CIS Final 8 Team Preview: Carleton Ravens
CIS record: 26-2
Head Coach: Dave Smart (16th season)
Regular season record: 17-2
Regular season standing: 2nd OUA North
Playoff record: 3-0
Playoff finish: OUA champions
Overall record vs. Final 8 teams: 4-2 (1-1 vs. WIN, 1-1 OTT, 1-0 VIC, 1-0 BIS)
Top 10 final ranking (Feb. 24): No. 1
Top 10 best ranking: No. 1 (9 polls)
Top 10 number of weeks ranked (13 polls): 13
National ranking (offence): 3rd (91.1)
National ranking (defence): 1st (56.4)
The defending Canadian University basketball champions are back at it again.
Carleton enters the CIS Final 8 as the top seed, earned with their Wilson Cup title in the OUA championship’s 103-59 drubbing of Windsor.
Dave Smart’s Ravens will open the CIS Final 8 against Saskatchewan Thursday starting another run that could net them their 11th national title in 13 seasons.
They prepare like a championship team, and they play like a championship team all season. No doubt they’ll be ready.
As it has been for the past four years, the Scrubb brothers will lead Carleton in everything they do while trying to become just the fourth and fifth players to win five CIS basketball titles.
It would also be Carleton’s second five-peat in program history.
Read that again. FIVE-PEAT.
Thomas Scrubb picked up the Wilson Cup MVP after averaging 17.2 points (including an absurd 50% shooting from three) and 7.6 rebounds for the season.
Phil Scrubb dominated the OUA Final controlling the floor and finishing with 20 points after averaging 16.6 this season. Both Scrubbs were named OUA First-Team All Stars this year and both are former CIS Final 8 tournament MVPs.
“I’m pretty comfortable playing with him, I’ve done it my whole life,” Phil told NPH about his relationship with Thomas. “Usually he knows what I like to do best and I know what he like to do best so we know each other pretty well so we don’t have to guess.”
The finale to the Scrubb era at Carleton should make for some CIS drama on the national level.
Despite graduating post powers Tyson Hinz (2014 Final 8 MVP) and Kevin Churchill, the Ravens have adapted and succeeded.
“We lost so much in terms of leadership and talent last year and really had to redefine how we played after losing Kevin and Tyson to graduation,” head coach Dave Smart said on Carleton’s website. “We were pretty much a low post team and now we’ve had to redefine how we play. I’m happy with how our guys have responded and how they’ve bought in.”
Often the lack of interior presence has forced Carleton to run four guards to space the floor with Thomas patrolling the middle as de facto combo-forward on offence and rebounder on defence, earning OUA Defensive Player of the Year.
Phil has also turned into more of a playmaker, increasing his assists from 2.7 per game in 2013-14 to 4.5.
“I think we’re a bit more athletic and can get out in transition a bit more this year,” said Scrubb.
Carleton’s defence has been nothing short of stifling allowing a CIS-low 56.4 points per game. The Ravens offence has soared as well averaging 91.1 points, third in the nation.
Connor Wood has become a solid third option on offence, averaging 13.4 points and shooting 47.8 per cent from three. Wood was named an OUA Second-Team All Star this season.
The Ravens also have Gavin Resch (8.6 ppg), Guillaume Boucard (8.5), Cameron Smythe (8.4), and Victor Raso (8.3) for a balanced attack and deep scoring threats.
Ryerson is playing at home. Windsor will be looking for revenge. Ottawa plays them tougher than anyone. But while the rest of the OUA may challenge Carleton for the CIS title, they’re still chasing the Ravens who have to be considered favourites.
“We’ve got a long way to go. It’s going to be tough,” said Smart. “Someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose. We’ll try to win.”
Thursday, March 12
11:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 8 Saskatchewan vs. No. 1 Carleton (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *