HAMILTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) has determined the possible basketball playoff scenarios depending on game outcomes this Friday, Feb. 20 and Saturday, Feb. 21.
The top three teams from each OUA division will qualify for the postseason. All twelve qualifying teams, regardless of division position, will be ranked based on RPI (Rating Percentage Index) to determine the playoff bracket. The RPI rankings will be calculated and applied by the OUA based on regular season results against the other playoff teams. The top four teams based on the rankings will be awarded byes through the first round of the playoffs.
There are 128 mathematical possibilities for the end of season OUA Men's Playoff Ranking.
The top four seeds for the OUA men’s basketball playoffs, and therefore a first-round bye and quarter-final home game on Saturday Feb. 28, will be the Ottawa Gee-Gees, Carleton Ravens, Ryerson Rams and McMaster Marauders.
However, the order in which they finish the regular season will come down to the results from this weekend.
If Carleton were to beat the Laurentian Voyaguers on Friday, but the crosstown Gee-Gees were to fall to the Voyaugers on Saturday, Carleton surpass Ottawa and finish the season first in the RPI rankings.
Both Carleton and Ottawa also play the previously eliminated Nipissing Lakers this weekend and the result of either game cannot alter the RPI rankings.
Similarly, if the Ryerson Rams were to lose at home to the Queen’s Gaels on Friday night, the McMaster Marauders would surpass the Rams and finish the season in the third seed.
Since McMaster finishes the regular season against the non-playoff bound Algoma Thunderbirds, the outcome of the game will not affect their RPI ranking.
The Windsor Lancers, Lakehead Thunderwolves and Western Mustangs have clinched a postseason berth and now have aspirations of hosting an opening round playoff game on Wednesday, Feb. 25.
Western completes its regular season against Waterloo, a non-playoff team, and a Windsor loss to the Laurier Golden Hawks would move the Mustangs ahead of the Lancers in the final RPI rankings.
The Lakehead Thunderwolves finish off the OUA regular season with two road games this weekend against the Guelph Gryphons. Lakehead is currently ranked sixth in RPI and even with two losses, they should remain in a position to host a quarter-final game. However, two victories this weekend combined with a Windsor loss would move the Thunderwolves ahead of the Lancers.
Currently, the Gryphons occupy the eighth and final first-round hosting position. With Lakehead in town for the weekend, two wins would go a long way for the Gryphons in securing a home first-round matchup. Guelph will be forced to do a bit of scoreboard watching this weekend as a Toronto Varsity Blues playoff berth will ultimately hurt Guelph’s RPI ranking, as the Gryphons lost to the Blues 73-71 on Feb. 7.
Both the Varsity Blues and Queen’s Gaels enter the final weekend in the hunt for third place in the OUA East division and a playoff position. Before meeting on Saturday, the Gaels will first face Ryerson at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Friday night.
Should the Gaels pull off the Friday night upset, Toronto would have to defeat Queen’s and gain the point differential in order to make the playoffs.
In an earlier matchup on Jan. 23, the Gaels overcame a 14-point first quarter deficit to storm back and beat the Varsity Blues 82-74 on home court. Tanner Graham scored a team high 24 points and Greg Faulkner added 21 for the Gaels in the win.
If the Gaels lose on Friday, however, it would set up a “win and you’re in” final game of the regular season Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
The York Lions are another team in the running to host a first round playoff matchup, but they will need some help around the league to sneak into the eighth spot.
Both the Voyaguers and Golden Hawks have secured themselves postseason berths; however, both teams will likely finish outside the top eight in RPI rank and will open the playoffs on the road.
The Brock Badgers, Nipissing Lakers, Waterloo Warriors and Algoma Thunderbirds have all been eliminated from playoff contention heading into the final weekend.
On the women’s side, there are 256 mathematical possibilities for the end of season OUA Women's Playoff Ranking.
Five teams are in the running for the top four OUA playoff seeds. The Windsor Lancers, Laurier Golden Hawks, Ryerson Rams, McMaster Marauders and Lakehead Thunderwolves can all finish in the top four which would guarantee a first-round bye and quarter-final home game on Saturday Feb. 28.
The top two rankings have been locked up but the outcome of Saturday’s game between West Division rivals Windsor and Laurier will decide which team finishes first and gets home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Earlier this season, the Golden Hawks pulled off one of the biggest upsets in program history, defeating the four-time defending CIS Champions, Windsor Lancers, 60-53 on their home court. The win was Laurier’s first against the Lancers in their last 18 meetings dating back to November of 2007 and will look to repeat that performance at home on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
The race for the OUA Central Division will come down to the final weekend as both the Guelph Gryphons and Brock Badgers are still in the hunt for third place and a playoff position.
Brock will be glued to OUA.tv this weekend as they’ve already finished their regular season schedule. Currently, the Badgers hold a one game edge in the standings and have a +1 point differential from their two regular games against Guelph.
Unlike the Badgers who must anxiously wait, the Gryphons control their own destiny as they host the Thunderwolves in a two-game weekend series and the message couldn’t be simpler: Guelph needs to win both games to qualify for the playoffs.
The OUA Central isn’t the only division still up for grabs as the Western Mustangs and Waterloo Warriors are both still in the hunt for third place in the OUA West Division and a spot in the postseason. To make things even more interesting, the two teams will face each other Saturday at 1:00 p.m. with a playoff berth on the line.
In their previous meeting this season, the Mustangs used an 80-70 victory over the Warriors to snap a four-game losing streak on Jan. 17. The win, at the time, moved Western into a tie for third in the OUA West Division with Waterloo. Mackenzie Puklicz had a career game for the Mustangs, scoring a personal best 30 points, 13 rebounds and four steals.
A Mustang win on Saturday and they’re off to the postseason. However, a simple win for the Warriors just won’t cut it. If Waterloo wins on Saturday by 11 points or more, the Warriors are in the playoffs based upon OUA tie breaking procedure (point differential).
Ryerson, McMaster and Lakehead currently occupy the third through fifth RPI rankings heading into the final weekend. Nonetheless, the order in which they finish is dependent not only on their record, but other teams as well.
A Ryerson win over the Queen’s Gaels on Friday in their final game of the regular season would all but lock up the third seed for the Rams.
However, things are not so easy for either the Marauders or Thunderwolves. Separated by only 0.001 points heading into the final weekend, a possibility exists that McMaster and Lakehead could finish in a numerical tie in RPI value. In that case, OUA tie-breaking procedures would come into effect, with the Thunderwolves holding a +11 point differential in the previous two regular games played between them.
The Marauders close out the season on Saturday at home against the Algoma Thunderbirds which cannot affect their RPI ranking. However, the Thunderwolves have two aforementioned road games against the Gryphons to finish their season which could have a huge impact on the OUA playoff landscape.
The Queen’s Gaels women’s team finds themselves in a similar position to their men’s squad heading into the final weekend. The Gaels will take on division rivals Ryerson on Friday and Toronto on Saturday. Queen’s is currently tied with Toronto for second place in the OUA East Division with one game in hand. A Friday win would give them a bit of breathing room, while a loss would set up a showdown for second with the Varsity Blues.
Both Toronto and Queens are currently seventh and eighth in the RPI rankings, respectively, and are guaranteed to make the postseason.
The OUA North Division-leading Ottawa Gee-Gees currently find themselves in the sixth seed and hosting a first-round matchup. However, their Saturday game against division rival Laurentian Voyaguers could have postseason implications for either squad.
Despite the outcome this weekend, the Gee-Gees and Voyaguers, along with the Carleton Ravens have already qualified for the playoffs.
The York Lions, Nipissing Lakers and Algoma Thunderbirds have all been eliminated from playoff contention heading into the final weekend.
If you can’t make it out to the final weekend of OUA men’s and women’s basketball, don’t forget you can watch as the drama unfolds live on OUA.tv!
Statistical information provided by Martin Timmerman (CIS Hoops).