HAMILTON - Ontario University Athletics (OUA) unveiled its men's and women's basketball schedule for the 2015-16 season on Thursday.
The season kicks off on Wednesday, November 4th with four men's and women's double-headers. The Laurier Golden Hawks will travel to Windsor to take on the Lancers, while the Waterloo Warriors head out on the road to battle the Western Mustangs in London, Ont. on opening night. The McMaster Marauders will also welcome the rival Brock Badgers to Burridge Gymnasium, while the Ryerson Rams and Toronto Varsity Blues will battle for downtown supremacy to open the season. A full slate of action will follow on November 6th-7th.
The end of the first semester will be marked on November 28th with the Guelph Gryphons visiting McMaster, while the Lakehead Thunderwolves will make the trip down from Thunder Bay to play the Badgers to close the first half of the year. The second semester will tip off on January 8th when the crosstown rival York Lions and Toronto Varsity Blues meet for the first time this season.
The Capital Hoops Classic, which features the Ottawa Gee-Gees in a grudge match against the rival Carleton Ravens, will be in the spotlight on February 5th. The tenth annual contest will be played once again at the Canadian Tire Centre with tipoff set for 6:00pm and 8:00pm (women's and men's). Last year the Gee-Gees won the women's game while the defending Wilson Cup champion Ravens took the men's title.
Sixteen games will close the regular season on February 27th as teams battle for final playoff positioning, with three teams from each division advancing to the postseason.
Additional games highlighting the men's schedule include:
- On November 7th, Western travels to Waterloo, Ont. looking for revenge against the Golden Hawks. Last season, Laurier upset the Mustangs 90-82 in the first round of the playoffs.
- The Windsor Lancers will make the trip to the nation's capital on November 27th-28th to take on perennial powerhouses, the Ottawa Gee-Gees and the Carleton Ravens. The Lancers were the only team to beat both teams last season, knocking off the Ravens at home 74-71 on January 23rd before taking down the hometown favourite Gee-Gees 85-80 in the OUA semifinals.
- Carleton and Ottawa renew their rivalry on January 16th in a rematch of the 2015 CIS national championship. Ottawa upset Carleton 68-66 at home on January 10 before falling to the Ravens 79-66 in the aforementioned Capital Hoops Classic. The teams would meet again in the gold medal game of the CIS Final 8, with the Ravens prevailing to capture their fifth consecutive CIS championship.
Additional games highlighting the women's schedule include:
- The Laurier Golden Hawks were the only team to defeat the five-time defending national champion Windsor Lancers last season and the teams will waste no time renewing their rivalry as they open the season in Windsor on November 4th.
- The Ryerson Rams will travel to Windsor on November 18th to face off against the Lancers in a rematch of last season's OUA Women's Basketball Championship. Despite losing 71-51, the Rams advanced to their first CIS national championship in program history.
- The Golden Hawks will look for revenge as they welcome the Queen's Gaels to town on November 27th in a rematch of last season's OUA quarterfinals. Jenny Wright scored a game high 28 points as the Gaels upset Laurier 85-78 in 2OT.
Once again this season, the league is split into a four division format and a four round playoff structure which sees 12 of 17 teams qualify for the post-season all in pursuit of berth into the OUA Final Four set for March 11-12.
Under the new divisional alignment that was introduced last season, teams will again compete under the West, Central, East, and North banners.
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.
The OUA playoffs, presented by Investors Group, will consist of four rounds with the preliminary round slated for Wednesday, March 2nd followed by the quarter-finals on Saturday, March 5th. The OUA Wilson Cup Final Four, presented by Recharge with Milk, and OUA Women's Final Four, will be hosted by the highest remaining men's and women's teams respectively, and are set for Friday, March 11th and Saturday, March 12th.
The CIS Final 8 will take place just one week later on March 17-20 with the men's final hosted by the UBC Thunderbirds at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and women's hosted by UNB Varsity Reds at the Richard J. Currie Center.
The West Division will once again be a five-team grouping (Algoma, Waterloo, Western, Wilfrid Laurier, Windsor) and include double-header weekends in Sault Ste. Marie against the Thunderbirds within an eight game home-at-home schedule within the division. The West will also play a single game against teams from the Central, East, and North, totalling 20 games.
The remaining three divisions consist of four teams will play a 19 game schedule. The Central Division (Brock, Guelph, Lakehead, McMaster) will play double-header weekends at Lakehead. The North Division (Carleton, Laurentian, Nipissing, Ottawa) features one of the best geographical rivalries in the OUA with crosstown rivals Ottawa and Carleton, while the East Division (Queen's, Ryerson, Toronto, York) will enhance some traditional OUA rivalries.
The full 2015-16 schedules can be found here: