City brothers could battle in CIS basketball playoffs

Joe Rocca, of the McMaster Marauders, is hoping to face brother Mike in the Ontario university basketball playoffs. Photo courtesy, Rick Zazulak, McMaster Athletics

Barry Wright

There’s a better than average chance two Sarnia brothers will go head-to-head in the second round of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) men’s basketball playoffs.

Fourth year guard Joe Rocca plays for the fourth-ranked McMaster Marauders, while young brother Mike, a sophomore, is a guard with the University of Windsor Lancers.

Windsor is ranked fifth in the country.

The brothers both played their high school basketball at St. Christopher.

The Hamilton-based Marauders are expected to get a first-round playoff bye, while the Lancers will be opposed by a much lower-seeded team in the opening round.  If Windsor wins its first-round encounter, tentatively set for Feb. 25, it would travel to Steeltown three days later and face McMaster in the quarterfinals.

“It’ll be exciting to play against him,” said Joe Rocca of the potential match-up with little bro.

“They’re a good team. They (Windsor) beat Carleton a couple of weeks ago,” he added.

Carleton and their crosstown rivals from the University of Ottawa have jockeyed back and forth as the top two teams in the countries throughout this season.

“It’ll be an exciting match-up for us,” said Mike Rocca, noting with a friendly chuckle he and his Lancers will be looking for revenge after losing in overtime to McMaster in the bronze medal game of the CIS tournament last season.

“We know we can beat them,” he said.  “When we play our best anything is possible.”

McMaster beat the Lancers, 84-72 in their only regular season encounter earlier this season in Windsor.

And while the brothers are both guards, they are far from the same type of player, according to Mike Rocca.

“(Joe) is more of an offensive player, whereas I’m feisty and more of a defensive player.”

Joe Rocca averages 12.9 points per game, compared to 7.1 points per game for Mike.

Both players average about 23 minutes per game.