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Walling: Carleton favoured to win men's CIS hoops crown

Alex J. Walling
3/9/2012 2:26:43 PM
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There are very few perfect seasons in sport and the Carleton Ravens basketball team may be on the verge of one.

The Ravens have dominated the CIS scene over the past 10 years, notching an eye-opening seven national titles and if things go, as the say, according to plan, will make it eight come Sunday afternoon in Halifax where the CIS Men's Basketball tourney is being held.

Perfection, it is so rare. Most of our greatest stars are not. In fact, there are so few that over 50 years, I can think of just a handful.

In boxing, we go back to the 1950's and find heavyweight boxing champ Rocky Marciano, who was the champ from September 23, 1952 to April 27, 1956. He is the only heavyweight champion to hold the title and go undefeated and untied. While he finished with a perfect record of 49-0, he was 6-0 in title fights.

The Miami Dolphins are the most prolific NFL team in the last 40 years. They went 17-0 in winning the Super Bowl and still remain as the only undefeated NFL team in history. A few years ago, the New England Patriots went 18-0 before losing the Super Bowl to the New York Giants in the last minute.

This season, Carleton is on the brink of perfection. The team is 31-0 as they come to Halifax. If things go as planned, they will finish the season at 34-0 and win their eighth title since 2003, tying them with the Victoria Vikings for the most titles in CIS history.

Carleton may have had one of the best season records of all time. Not only did they win every game but won their contests by an average of scoring nearly 38 points more than their opponents. 

The Ravens took the OUA final by a score of 82-39.

As for awards on Thursday night, the team needed a truck to cart off the trophies and plaques they received for their play this year.

Philip Scrubb, a second year guard for the Ravens, took home the Most Outstanding player award. The 19-year old became the fifth Raven in seven years and the fifth in Carleton's history to claim the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy.

He follows back-to-back recipients Osvaldo Jeanty (2006-2007), national team member Aaron Doornekamp, and current member Tyson Hinz. Hinz was also a 19-year old when he won the award last year. Most teams don't have one Most Outstanding award winner so imagine a club having two on the same team.

Scrubb, who won the top rookie of the year award last season, became the first player ever to win the rookie followed by the Most Outstanding in consecutive campaigns.

And that's not all. Head coach Dave Smart, who is the most instrumental person for the Ravens in the championships runs, took home the Stu Aberdeen Memorial Trophy in winning his fifth Coach of the Year award and his second in a row.

Carleton went 22-0 in the regular season and 3-0 in OUA playoff competition. The other wins were in pre-season and tournaments. As for Scrubb, he averaged 16.2 points a game but playing only 23 minutes a game.

But it all comes back to Smart. They have dominated since the late 90's, have won 340 of 370 games, regular and post-season since 1999-2000 for an incredible winning percentage of 91.9.

Carleton leads the nation in scoring (94.9 ppg), field goal percentage (52.4) and three points shooting at 44.7.

So how can they be beat? Stranger things have happened in sports. Four of the greatest upsets in sports weren't supposed to happen.

In my lifetime, Cassius Clay (Feb. 25, 1964) wasn't supposed to beat or even come close to beating Sonny Liston. Liston had demolished former heavyweight champ Floyd Paterson in one round. Clay won.

Jan 12, 1969 was when Joe Namath of the New York Jets stunned the Baltimore Colts. Prior to that, the Green Bay Packers had made mincemeat of the AFL in the championship games.

Buster Douglas was "Buster Who" and a 40-1 underdog in facing Mike Tyson, who he sent reeling for a huge upset.

And can anyone ever match the Miracle on Ice victory of the USA against the Russians in 1980?

It could happen to the Ravens. But don't count on it.

For TSN.ca I'm Alex J. Walling

Alex j can be reached via email at:  ajw@eastlink.ca




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