Playoffs start this week for basketball Marauders

It’s a little early but March Madness Canadian-style is about to get started with both McMaster basketball teams hitting the court for playoff action this week.

The men’s team will host the Waterloo Warriors on Wednesday (Feb. 24) at 7 p.m. in the Burridge Gym.

Opening the playoffs at home will be a welcome advantage for the Marauders, as the team will have to hit the road if it advances past the quarter-finals. The

Marauders will be looking to continue their strong play over the second-half of the conference schedule, having won eight of the past 10 games, including a season sweep of the Warriors.

McMaster has been preparing as if star forward Keenan Jeppesen will be unavailable, as he continues to recover from a late season knee injury. In his absence, McMaster has been getting major contributions from forward Cam Michaud and guard Tyrell Vernon, who have averaged 19 and 17.8 points per game respectively, since Jeppesen went down Feb. 10.

On the women’s side, after an up and down conference season, the Marauder women’s team will head to Brock for a conference quarter-final. The teams split a pair of conference games with each winning on home court. Tip-off at the Bob Davis Gymnasium is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

McMaster will look to its tip-top Taylors to lead the charge. Taylor Smith and Taylor Chiarot are both candidates for post-season honours. Each is averaging 14

points per game. Smith is the Canadian Interuniversity Sports leader in assists dishing out an average of more than seven per game, while Chiarot finished as the most proficient shooter in the Ontario University Athletics, leading the league with a field goal percentage of 58.7%.

As the host team, McMaster is already guaranteed entry into the CIS Championship Tournament set for March 12-14, but coach Theresa Burns has said all year the team wants to qualify as the OUA West winner.