Ravens News

FINAL 8 PREVIEW | Ravens secure top spot entering national championship

Written by U SPORTS

Photo by Valerie Wutti

TORONTO, Ontario –  The Carleton Ravens were named tournament favourites on Sunday, while the Calgary Dinos earned the at-large berth, as the seeding and quarterfinal matchups were announced for the men’s tournament at the 2020 U SPORTS Final 8 Basketball Championships.

The men’s tournament, hosted jointly for the first time with the women’s championship, by the Ottawa Gee-Gees, Carleton Ravens, and the Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group, tips off on Friday and concludes Sunday with the gold medal game at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

All championship bracket games (quarterfinals, semifinals, medal games) from both the men’s and women’s tournaments will be played at The Arena at TD Place, while the consolation brackets are played at the Ravens Nest on the campus of Carleton University.

Livestreaming in English is available for free worldwide on CBCSports.ca, CBC Gem, the CBC Sports App for iOS and Android devices, with French digital coverage carried on USPORTS.LIVE.

 

TEAM PROFILES

No. Team Playoff Finish Records (Regular Season / Playoffs) Last / Total

Titles

Team Offence (PTS/Game) Team Defence

(PTS Against/Game)

1 Carleton OUA Champions 21-1 / 3-0 2019 / 14 97.8 / 1st 63.5 / 1st
2 Dalhousie AUS Champions 19-1 / 2-0 Never 89.3 / 5th 65.8 / 2nd
3 UBC CW Champions 16-4 / 3-0 1972 / 2 93.5 / 2nd 77.0 / 17th
4 Alberta CW Finalists 19-1 / 2-1 2002 / 3 92.2 / 3rd 72.5 / 7th
5 Western OUA Finalists 16-6 / 2-1 1991 / 1 87.7 / 8th 79.0 / 21st
6 Bishop’s RSEQ Champions 8-8 / 2-0 1998 / 1 79.9 / 27th 81.5 / 26th
7 Ottawa OUA Semifinalists / Hosts 18-4 / 1-1 Never 85.4 / 11th 70.0 / 3rd
8 Calgary CW Semifinalists / At-large berth 18-2 / 1-1 2018 / 1 90.5 / 4th 70.8 / 4th

 

TEAM LEADERS

No. Team Points/Game Rebounds/Game Assists/Game
1 Carleton Lloyd Pandi, 16.1 Lloyd Pandi, 6.3 Marcus Anderson, 3.1
2 Dalhousie Keevan Veinot, 15.6 Keevan Veinot, 5.2 Keevan Veinot, 5.5
3 UBC Jadon Cohee, 19.1 Grant Shephard, 7.3 Jadon Cohee, 5.7
4 Alberta Adam Paige, 19.7 Brody Clarke, 8.7 Tyus Jefferson, 4.0
5 Western Omar Shiddo, 19.6 Julian Walker, 9.2 Nikola Farkic, 7.2
6 Bishop’s Nervens

Demosthene, 19.4

Jordan Thornhill, 7.1 Nervens

Demosthene, 5.3

7 Ottawa Calvin Epistola, 19.0 Guillaume Pépin, 6.5 Calvin Epistola, 3.9
8 Calgary Brett Layton, 20.6 Brett Layton, 14.9 Max Eisele, 3.4

No. 1 Carleton Ravens

OUA Champions

Carleton produced some staggering numbers in 2019-20, with 11 conference titles and eight U SPORTS banners already secured since 2002-03.

The Ravens dominated opponents, going 21-1, with the only blemish coming against cross-town rival Ottawa in the Capital Hoops Classic, which the Gee-Gees narrowly won 68-67. Carleton paced the OUA in points (97.8 ppg), field goals made (36.7 ppg), field goal percentage (50.9 per cent), three-point percentage (38.3 per cent), rebound margin (12.7 per game), and points allowed (63.5 per game. First-year bench boss Taffe Charles was named OUA Coach of the Year after a 12-year tenure leading the Ravens’ women.

OUA Rookie of the Year Lloyd Pandi led the team at 16.1 PPG, with guards Yasiin Joseph and Munis Tutu close behind at 14.0 and 12.0, respectively. The backcourt duo of Isiah Osborne (10.9 ppg) and Alain Louis (10.2 ppg) provided a spark off the bench.

 

No. 2 Dalhousie Tigers

AUS Champions

 

 No. 3 UBC Thunderbirds

CW Champions

The UBC Thunderbirds finished third in the Canada West standings, highlighted by Kevin Hanson earning career victory No. 314 on Jan. 9, 2020, and becoming the winningest head coach in league history.

Fifth-year guard Jadon Cohee earned CW First-Team All-Star honours after leading UBC in both points and assists per game (19.1 and 5.7). Third-year forward Grant Shephard was named to the league’s third All-Star team after averaging 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest in 2019-20. A member of Canada’s 2017 FIBA Under-19 World Cup-winning squad, Shephard also had 59.2 per cent field goal percentage, ranking ninth nationally. The team boasted two other double-digit scorers in fifth-year guard Manroop Clair (14.2 points per game) and third-year guard Grant Audu (13.6).

 

No. 4 Alberta Golden Bears

CW Finalists

Playing without U SPORTS All-Canadian forward Brody Clarke for a majority of the regular season, the Alberta Golden Bears still finished with a 19-1 record, clinching the No. 1 seed in Canada West.

After eliminating Lethbridge in the quarter-final, the Bears advanced past Manitoba in the semifinal thanks to a 91-85 overtime win at home to advance to the U SPORTS Final 8 for the fourth-straight season (a program-first).

Propelling the Bears this season has been their deadly three-point shooting, which led the nation at 41.1 per cent this season. Clarke also returned late, averaging 18.9 points per game to finish the regular season. Alberta will be looking for a first win at nationals since 2014, having gone winless in six games over the past three years.

 

No. 5 Western Mustangs

OUA Finalists

Western laid the foundation for its championship appearance after posting a solid 16-6 record to finish atop the OUA West division. Known for their deadly accuracy from long range, the Mustangs knocked down a league-best 10.5 three-pointers a game, while shooting 35.4 per cent along the way (second in the OUA).

The team is equally aggressive on the defensive end, leading the conference with 10.6 steals per game. Second-year guard Omar Shiddo and third-year forward Julian Walker proved to be a dangerous tandem in the Mustangs’ campaign, as they led the team with 19.6 and 17.8 PPG, respectively. Walker, a second team all-star was also a monster on the glass, finishing tied for eighth in the OUA among rebounders at 9.2 per game.

 

No. 6 Bishop’s Gaiters

RSEQ Champions

Junior Nervens Demosthene had a breakout year in 2019-20, leading the Gaiters to an 8-8 record and third place in the RSEQ. He capped his season off with a 39-point performance on 15-20 shooting on Feb. 20 against Concordia. Bishop’s then avenged a loss from a year ago when they beat the Stingers in Montreal in an RSEQ semifinal, before winning the conference title on a buzzer-beater over UQAM.

Demosthene is a former RSEQ Rookie of the Year and member of the U SPORTS All-Rookie team member. He was not heavily recruited out of Cegep but has made a name for himself this year.  The 39 points in a game is the most in the conference since 2014.

Abdul Kamane also earned all-star status despite missing games late in the year due to injury.

The emergence of local-product Carl Jacob leave the Gaiters with a bright future.  The Champlain-Lennoxville product was named to the conference all-rookie team.

The Gaiters return to the U SPORTS Final for the first time since 2015 and look for their first national championship since 1998.

 

No. 7 Ottawa Gee-Gees

OUA Semifinalists / Hosts

 

No. 8 Calgary Dinos

CW Semifinalists / At-large berth

The Dinos have consistently found themselves near the top of the U SPORTS rankings, having a stellar season with few blips in the radar to finish 18-2. Their only significant falter this season came at the hand of the Alberta Golden Bears, snapping a winning streak that lasted more than two full years.

Big man and CW Player of the Year Brett Layton has been a force at both ends of the court, with the Law student setting both school and conference rebounding records after averaging 20.5 points and 14.7 rebounds per game this season.

In the post-season, the Dinos beat the UFV Cascades in the quarterfinals before being upset by the UBC Thunderbirds 82-71 at home in the semis, but their impressive campaign was enough to earn the at-large berth.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE

Date Event Time (ET) Time (PT) English French
Wed. Mar. 4 All-Canadian Awards Gala 7 p.m. 4 p.m. N/A N/A
Fri. Mar. 6 No. 4 Alberta vs. No.  5 Western 1 p.m. 10 a.m. CBCSports.ca

CBC Gem

CBC Sports App

USPORTS.LIVE
No. 1 Carleton vs. No. 8 Calgary 3 p.m. 12 p.m.
No. 3 UBC vs.

No. 6  Bishop’s

6 p.m. 3 p.m.
No. 2 Dalhousie vs. No. 7 Ottawa 8 p.m. 5 p.m.

 

Full championship schedule available here.