Traditional rivals make for heated skirmishes !
‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ … that’s the cynical way of looking at things, but, when you get right down to it, who do you most enjoy beating? Yes, of course, your natural rival. We do remember that time in Lethbridge, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg ! That’s what makes a weekend like this just that little bit more compelling, and excruciatingly intense. These games are for bragging rights, playoff spots, recruiting traction … you name it. Revenge. You realize their fans used to steal stuff out of our medical kit, throw foreign objects into our bench !! Or how about over-heating our locker-room? Or putting us in a meeting room about a half-mile from the gym ?! Did we mention the referees … we better not get started there. This is no regular game ….This week we have –
Thursday games – * Local times
Calgary (3-1) at Lethbridge (4-2) (hostility) 8 pm – The fans in L.A. spare no emotion in their disdain for the ‘Big City Boys’ from Calgary. Even ‘Horns coach, Mike Hansen, who played at UL when Canada West was a 6 team loop, says he remembers how “Calgary eliminated us from the playoffs in my 5th year”. Games won and lost are etched in the memory of players and fans from both programs.
The ‘Horns are a younger team, with far less depth, but, at 4-2, they have performed very well in most games this Fall. Key stat – Lethbridge is 5-1 at home vs Calgary over the past 6 League meetings. Calgary coach, Dan Vanhooren, in his 17th season at UC, played at Alberta and has seen many intense battles between the Dinos and the Pronghorns. “We need to play hard, and we know they’ll be aiming to do the same. These are always big games when we go to Lethbridge, or they come here”, says Vanhooren. Our call – Will home court be as decisive a factor this time around? This may be the Dinos’ year for a sweep.
Brandon (2-4) at Winnipeg (4-2) (long memories) – 8 pm … Rivals dating back to the days of the Great Plains Conference, the Bobcats and Wesmen have each had their years of domination. The Ws prevailed in the 1970s, then Jerry Hemmings ‘Cats ruled the Plains in the 1980s and 1990s. (Brandon had a 60-8 record over Winnipeg in those years, and BU Coach Gil Cheung was team captain for 2 championship teams ). Recently, it has been the Wesmen with the upper hand … UW Coach Mike Raimbault was the Brandon Coach back in 2007-08, and he went 20-2 in Canada West. Key stat – Since taking over at Winnipeg in 2010, his teams are 16-2 vs Brandon. Our Call – The Wesmen are clear favourites, with an improved offensive attack, a strong team defense (4th in CW at 73 ppg against). The Bobcats have a defense that has limited opponents to a 37.8% average from the floor, but they need more at the offensive end to match UW.
MacEwan (2-4) at Mt. Royal (3-1) (‘all- Explorer rivals’) – 8 pm … Here are 2 former college teams, who got to play each other 4 times a year as they competed in the 6 team Explorer Division of Canada West the last 2 seasons. The Griffins are “… solid at the perimeter”, says MRU coach Marc Dobell. “Thadius Galvez (19.5 ppg), Denzel James and Adonis (Monfort-Palomino) are playing well, and we have to defend well to contain them.”
The Cougars have veteran, Derek Wolf, and 3rd year Glen Yang, both 3 point threats. MRU’s big plus will be the forward duo of Josh Ross (18.5 ppg/ 10.8 rebs) and Brett Layton (17 ppg/11 boards). Our call – Home court is an edge for Mt. Royal. The Griffs will struggle to contain the Cougar big men.
Friday games –
Alberta (6-0) at Manitoba (2-4) (Original 6) – 8 pm .. Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp can be excused for feeling ‘battle fatigue’, with a tough early schedule – at Calgary, TRU, at UBC, Alberta, Winnipeg. The Bears are “ … an Original 6 opponent,” says Schepp. “They are unbeaten, and we will need to be at our best at home this week.” The Bisons have allowed 83 ppg, while Alberta just 64 ppg. (*We recognize the schedule at least partially dictates this stat), and that is ‘advantage Bears’. Manitoba have great perimeter depth, while U of A boast the dangerous front-line of Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke. Our Call – A split is very likely. The Herd must protect home court, and Alberta are winning with defense.
UBC-O (1-5) at Thompson Rivers (1-5) ( Okanagan Family Feud) – 7 pm ..With both teams looking for a pair of wins to get them back closer to contention, this will be hard-fought. TRU have faced 3 tough opponents in UBC, at Manitoba, and at Alberta, and they match-up better against UBC-O. The Wolf Pack’s Luke Morris and Volodymyr Iegorov will get special attention from Okanagan’s David Manshrek and other forwards. Our Call – The ‘Pack to secure 2 wins on home turf.
UNBC (2-4) at Fraser Valley (2-2) ( ‘CCAA Battle’) – 8 pm .. History lesson … These schools both won Canadian Colleges Nationals … UNBC in 2010, and UFV in 2004. This is now, however, and the Cascades are at home with a strong back-court, led by seniors Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon. The Timberwolves counter with Aussie import Rhys Elliot, and 6-4, Marcus MacKay (Terrace, BC). Key stat – The ‘Wolves are 0-6 in Abbotsford, since joining Canada West in 2012. Our Call – This may be the year. UFV the favourites, but not overwhelmingly.
UBC (4-0) at Victoria (2-4) (Ferry Fracas – old enemies) – 8 pm .. “I can still hear the Vikes Macot (‘Mother Hubbard’) yelling in my ear when we played them back in the ‘80s”, says UBC Coach, and former T-Birds star, Kevin Hanson. UBC’s high scoring wing man, Conor Morgan grew up just a stone’s throw from the UVic campus, and UBC assistant coach, Spencer MacKay, was a 5-time Canada West all-star, and UVic’s all-time leading scorer. The Vikes have won 14 League titles, and UBC 10, but the T-Birds have 4 since 2007, while UVic’s last is 2006.
This year’s version has UBC as a big favourite, with Morgan, Jordan Jensen-Whyte and company near the top of all team scoring stats, while the Vikes are struggling there, and with an unusually porous defense. Our Call – UBC gets 2 wins.
8 pm ..Regina (2-2) at Trinity Western (2-4) 7 pm ( The Huskies were busy ? ) – The mercurial Green Cougars are one of the more baffling teams, but their veteran guards led by Alex Igual, Brandon Tull, and Aaron McGowan will give the Spartans all that they can handle. Tyus Allen, import Pogos Trunyan , and leading scorer, Vartan Tanielien, will need help from their supporting cast if TWU is to win at home. Our Call – Regina the favourites, but Trinity with a chance at a split.
Winnipeg at Brandon- 8 pm , MacEwan at Mt. Royal- 8 pm
Saturday games- Alberta at Manitoba – 6 pm, Lethbridge at Calgary – 7 pm, UBC-O at Thompson Rivers – 8 pm, UNBC at Fraser Valley – 7 pm, Regina at Trinity Western – 8 pm
Sunday – Victoria at UBC – 2 pm
CIS Top 10 This Week –
- Anonymous coaches’ comments, re: The Schedule … ‘Tough to swallow when you see some of our competitors will play none of these top teams for entire year.’ And another, “Just looking at some of these ridiculous schedules. XXXXX doesn’t have anybody tough at all.” (There are big differences between schools)
- Other CIS (soon to be U-Sports) games on Wednesday – at #6 McMaster Guelph, Laurier at Western Ont, at Windsor Waterloo, St. FX at Cape Breton
- Results of games played to date between ‘Pioneer teams’ and ‘Explorer teams’ … 17 Pioneer wins – 5 Explorer wins.