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CIS Men’s Basketball Final 8: Three-year pilot gone wrong? Failure or Success?



With the CIS Men’s Basketball Final 8 Championships coming to a close, its time to examine whether the event was a success or failure. In my mind both the Carleton Ravens and ScotiaBank Place did a poor job  of executing this event for the past 3 years.  Let’s take a quick look at some notable mistakes and decisions that could’ve improved this tournament significantly:

Where was the Marketing?

It would have been nice to actually see a marketing campaign for the championships. I understand not doing it in year one but you got to learn from your mistakes. I mean, Halifax purchases billboards ads throughout the city, especially around the Metro centre. What did Ravens and Scotiabank place do?  They marketed internally on their respective websites; I’m sorry basketball fans don’t go to to find basketball content.


Enough said, most students have a hard time walking from their dorm rooms to their local gyms to support their school teams, what made you think that they would actually drive 45 minutes to watch teams from out of town? What about public transportation? What about a shuttle system?

Inflated attendance numbers

C’mon son, who are you kidding, we can count too. I guess the people at ScotiaBank Place were the only ones who took math. It looks really bad when your press release says that there were 12000 people in the building when really there was only about 6500-8000. I guess corporate sponsors like that kinda fluff.

Inability to create an atmosphere

With ScotiaBank Place holding over 19000 seats, why not focus on filling up the lower bowls instead of having people scattered all-cross the arena? Did you ever think of bringing down an artist to entertain the crowd? Halifax was pretty creative with this, a few years back they had the announcement of the All-Canadians and awards winners during half-time of a game and they actually went all out and made entertaining for the fans. I guess having the Milk Mascot around was enough.

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Poor selection of corporate partners

How do you go and partner up with a company like TSN/TSN2? They clearly have no understanding of Basketball in Canada?  That’s the same company that locked out basketball/Raptors fans for a full year because they were more interested in getting subscribers. TSN is about hockey not basketball!! Basketball is an urban sport, and correct me if I’m wrong, but, the only TV station that understands a lick of urban in this country is The Score.

TSN/TSN2 doesn’t broadcast any games throughout the year and they hope that all of sudden people will gain interest because you decided to send Leo Rautins and Rod Black down for a weekend. The Score starts showing NCAA basketball games around late January for a reason. Build a following throughout the season as an appetizer to the championships. It will be interesting to see audience ratings in comparison to The Score.

Your thoughts?


Highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide Return To Canada



Alabama Crimson Tide Avery Johnson Return To Canada

The Alabama Crimson Tide led by former NBA Head Coach Avery Johnson, a 16-year veteran and NBA champion point-guard during his playing days will bring his highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide to Canada for series of games against Canada’s top university basketball programs.

The Crimson Tide will visit both Montreal and Ottawa for a three-game exhibition schedule against McGill Redmen (Mon Aug 7), Carleton Ravens (Wed Aug 9) and the Ottawa Gee-Gees (Thu Aug 10).

The Tide competed hard last year and took a step in the right direction with a 19-15 record, 10-8 SEC record and have NCAA March Madness tournament aspirations thanks to solid recruiting class which ranks amongst the nations best.

Led by a talented crop of returning guards, Dazon Ingram (10.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG), Riley Norris (9 PPG, 3 RPG), the coaches son Avery Johnson Jr. and forwards Braxton Key the Tide will be a handful for the it’s Canadian opposition.

Key a 6’8″, 220 lbs flirted with the  2017 NBA draft after a stellar freshman season, the Charlotte, NC native led ‘Bama in scoring with 12 point per game and was second in rebounding at 5.7 per game. The Tide will also welcome incoming red-shirt sophomore 6’10”, 240lbs Daniel Giddens to a line-up that returns four starters.

Alabama anchored by current NBA player Alonzo Gee (Denver Nuggets) last visited Canada back in 2007 and finished with a record of 4-1 against the same exact teams, dropping a tight 83-72 decision against the Carleton Ravens who have won seven straight Canadian titles including 13-of the-last-15 championships.

Carleton’s signature win over Alabama was only their second ever against a NCAA division one team after 16-game losing streak from 1999 to 2006. The Ravens current record against NCAA teams in Canada stands at an impressive 26-23 (.531%) record.

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Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights



Calgary Dinos Thomas Cooper Senior Highlights

Calgary Dinos senior guard Thomas Cooper had himself and impressive CIS/Usports career to say the least. The Chattanooga, Tenn. native, a 6-5, 200 lbs guard earned himself two first team All-Canadian awards while leading Dinos back to the championship game for the first time since 1966.

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No. 1 Carleton Ravens 81-40 lock-up rivals No. 2 Ottawa Gee-Gees



Eddie Ekiyor Carleton Ravens Vs.Ottawa Gee Gees USports Basketball
Photo - Valerie Wutti

Ottawa, ON – The twelve-time defending CIS/USports National Basketball Champions and No.1 Carleton Ravens went into Monpetit Hall and completely dominated the No. 2 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees, locking up their Bytown rivals with a blistering 81-40 win.

The Ravens, the top defensive unit in the country, allowing an incredible low of only 60 points to opponents, dominated every aspect of the much anticipated game holding Ottawa to four points in the first-quarter and thirteen in the second for a grand total of seventeen first-half points and 35-17 half-time lead.

The first-quarter ended with Ravens leading 11-4 as both teams slugged it out in front of a jam packed standing room only Monpetit Hall which hasn’t seen the Gee-Gees get dismantled like this on their home floor in 32-game OUA conference games – snapping home winning streak which dated back to 2012.

Fifth-year senior Guard Connor Wood caught fire in the second-quarter after a cold start scoring all but 14 of the teams 24 points in the quarter and finished with 16 in the half and game-high 19 points. Starting point guard Kaza Kajami-Keane added 10 points, six rebounds in just 19 minutes.

The Gee-Gees were limited to 6-of-32 (18.8%) shooting, 3-of-17 from the outside in the opening 20 minutes and managed to only connect on 12-56 (21.4%) of their field goal attempts for the entire game and only 6-of-26 from the outside.

Carleton shot 50% in the second-half and finished 31-68 from the floor and 13-of-28 from downtown while turning the ball over 9 times compared to the Gee-Gees 18.

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The 40 points allowed by the Ravens is their lowest against the Gee-Gees since a 74-34 smack-down in January 18th, 2012 at the Sixth Annual Capital Hoops Classic.

Carleton Ravens 6’10” freshman Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) and senior forward Ryan Ejim (Toronto, ON) finished one point shy of double-doubles with 9 points and 8 rebounds respectively, and shutdown the Gee-Gees dynamic duo of Caleb Agada (12 points, 4 rebounds) and former Ravens Jean Emmanuel Pierre (7 points, 6 rebounds). Gee-Gees Guard Brandon Robinson had a team-high 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 3-of-4 triples.

Carleton’s record  stays unblemished at a perfect 10-0, 16-0 against Canadian competition and 22-2 overall with the only losses coming from two NCAA opponents on the road in Rhode Island – Providence Friars 87-69 and in Philadelphia against LaSalle Explorers 79-73.

Both teams will meet again in just over two weeks (Feb 3rd) at the 2017 Capital Hoops Classic at the ScotiaBank Centre.

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