Volume 91, Issue 88

Tuesday, March 17, 1998

magically delicious


March madness for 'Stangs

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
HANDS UP IF YOU WANNA GO TO CLUB MED. Western's Richard Tamminga loses a tip-off to Guelph's Malik Shehbaz in OUA West conference play. The Mustangs won't get a shot at a national title this season after being passed over for a wild card spot in the CIAU basketball championship.

By Alex Chiang
Gazette Staff

Western got the short end of the stick. Or at least that's the feeling Mustang men's basketball coach Craig Boydell had after learning on Sunday that his team had been passed over for a wild card berth in this weekend's Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union basketball Championships to be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The question is if there is a conspiracy theory involved in the national ranking of the teams. The Mustangs, who finished second in the Ontario West, but lost to the Waterloo Warriors in the conference semifinal, were one of six teams to apply for the national tournament's two wild card spots. The other applicants were St. Francis Xavier, McMaster, Alberta, Regina and St. Mary's.

Fourth-ranked McMaster grabbed one of the entries while the seventh-ranked Alberta Golden Bears edged out eigth-ranked Western for the remaining spot.

Boydell said the tournament committee's failure to compare Western and Alberta head-to-head hurt the Mustangs' bid. When all of the applicants were considered, Alberta came out on top.

"Just by applying, they were considered," Boydell said. "[The committee] threw all the teams into the rankings with all the criteria even if they had no realistic shot. By [every team] being considered, it affected us in the rankings."

Boydell and several of the coaches in the Ontario West said there may be some animosity existing in the rest of Canada towards the conference which may have affected Western's national ranking – an important criteria in the selection of the wild card.

"I think people are jealous of us," Brock head coach Ken Murray said. "It was so close that no matter what I did as a conference representative, there was no way [the committee] would let three teams from the same conference go. As a result, there wasn't much sympathy around the rest of the country for Western."

Windsor head coach Mike Havey, who is also the president of the tournament selection committee, said he felt the process was performed in a fair and objective manner. However, as a coach of an Ontario West team, he too felt that Western may have been treated unfairly.

Saskatchewan head coach Steve Roth, one of the Canada West committee representatives, feels any claim that there is a bias among the other conference coaches against the Ontario West is silly.

"There's no Western [Canadian] conspiracy, because we only have two votes," Roth said. "I would've questioned whether the Ontario West is deserving of there teams, because I think Canada West is the best conference in the country.

"Western had a very good year, but they lost a game they had to win and historically, a team that lost a conference semifinal game hasn't gone [to the national championship]."

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

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