Rams open Final 8 with stiff competition from Golden Bears
HALIFAX, N.S. - Once again, the capital of Nova Scotia becomes the capital of Canadian university basketball. More so than the expectation that the Final 8 will be in Halifax, is that the Ryerson Rams will be in the Final 8.
For the fourth consecutive season, the Rams compete for Canadian dominance in the annual national championship tournament. Backing up an OUA championship defending season where they entered the tournament as the top seed, the Rams enter this year’s contest in a trickier situation - OUA runners up and fifth seed.
That said, the Rams have proven in the later weeks of the season that they are as talented and determined as ever. Plagued by injuries early in the year, the team was seen by many as down and out at the midpoint of the season. However, the Rams would rally back, upsetting rivals Ottawa Gee-Gees in the quarter-final and taking a dramatic semifinal win against the Brock Badgers to secure their ticket to Halifax. Fifth seed and a silver don’t come close to defining the Rams’ national championship hopes.
First, the Rams will take on the image of consistency in the Alberta Golden Bears. While their offensive prowess might not stack up to the rapid fire scoring of the Rams, they boast one of the most effective defensive games across all U SPORTS basketball. Closing the regular season with a 19-1 record, the Golden Bears, like the Rams, fell in the final to rivals the Calgary Dinos. Ultimately, Thursday's game could come down to the dynamic playing style differences between Canada West and OUA basketball. The two teams come together for the first time since 2012, when the Golden Bears defeated the Rams 81-52 in the opening match of the then-CIS Final 8 in Halifax.
In 2017, the Rams fell to the Carleton Ravens in the final as the Ravens claimed their seventh consecutive national title. This, after the Rams had defeated the Ravens for their second consecutive OUA title. Now, with staple seniors Manny Diressa (Toronto, Ont.) and Adam Voll (Kitchener, Ont.) facing the end of their U SPORTS careers, the Rams look to flip the script and fight for the national title that has eluded them.
The Ryerson Rams face the Alberta Golden Bears Thursday, March 8th at 5pm ET at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia for their first matchup of the 2018 Final 8. Follow @ryersonrams on Twitter and Instagram for live updates on the team throughout the tournament.
For those looking to watch the game, join the #Ramily for a viewing party in the Rams Cafe at the Mattamy Athletic Centre! We'll be streaming the game and providing food and drinks for all those in attendance.