McMaster went home empty-handed, but they should be proud of their accomplishments.

After dropping the first CIS Final 8 appearance since 2006 to Carleton, the Marauders men’s basketball team ran the Atlantic University Sport champions out of the arena. The team dropped 98 points – a tournament high – and conceded 71 to blowout the Saint Mary’s Huskies. The game had no real meaning, since the fifth-place game was booted in favour of television scheduling.

“Do I think it’s a good idea to have a consolation game without a consolation final? No, I don’t. But when you’re in it, you have to create meaning,” said McMaster head coach Amos Connolly.

There was no shortage for motivation, though. McMaster was seeded No. 7 of eight teams in the tournament, and Saint Mary’s was just ahead of them at No. 6. The Huskies spent the majority of the season either unranked, or below McMaster.

“[The game] meant something from the standpoint of where we were seeded, it being Nathan Pelech’s last game, because even if you’re graduating one guy, there’s always more turnover than that,” said Connolly.

Saint Mary’s was ranked higher because of a stipulation that says a conference winner cannot be seeded lower than sixth. McGill, the Quebec conference winner, was seeded fifth. Both of those teams lost their consolation round games, speaking to a larger issue with how the seeding process happens.

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“Right, wrong or otherwise, the conversation about seeding came up. But when you’re dealing with the 20-year old mind … you use whatever you can to motivate it,” said Connolly.

And now, the off-season begins. The players get two weeks off, before the strength and conditioning program begins. It’s an “11-and-a-half month season” according to Connolly. For some of the players though, the break could not be at a worse time.

Leon Alexander has rounded into form over the past two weekends, and been able to fully exert himself on both ends of the court. He put together a single-handed 13-0 over the Huskies that essentially blew the game open. Adam Presutti has been playing the most effective basketball of the past two seasons and shown serious growth as a leader with the team. On the bus ride home from Ottawa, he was discussing training with strength and conditioning coach Josh Ford. (Also, Ford confirmed via Twitter that he accepted a position with the University of Guelph as their head coach of strength and conditioning.)

The OUA is ripe for a changing of the winner of the Wilson Cup. According to Wayne Kondro of The Ottawa Citizen, Terry Thomas will flee to greener pastures for a pro contract in Europe. Thomas spent one season with the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

Carleton will graduate two starters in Tyson Hinz and Kevin Churchill. The Ravens will still have the Scrubb brothers, but the loss of Hinz and Churchill will leave a large hole in the frontcourt.

While the 2013-14 campaign did not end with the finish that McMaster wanted, the conversation does not involve the word “disappointment.” Coaches talk about the “process,” and a win at the national tournament only accelerates the process to hoisting the W.P. McGee trophy. With the majority of the rotation returning, McMaster is poised to make the next season an historic one.