Top teams battle Saturday with tickets to the OUA Final Four on the line

Top teams battle Saturday with tickets to the OUA Final Four on the line

BURLINGTON, Ont. – The eight remaining teams in OUA men's basketball will continue their pursuit of the Wilson Cup, as quarter-final action begins Mar. 5.

(1) Ryerson Rams (17-2) vs. (9) Lakehead Thunderwolves (10-9)

The Rams have never won the Wilson Cup in their school's history, but after finishing the regular season first in OUA, and ranked No. 3 in the country, they are arguably more destined to do so than ever.

The Thunderwolves will be in tough, as the Rams have yet to lose at home this season, going 9-0 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. Furthermore, Ryerson leads OUA in several significant categories, including: points per game (89.3), three-point field goals made per game (10.8), free-throw percentage (76.0) and defensive rebounds per game (31.5).

They are led by fifth-year guard Aaron Best (Scarborough, Ont.), who averaged a team high 17.8 points per game, with many of those coming from beyond the arc, as he has the province's fourth best three-point percentage (43.5).

Lakehead will be hoping history serves as a factor, as they won the OUA championship as recent as the 2010-11 season.

The Thunderwolves secured a spot in the quarter-final round after edging out the Western Mustangs in preliminary action 60-58. If Lakehead hope to keep pace with the Rams, Bacarius Dinkins (Jonesville, Fla.) will have to be big on the boards as he has been all season long, after collecting the fifth most rebounds per game in the province (8.3).

The two squads met once during the regular season, with the Rams claiming victory on Feb. 19, by a score of 78-65. Lakehead's Kache Kopec (Kelowna, B.C.) had a game-high 20 points, while Kadeem Green (Richmond Hill, Ont.) led the way for Ryerson with 19 points and a game-high five blocks.

Should the Rams prevail on Saturday night, Ryerson would host the OUA Final Four next weekend.

(2) Ottawa Gee-Gees (17-2) vs. (7) Queen's Gaels (11-8)

The No. 2 nationally ranked Gee-Gees enter the postseason with the sting of last season's semfinal defeat undoubtedly somewhat fresh in the mind of 2014-15 first-team all-star Caleb Agada (Burlington, Ont.).  Agada grabbed the third most rebounds per game in the province this season, averaging 8.6.

The Gee-Gees will be relying on a talented offence that capitalized on their opportunities throughout the season, compiling OUA's second best field goal percentage (48.2). They will be looking to forwards Brody Maracle (Napanee, Ont.) and Nathan McCarthy (Burlington, Ont.), who recorded the top two field goal percentages in the province, at 64.5 and 60.6, respectively.

The Gaels gained playoff entry after a convincing 87-70 preliminary round win over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. Any chance of an upset will rest on the shoulders of Sukhpreet Singh (Toronto, Ont.), who scored the third most points per game in OUA (22.3), and the province's best three-point shooter, Andrew Mavety (Vancouver, B.C.), who shot 51.6% from behind the arc.

In their sole regular season matchup on Jan. 29, the Gee-Gees defeated the Gaels 76-60. Ottawa guard Mike L'Africain (Oakville, Ont.) recorded game-highs of 30 points, seven assists and five steals in the victory, while Mavety snatched a game-high 11 boards. Singh played the role of pest in the match for the Gaels, coming away with 10 steals.

(3) Carleton Ravens (16-3) vs. (6) Brock Badgers (13-6)

The Ravens, ranking No.1 in the nation, will enter the quarter-final round as not only the defending Wilson Cup champs, but also five-time defending CIS national champions as well.

Carleton featured the province's top defence during the regular season, allowing the fewest points per game (60.7), while taking in the most rebounds per game (45.1).

The Ravens were also strong at the other end of the court, fielding the league's top field goal percentage (48.2), led by forward Cameron Smythe (Vancouver, B.C.), who had OUA's fourth best mark in the category at 56.2%. They were also effective from three-point land, with the top three-point percentage (37.2) in the province, thanks mightily to Gavin Resch (Ottawa, Ont.), who was second best in OUA at 44.7%.

The Badgers snagged a quarter-final date with the Ravens with relative ease, cruising to a 98-80 victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks in preliminary action. It will be a battle of the boards in this matchup, as Brock reeled in the third most rebounds per game in OUA, with 44.4.

Their strong rebounding game is spearheaded by forward Dani Elgadi (Waterloo, Ont.), who took in a league best 11.7 rebounds per game, as well as Matt Marshall (Burlington, Ont.), who recorded 8.4 per game, for fourth best in OUA.

Carleton trounced Brock in their Feb. 12 matchup, by a score of 90-65. Seven Ravens hit double digits for points in the game, led by guard Guillaume Payen Boucard (Montreal, Que.), who had a team-high 18 points. Johneil Simpson (Toronto, Ont.) was strong in the losing effort of the Badgers, scoring a game-high 19 points.

(4) McMaster Marauders (14-5) vs. (5) Windsor Lancers (14-6)

The Marauders boast two second-team all-stars from a year ago in guards Rohan Boney (Oakville, Ont.) and Aaron Redpath (Oakville, Ont.).

Boney saw success at both ends of the court this season, ranking fifth in the province for field goal percentage with a mark of 54.5, while placing within the top fifteen in rebounds per game with 6.9. Redpath was a workhorse all year for the Marauders, averaging a team-high 30.5 minutes per game, while averaging a league best 2.8 steals per game, a stat in which McMaster led the league with 10.8.

The Lancers narrowly missed out on a bye to the quarter-finals, causing them to participate in the preliminary round, where they defeated the Laurentian Voyageurs 82-73.

Windsor is led by guard Alex Campbell (Brampton, Ont.), who ranks fourth in points per game in OUA with 21.5, while also leading his team in minutes per game (33.0) and field goal percentage (45.9) during the regular season.

The two faced off on Jan. 20, in a matchup that saw the Marauders pound the Lancers 106-74. Campbell and Redpath had team-highs in points with 28 and 27, respectively, while McMaster's Leon Alexander (Ajax, Ont.) had a game-high four assists.

The Marauders and Lancers will kick-off the quarter-final round in a matinee affair, Saturday at 2:00 p.m., with the other three contests getting underway later in the evening at 8:00 p.m.

The winners of each matchup will advance to the semi-final round, which will take place on Mar. 11.

Catch all the action Saturday streaming live on OUA.tv as the #QuestfortheCup continues.