I’m not entirely sure that my bosses or the OUA would want me to say this, but this Saturday’s basketball game is entirely meaningless. After all, by winning the OUA West division title, the Western Mustangs have already clinched a spot in the CIS National Championships. Meanwhile, the #1 ranked Carleton Ravens are hosting the nationals so they were in even if they didn’t rout the OUA East division en route to their eighth crown in ten years. Still, while this is just a glorified exhibition game, we could be looking at a national championship preview.
Actually, I shouldn’t say that my bosses don’t want me saying the above because one of them pointed this fact out to me. In fact, if the game wasn’t in London at Alumni Hall or it conflicted with the hockey game later that night, we wouldn’t be broadcasting it at all. The fact remains that we are, so here’s a preview of tomorrow’s big OUA Men’s Basketball Final.
#1 Carleton Ravens
The Ravens come into action on Saturday as the heavy favourites. They have decimated the whole of the OUA field this season. After losing their first game of the year to Windsor, the Ravens have run up a streak of 23 straight wins which includes a 79-74 win against the Mustangs at Alumni Hall.
The key to the game for Carleton is to use their perfection on offense. The Ravens are the strongest offensive team in the OUA averaging 8 more points per game than any other team in Ontario. Western’s emphasis on rebounding and solid defending in the paint will only get them so far. It will be the ability of Carleton to drown them the Mustangs with offense that could allow them to lift the Wilson Trophy at game’s end. The man leading that attack will be the East division player of the year Stuart Turnbull and first team all-star Aaron Doornekamp.
#4 Western Mustangs
The Mustangs find themselves heading to the national championships after a surprise appearance last season. This year, the Mustangs started and finished the season ahead of the pack in the OUA West. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, they haven’t beaten the Ravens since 2001.
The Mustangs need to win the battles along the glass to pick up the W at the end of the day. Keenan Jeppesen and Brad Smith are two of the OUA’s most dominant big men and can control a game when “el fuego.” OUA West defensive player of the year is going to play an important part of the Mustangs defensive scheme when he tries to shut down Turnbull and will have to be as good on the offensive end of the floor as Wednesday when he was 6-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Of course, you can listen to this game live on 94.9FM CHRW (in London) and at CHRWradio.com starting at about 1:55 PM on Saturday. And you can spend the following hour-and-a-half wondering who thought it was a good idea to let me be a basketball commentator.