With a short-lived celebration, Brock men’s basketball was back in the gym Monday morning as they began to prepare for the U Sports Final 8 national tournament.
Prior to Sunday evening, the Badgers season was on hold following an OUA semi-finals loss to the Ryerson Rams last week. The loss put the Badgers in the same spot as last season, with their national tournament hopes in the hands of a committee. The process, which seemed to run a lot more smoothly this year than last year, saw the committee choose Brock as the eighth and final team in the tournament. Brock was chosen over Dalhousie, UBC, Ottawa and Laurentian.
The committee also seeded the Badgers as number seven for the tournament, as they’ll play their quarter-final game on March 8 versus the number two Calgary Dinos.
The Badgers and Dinos matchup is an interesting one. During last years wild-card, the committee was faced with a tough decision: sending either Brock or Calgary. They ultimately picked Calgary, upsetting people around the Brock community who thought the Badgers got snubbed of a spot.
One year later, the two teams will meet in the opening round creating an interesting discussion. Although, the teams are different from one year ago, this is an opportunity for Brock to prove themselves.
The Badgers and Dinos did play in an exhibition game back in October — the Badgers winning 82-70. Both teams went with a rotation that featured more minutes for their key players — Calgary did not have Lucas Mannes, who averaged 10.3 points this season in 18 games. However, the Badgers only played Kascius Small-Martin for seven minutes — the rookie guard has become the Badgers sixth man and a key piece to their defence. They also re-added Trevor Thompson during the season half off the season.
It’s no doubt both teams have improved over the course of the 2017-2018 season, making it tough to analyize the March 8 game based off the preseason game the two played.
Within their respective conferences, the two teams put up similar numbers. Calgary averaged 87.3 points per game on 44.4 per cent shooting and averaged 38.8 rebounds. On the other side, Brock averaged 86.1 points per game on 45.4 per cent from the field and 42.6 rebounds. Both teams were sound defensively all season as well, so it’ll be one of the more intriguing first round games.
The winner of the Badgers-Dinos matchup will play the winner of McGill and UNB on Saturday in a semi-final matchup that will be broadcasted on Sportsnet.
The rest of the tournament:
The RSEQ champion McGill Redmen will play the AUS champion UNB as mentioned above. McGill continues to dominate their own conference, but when speaking with a person who use to coach out in Quebec, they called this seasons McGill team better than previous years. UNB barely got to the tournament with a one point win over STFX in the AUS finals, so they’ll be dependent on guard Javon Masters to lead their offense.
The Canada West runner-up, Alberta will play the OUA runner-up Ryerson. Alberta has been a top team all season long, and it was a bit of a shocker to see them lose to Calgary in the Canada West finals. Some believe Alberta is the one team that can give the dynasty Carleton Ravens a run for their money. Ryerson, on the other hand, is a team that has been to the national tournament last year so they are an underdog team that could make a deep run.
Then there’s Carleton versus Acadia. Carleton is undefeated and Acadia is only in the tournament because they’re the host. Acadia didn’t get to their conference semi-finals and were blownout by Carleton in preseason play.