After the most open and thrilling season of recent memory in the OUA, the Wilson Cup Final Four has arrived, and will be played at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto. The Ottawa Gee-Gees, Carleton Ravens, Windsor Lancers and the host Ryerson Rams all have a legitimate shot at winning the OUA title and advancing to the CIS Final 8.
Mitch Robson and Jordan Henry break down the OUA Final Four.
ROBSON: Capital Hoops hits Toronto in the early game, as Ottawa faces Carleton at 5 pm on Friday. A quick rundown of how they both got here, Carleton absolutely waxed Brock 90-52 last Saturday, and on the opposite end of the spectrum Ottawa survived on a last second layup from OUA player of the year Mike L’Africain, 73-72.
HENRY: A month ago I’m taking Carleton, but now I’m leaning towards Ottawa because I think they’re rebounding, although it has been good, won’t stay strong against Ottawa’s physicality. Also Kaza Kajami-Keane is going to have to play his best game of the year to nullify how good L’Africain has been, because in that loss to Ryerson he was fully outplayed by their guards.
ROBSON: Even if he’s not going to shoulder the scoring load, he’s definitely going to have to force L’africain into tough situations and get stops consistently and then on the offensive end create a lot of open looks for his teammates and potentially rack up double digit assists.
In turn, Connor Wood and Guillame Boucard should be able to take advantage of Keane’s drive and kick game and get hot from three early if Ottawa chooses not to run them off the line.
HENRY: Don’t forget the bench either, Ryan Ejim brings a lot of toughness and isn’t afraid to use his fouls, and I really love the way Cameron Smythe plays. He needs more minutes!
ROBSON: Coach Smart could definitely deploy Smythe for this matchup against the bigs of Ottawa, do you think post play is going to be the determining factor for either team?
HENRY: Yes, because the Gee-Gees have two guys that can stretch the floor and hit threes as well in Vikas Gill and Matt Plunkett and if you combine that with their two monsters in L’africain and Caleb Agada, that’s a lot of firepower.
ROBSON: For Carleton’s sake I’m going to counter that with a couple things, the first being one of your monsters, L’Africain, shot 11-27 against Queens, a solid defensive team, but nowhere near the strength of a Carleton defense. Also Agada was only 7-26 and missed all seven of his threes, if his three point stroke doesn’t come back it could be another very painful shooting night for the Gee-Gees.
HENRY: What I think it’s gonna come down to is the battle of each team’s sixth man, in a matchup of Matt Plunkett vs. Cam Smythe and who can bring more productivity for the scoring and defensive boost off the bench.
ROBSON: With that being said Jordan, let’s go final prediction for Carleton-Ottawa, your player of the game, and what is the game winning play?
HENRY: Ottawa wins. Caleb Agada is the best player, and he makes the winning play tipping in a missed three for the win, 78-76.
ROBSON: Carleton will take it with a five point win, a Boucard corner three will give him player of the game honours, and then the Ravens will seal it with two free throws late to make it an 85-80 final.
As Jay-Z once said, on to the next one, and that brings us to the late game between the #5 Windsor Lancers and #1 host Ryerson Rams.
HENRY: It’s the exact same as last year.
ROBSON: Except for the coaches!
HENRY: Well yes the season of the sabbatical continues here into the Final Four, but you could say the same thing applies to this year’s game as it does in last year’s Final 8 game they played upstairs. The Rams blew them out behind their home crowd.
I mean you can talk as much as you want about how dominant Alex Cambell is for the Lancers, but you can say the same thing about Rotimi Osuntola last year, and the Rams were able to keep him in check.
ROBSON: I would expect the same thing, OUA Coach of the Year Patrick Tatham has a special game plan in place to slow him down, call them the Campbell Rules. I also think that even though their six-man rotation played a fantastic game against Mac, the depth of Ryerson and the way they play will just be too much to overcome physically for Windsor.
HENRY: The Rams will definitely have to crush them from three-point land and use that advantage to get up big early, but conversely if the three point shot isn’t falling you can count on Adika Peter-McNeilly, Aaron Best and Manny Diressa to get to the free throw line and get the offence rolling again that way.
ROBSON: For sure, also the bigs in Kadeem Green and Adam Voll being solid free throw shooters is a huge advantage they hold over other teams.
One bench guy that’s going to have to be at his best is Filip Vujadinovic, because his physicality could be a real weapon against Campbell, and as long as he keeps his emotions and fouls in check then he could be the answer Tatham goes to all game to get stops.
HENRY: Windsor is in tough because you have to look at the home court advantage in play here, the Rams haven’t lost at home of course and they’re a good 12 points better as a team scoring wise. They’re also extremely comfortable in that gym, and it boxes the noise in and they feed off of it so well.
What’s your final prediction?
ROBSON: I’m going to go with a nine point Rams win, 89-80, and my bold call is going to be seven threes from Aaron Best to cement him as the player of the game.
HENRY: I essentially had the same thing, will go with a Ryerson 12 point win, the advantage the Rams have in 9 extremely talented athletes, the depth is going to be insurmountable for the Lancers.
The Wilson Cup will be available on Rogers TV Toronto and OUA.tv with the semi-finals going Friday at 5 and 8 pm, while the medal games go Saturday night with the bronze at 5 and the gold at 8.