Lakehead team. They then finish the season on the road versus the second and third best teams in the west, Western and Laurier. Brock is guaranteed a first-round bye, so as the season winds down, it’s best to keep an eye on the east for when the Badgers get deep in the playoffs and have to play one of the four teams mentioned above.