OTTAWA (CIS) – For the first time in program history, the Ryerson University Rams enter the ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS men's basketball championship as tournament favourites.
The seeding was announced Sunday for the Final Eight hosted by the University of British Columbia for the first time since 1972. The national tournament gets under way Thursday at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and culminates next Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (8:30 p.m. Eastern) with the gold-medal final, live on Sportsnet 360. Saturday's semifinals are also live on Sportsnet 360 (3 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. Pacific) and all 11 games from the competition will be webcast on www.CIS-SIC.tv.
Looking for their first W.P. McGee Trophy title, the OUA champion Rams are joined in Vancouver by the No. 2 and reigning five-time national titlist Carleton Ravens (OUA finalists), No. 3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (OUA bronze medallists), No. 4 Calgary Dinos (Canada West champs), No. 5 McGill Redmen (RSEQ champs), No. 6 Dalhousie Tigers (AUS champs), No. 7 Thompson Rivers WolfPack (Canada West finalists) and No. 8 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West bronze medallists).
Thursday's quarter-final matchups include Thompson Rivers vs. Carleton in the 1 p.m. opener, followed by Dalhousie vs. Ottawa at 3 p.m., McGill vs. Calgary at 6 p.m., as well as host UBC vs. Ryerson in the 8 p.m. nightcap.
A year after claiming a program-best CIS bronze medal on home court, the Rams earned No. 1 status thanks to a 73-68 win over Carleton in Saturday's Wilson Cup final, good for their first-ever OUA title. Ryerson tied Ottawa for the best record in the country during the regular season with a 17-2 mark and spent four weeks atop the national rankings earlier this winter, also a first in team history.
For the second straight year, Ottawa received the at-large berth (wildcard) following a vote by a committee of CIS coaches. The Gee-Gees, who competed in the last two CIS finals, settled for bronze at the OUA Final Four this weekend but were ranked in the top three nationally the entire season, including six weeks at No. 1.
Carleton holds the all-time mark with 11 W.P. McGee Trophy conquests and hopes to move to within one of Victoria's record streak of seven straight titles from 1980 to 1986. UBC is the only other program among this week's contenders to have claimed the CIS banner in the past, its triumphs dating back to 1970 and 1972.
NOTES: All Wednesday practices at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre are open to the media, starting at 9 a.m.... A complete championship preview will follow on Tuesday... The All-Canadian Awards Gala is set for Wednesday evening at the Sheraton Wall Centre.
1. Ryerson Rams (OUA champions: 17-2 regular season / 3-0 playoffs)
2. Carleton Ravens (OUA finalists: 16-3 regular season / 2-1 playoffs)
3. Ottawa Gee-Gees (At-Large Berth: 17-2 regular season / 2-1 playoffs)
4. Calgary Dinos (CWUAA champions: 17-3 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)
5. McGill Redmen (RSEQ champions: 12-4 regular season / 2-0 playoffs)
6. Dalhousie Tigers (AUS champions: 13-7 regular season / 2-0 playoffs)
7. Thompson Rivers WolfPack (CWUAA finalists: 16-4 regular season / 3-2 playoffs)
8. UBC Thunderbirds (Hosts: 16-4 regular season / 3-1 playoffs)
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times PACIFIC)
Wednesday, March 16
9:00-17:00 Practices OPEN TO MEDIA (Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre)
18:30 All-Canadian Awards Gala (Sheraton Wall Centre)
Thursday, March 17
13:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 7 Thompson Rivers vs. No. 2 Carleton (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 6 Dalhousie vs. No. 3 Ottawa (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 5 McGill vs. No. 4 Calgary (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 8 UBC vs. No. 1 Ryerson (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Friday, March 18
17:00 Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 www.CIS-SIC.tv)
19:00 Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
Saturday, March 19
12:00 5th-place game (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
17:30 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
Sunday, March 20
14:00 Bronze (www.CIS-SIC.tv)
17:30 Final (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
* Webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis.