The McMaster men’s and women’s basketball teams have had strong starts to the Ontario University Athletics schedule, but the coming weekend will test the Marauders’ mettle as they welcome the Carleton Ravens and the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Friday and Saturday (Nov. 15-16) respectively.
On the men’s side, there isn’t much to say about Carleton, which has dominated Canadian Interuniversity Sport for more than a decade. The Ravens men’s team has won the last three national championships and is the top-ranked squad in the country without a loss to a Canadian team in the last year. Led by national team player Phil Scrubb and All-Canadian Tyson Hinz, Carleton is the standard that all CIS men’s teams are shooting for and that is something Marauder Coach Amos Connolly is very aware of.
“Obviously, the Carleton program serves as a measuring stick and we are looking forward to seeing how we stack up with the champs,” said Connolly. “But having said that, this weekend is a great opportunity for the Marauders to play some great competition.
“We are not over-looking Ottawa as they have a great team, and it’s exciting to play the number-one and number-three ranked teams in Canada.”
The Ottawa Gee-Gees are a top contender and return the nucleus of the team that won the CIS bronze medal last year. Ottawa comes to Hamilton as the No. 3 team in the national top-ten and are currently undefeated in OUA play.
The women’s match-ups are just as compelling as Ottawa and Carleton have been the two leaders in the OUA East standings in recent years, and they lead the division this season with 3 and 1 records.
The Gee-Gees are ranked 9th in the nation and have been a top CIS contender, beating Windsor for the OUA title in 2012 and winning the OUA bronze medal over McMaster in 2013 to gain a berth at the nationals.
Carleton’s women’s team suffered some graduation losses from last year’s OUA silver-medal winning team, but have already defeated national champion Windsor in the opening weekend of OUA interlock competition to demonstrate they remain a top challenger.
The Marauders will enter weekend competition with a spotless OUA record over the first two weekends of interlock play, and are currently tied with Brock in the OUA West division; the Badgers also sporting a 4 and 0 record.
The weekend clashes with Carleton and Ottawa will be vital as McMaster works to keep pace with Brock and Windsor at the top of the OUA West division.
Game times in the Burridge Gym are at 6 p.m. and 8 pm both Friday and Saturday.