East to West, West to East

 

 

Tournaments bring some intriguing inter-league play

Early returns as we head into October play ... For all of the other 46 U-Sports teams, it is ‘reassuring’ to see that the Carleton Ravens appear to be back to familiar territory. (13 of the last 15 National titles have been won by Carleton!)  The Ravens, despite a scare in their Friday opener with Concordia (82-79 last 2 minute win), did sweep 3 games in the Guy Vetrie Memorial in Victoria.

Javon Masters, UNB, ‘Fillin’ it up’! photo – UNB Athletics

There are challengers, of course, and we will have to let more games play out this month before we anoint the Blackbirds.  In thee AUS … UNB wins their own Eric Garland Tournament over Saint Marys, UQAM, and Cape Breton, with the highlight being Javon Masters’ 45 point outburst vs the Capers.  Atlantic observers suggest it may be St. FX taking a run this season, but it’s usually a free-for-all, so we hold fire for a few weeks.

Ryerson Rams ace, Ammanuel Diressa

In the OUA and other points East, for detailed analysis readers would be best served by referencing Mark Wacyck’s excellent coverage in his  CanHoops.ca      Ottawa looks good in an 85-70 road win over Bishops,  while both Ryerson and Brock are poised to show their strength, and Windsor has a fair string of wins going.  In the ‘Q’ , Laval may be right in the mix, as they start well in a pair of road wins in Ontario (at Laurier, McMaster).  The Stingers followed their tight loss to Carleton with strong wins over both Guelph and Victoria McGill plays in Calgary this week, and they must be regarded as the Q favourites until someone knocks them off.

Now for Canada WestLethbridge is a 101-71 winner at home vs UNBC,

Dejon Burdeaux, Lethbridge lead guard

and the ‘Horns are sporting a ‘post-free’ line-up with some fresh new talent to make them one of the teams to watch in Canada West.  The Timberwolves played 3 games on the weekend, with a split at Mt. Royal on Fri/Saturday.

One of the biggest stories in the West has to be the changing roster for the Saskatchewan Huskies.  The ‘Dogs hammer Briercrest College in their traditional warm-up last Thursday, but they do not have ‘All-League’ star Shane Osayande, guard Chan De Ciman, forward Mack Burns, nor swingman, Jaylan Morgan.  More to come … (we still await the release of team rosters for many of the 17 teams.)

4th year guard, Jordan Charles, is back for the Vikes.

UBC-O had a close one at McMaster, then not so much with Toronto and WesternWinnipeg lost 2 competitive games at Lakehead, but the Wesmen have a core of solid returnees.  The UVic Vikes have a number of new faces, but they are a ‘work in progress’, as are most Canada West teams over the next few weeks.  Too early to tell, but Alberta, UBC, Calgary, and Lethbridge appear to be the most obvious contenders.

 

 

The schedule this week-  What a great weekend  of inter-League play ! 

Calgary Dinos host Acadia, McGill, and McMaster this weekend in one of several inter-league tournaments.

Thursday, Oct 5  –    Calgary Cup starts at UC –  Dinos vs McGill, McMaster vs Acadia  … also Saskatchewan at Toronto, Bishops at Victoria, Laurentian at Brandon, NAIT at Thompson Rivers

Friday, Oct 6      –  Calgary Cup … Calgary Acadia,  McMaster  McGill

Lethbridge at Medicine Hat Coll, at U of M … Manitoba  Algoma, Winnipeg Laurentian,  at UBC Invitational …  UBC  Bishops, Alberta Waterloo

Concordia hosts in Montreal … Stingers vs Regina,  York Dalhousie

Cape Breton’s Fall Classic – Capers vs St. FX, UPEI   SAIT (Calgary)

Saturday  , Oct 7 –   at UC …  Calgary  McMaster, Acadia McGill , at UBC … T-Birds  Waterloo,  Alberta  Bishops, in Winnipeg … Wesmen  Algoma , Manitoba  Laurentian,  in Montreal … Concordia  Dalhousie, Regina  York. at Cape Breton … Capers  UPEI , St. FX  SAIT  ,   Also … Saskatchewan at Ryerson  ,  Lethbridge vs Medicine Hat,  Trinity Western and UBC-O

Sunday , Oct 8 –   Victoria vs Waterloo,   at CBU … Capers  SAIT, St. FX  UPEI,  at Concordia … Stingers  York,  Regina  Dalhousie

Easy Win for Canada Over Hong Kong

 

 

Canada Crushes Hong Kong in Team Effort

In an obvious mismatch on Tuesday in Taiwan, Canada, even without injured mainstays, Conor Morgan (UBC) and Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles (Ottawa), overwhelmed Hong Kong 125-55 in Pool B action.  Erik Nissen (Acadia) was the scoring and rebounding leader, with 20 pts/ 11 boards, as all 10 players helped the team hit on 55% of their field goal attempts.

Kevin Bercy (St. FX) amassed 17 points/ 5 rebounds in only 9 minutes, and 6 Canadians got to double digits in scoring.  The winners enjoyed a huge 63-29 edge over the smaller Hong Kong team on the boards.  Canada, now 2-1, have a rest day on Wednesday, then face a fairly weak (1-2) Japan on Thursday.  It certainly seems a must for Canada to then knock off the Germans in their final game on Friday, if they are to advance to the next round.  Box Score

Group B standings – Germany 3-0,  Finland 3-0,  Canada 2-1,  Japan 1-2,  Norway 0-3, and  Hong Kong 0-3

 

NCAA vs U-Sports Scores   –

Notre Dame  College (Div 2)  100  at York  83

Canisius (NY, Div 1) 82 at Concordia 69

also in Montreal – Ottawa  71 New Hampshire  (Div 1) 65

in US Virgin Islands – Brock 76 James Madison (Pittsburgh, Div 1) 73

(Late score from Sunday)  In Costa Rica –  Nevada-Reno  (Div 1)  107  UBC 57

Too Big a Comeback for Canada

 

 

Finland Downs Cold-Shooting Canucks

Canada’s team, made up of U-Sports ‘all-stars’, dropped a disappointing 79-71 decision to Finland on Monday afternoon in Taipei City.  With a record of 1-1, they are now tasked with winning at least 2 of their 3 remaining group games, if they are to play in quarter-finals.

With their 3 ‘high-volume ‘ shooters, Connor Wood, Kaza Kajami-Keane, Conor Morgan,  hitting just 29% from the floor (12/42), Team Canada is 35% FG vs 41% for the Finns.  The winners had a massive 50-20 gap in the middle 2 frames, as the Canucks went ice cold; the Red and White roared back with 32 pts in the 4th, but the deficit was just too much to overcome.

Kajami-Keane (Carleton) had 21 pts/ 7 rebs, and Wood, another Ravens grad, counted 17 pts.  Forward, Erik Nissen (Acadia), was steady, with 12 pts/ 6 rebs. Box Score 

Canada has Hong Kong on Tuesday, Japan on Thursday, and Germany on Friday.   CBCsports.ca  has, apparently, dropped live streaming of that Friday game?!

 

NCAA vs U-Sports Scores  on Sunday –

at Windsor 73  Ferris State (Michigan,Div 2) 67

Canisius (NY, Div 1) 81  Bishops 60  at Montreal

New Hampshire  (Div 1) 79  Laval 61   at Ste. Foy

at Waterloo 68  Regis (Colorado. Div 2) 66

in US Vigin Islands –  James Madison (Pittsburgh, Div 1) 78  Brock 75

No result for the UBC game in Costa Rica ….

FISU Games Team Tips Off Sunday

 

Team Canada Poised For FISU Tip-off

Coach Kevin Hanson, FISU volunteer, Tina Wu, and T’Birds star, Conor Morgan. (Dinos in the background …)

Coach Kevin Hanson (UBC)  and his U-Sports Team Canada will tip-off their FISU Games on Sunday vs Norway.  This is the first of 5 Group games in the 24 team event, with Canada vying for one of 2 spots in the quarter-finals out of their 6 team group.  Here is the game schedule for 1st round play –

Sunday, August 20th  vs. Norway 2:30 AM Pacific

Monday, August 21st vs. Finland  7:00 PM Sunday  Pacific

Tuesday, August 22nd vs. Hong Kong 5:00 AM Pacific

Thursday, August 24th vs. Japan  5:00 AM Pacific

Friday, August 25th vs. Germany 12:00 Midnight Pacific

(The 9 – 13 hour time difference  to Taiwan makes live viewing a challenge for Canadian fans.   For media coverage –   CBCsports.ca  has a daily highlight package at 8 am Pacific each day.   We do not seem to have any luck with the FISU Games TV site ….)

Calgary Dinos David Kapinga and Mambi Diawara; proud Canadians at the opening ceremonies.

 

Team news … The National Player of the Year from last season, Carleton’s Connor Wood, should be set for at least limited duty vs Norway, as he recovers from an ankle sprain. Wood played about 10 minutes in Canada’s 99-63 exhibition win over Mexico.  The USA team, represented by Purdue University, blitzed Norway 81-49 in another prep game in Taipei.  The USA had a couple of much tighter wins over Canada down in Indiana last week.

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Overtime –

Canada’s Senior National Team has 2 U-Sports coaches directing the FIBA America’s entry, which will compete in the tournament in Argentina. Head Coach, Roy Rana (Ryerson U.) has UVIc Coach, Craig Beaucamp, as his top Assistant.   Training camp starts Saturday in Toronto.

 

  • UBC-O  Coach Peter Guarasci adds 3 new recruits, including ex- MRU guard Aloysius Callaghan (Calgary), 6-6 Kyrin Cybenko (Saskatoon), who was a top rebounder for Lakeland College in the ACAC, and 6-7 Gurman Bhangu (Surrey, Panorama Ridge) who is a very promising high school star.   Details in this Kelowna Capital News story.

 

  •  UBC T-Birds, without Coach Kevin Hanson and 5th year star, Conor Morgan, are in Costa Rica.   UBC drops a close one to Texas – El Paso 78-73 Friday. They meet Nevada-Reno  on Saturday and Sunday.     On Wednesday, The Trinity Western Spartans were beaten 101-64 by St. Martin’s University (WA) in a game played in Langley, BC.
  • More U-Sports – NCAA scores …   James Madison 67  Carleton 59, Carleton 81  Vanderbilt 74, Carleton 89  N. Colorado 79  …  McGill 86 UTEP 82 OT, McGill 56  UTEP 54 … N. Colorado 81  Brock 74, Vanderbilt 104  Brock 90.

 

Alberta Claims Big Win Over Montana State

 

 

Bears Shoot Their Way to Impressive Win 

The Alberta Golden Bears made a ‘Summer statement’ with a  decisive 97-72 win over the touring Montana State Bobcats in Calgary on Sunday afternoon.  Bookend 26-12  opening and closing quarters sealed this win for the reigning Canada West champs, and handed the Bobcats (NCAA Div. 1 – Big Sky Conference) their only loss in 4 games in Canada.

Lyndon Annetts is hot from the outside in Bears win over MSU.  photo – U of A Athletics

The Bears shot the ball very well, and that improvement over their Friday night loss was a major factor … 49% from the floor vs 41% for MSU, and 74% (17/23) from the free throw line.  The veteran – laden U of A line-up had 4 players in double figures, led by 3rd year post man, Brody Clarke, with 24 pts/9 rebs, and 18 points on 6/9 from 3 point range by wing man, Lyndon Annetts.  2 other starters, Mamadou Gueye and Austin Waddoups, tallied 14 apiece.

These Summer games may just be exhibition tilts, but they can reveal the potential for the upcoming season.  MSU had played 4 games in 4 days, and chose to rest or limit a few of their top players, but let’s not discount a strong showing by an obviouly deep Alberta team.  Coach Barnaby Craddock has another definite contender for League honours this season.   Box Score

 

Scores from other Sunday games –

at Brock 85  Jacksonville (FL)  95

Binghamton (NY)  74  Toronto 61

Some upcoming games this week – McGill is in Costa Rica to play Kent State (OH), Lamar (TX) , and 2 games vs Texas – El Paso.  Carleton travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Vanderbilt (TN)  of the SEC (2 games), N. Colorado (Big Sky), and James Madison (PA).  Brock is also in the USVI  to play those same 3 teams.  Trinity Western is at home for a single game on Wednesday vs Saint Martins , a Div 2 NCAA school from Lacey, WA.

 

Overtime –

  • The Manitoba Bisons announced the signing of Riki Zimbakov, a 6-1 guard from John Taylor Collegiate in Winnipeg.
  • Marc Dobell, Head Coach at  Mt. Royal, was disappointed earlier this summer upon learning that talented recruit Diew Moses (Calgary, Bishop McNally) failed to qualify academically, and will not be with the Cougars after all.
  • The Calgary Dinos have reportedly signed 6-1 guard, Angelo Mbituyamana (Calgary – Bishop O’Byrne).  ““We like Angelo’s quickness, pace of play, and ability to get defensive touches”, said Head Coach Dan Vanhooren.

 

 

August – Game- On for U-Sports vs NCAA

 

 

Calgary, Alberta, Trinity, UBC  in Upcoming NCAA Games  

Starting on August the 10th to the 13th , the UC Dinos and Alberta Golden Bears have a pair of games apiece against the visiting Montana State Bobcats.  The ‘Cats meet Calgary on Thursday, the 10th and Saturday, the 12th, and are up gainst the Bears on the 1th and the 13th.  All games are at the UC’s Jack Simpson Gym.

The Bears won the Canada West Championship over Calgary last March, and have almost all their players returning, losing only Brett Roughead to graduation. Calgary graduated high scorer Thomas Cooper, along with regulars, Jasdeep Gill, and Dallas Karch.  Both teams added skilled recruits, and this will be an early chance for fans to preview 2 of Canada West’s perennial contenders.

On Wednesday, August 16, the Trinity Western Spartans welcome Div 2 Saint Martin’s University (Lacey, WA) to Langley.   The UBC Thunderbirds are one of 3 U-Sports sqads visiting Costa Rica this month. The ‘Birds will be without CW Player of the Year, Conor Morgan, who will be on Team Canada in Taiwan for the FISU Games along with Coach Kevin Hanson.   UBC has the U. Nevada Wolf Pack on Aug 18, then the U. Texas – El Paso Miners on the 19th, before finishing  vs Nevada again on the 21st.

 

Eastern Powers Busy With August NCAA Play

Carleton guard Emmanuel Owootoah and the powerhouse Ravens start an ambitious summer schedule.      Photo – Go Ravens.ca

Laval Rouge et Or tipped off Wednesday in a 73-68 home loss to U. California-Riverside, as NCAA teams invade Canada for most of this month.  There is more action  this coming August 5th weekend as Laurentian VG’s are the first team to play in a summer series in Costa Rica, tipping off against the U. of Montana on Saturday.  In Montreal and Ottawa, we have U-Sports teams (UQAM, McGill, and Carleton) hosting Towson State and Alabama starting Sunday.

The U-Sports Champion, Carleton Ravens, have 12 summer dates, with home games – Aug 7 – Towson State , Aug 9 – Alabama , Aug 22 – New Hampshire,  Aug 23 – Canisius College, Aug 25 – Northeastern U., Aug 27 – St. Francis (Brooklyn), Aug 28- Sienna College, Aug 30 – Hofstra U.  Away games are in the U.S. Virgin Islands … Aug 14 – 18  –  Vanderbilt U (2 games), Northern Colorado, James Madison U.

McGill Redmen, the Quebec champs, are up for 10 games including 4 in Costa Rica from August 14 – 17 vs Kent State, Lamar, and a pair vs Texas-El Paso .  The  Quebec power team is home for August 7 – Alabama, 8th – Southern Methodist, 10th – Towson before the Costa Rica junket.  Later in the summer slate … Aug 28th at home to St. Francis (Brooklyn) , 30th – Siena, and Sept. 2 vs Hofstra.

Brock Badgers, a team ‘on the rise’, are scheduling 6 games including Aug 16, 17, 20 and 21 in the U.S. Virgin Islands vs Vanderbilt, N. Colorado, James Madison (2 games)  The Badgers are home on Aug 9 – Binghamton, Aug 13 – Jacksonville

Concordia Stingers also have 6 games lined up with NCAA schools, starting August 20th vs Canisius, then 23rd , 24th against Northeastern and New Hampshire.  The Stingers catch St. Francis, Siena, and Hofstra on Aug 29, 31, and Sept 1. All are home games

The Laurentian Voyageurs have 4 games in Costa Rica during the week August 5th through 12th, as they play the Montana Grizzlies, a pair vs Western Kentucky, and finish against Kent State.

The Ottawa Gee-Gees get Alabama on Aug 10, then New Hampshire and Canisius on the 21st and 22nd. Ramapo College (Div 3) visits the capitol on Aug 28.

 

Overtime –

  • In recent years Carleton has notable victories over NCAA ‘power programs’ such as Syracuse, Indiana, Wichita State, and Wisconsin.  All these are on the Raven’s home court, and CU has an historical 26-23 record vs U.S. schools on this side of the border.  Not so much when they travel South, as they are 1-28 in all games played in the U.S.
  • The Canadian squad for the FISU Games – Universiade will leave Saturday for a training camp at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana.  This all-U-Sports aggregation will benefit from some generous hosting by the Boilermakers, whose Big Ten team will represent the U.S. at the Taiwan event from August 19-30.  Here’s a story on Thunderbirds teammates, Conor Morgan and Jordan Jensen-Whyte, who are reunited on this Canada team.   

 

 

Clarke Shines as Bears Take Title

 

 

Second half power delivers Canada West title to Alberta

Brody Clarke’s 29 points drive Alberta to the Canada West title   photo – U of A Athletics

 Alberta 92  Manitoba  73  –  The Bears big men, Brody Clarke and Mamadou Gueye, flexed their muscles here in the Final, with Clarke taking it at the Bisons’ low post defenders.  Three UM post men accumulate 11 fouls trying to corral the 2nd year Canada West all-star.  Gueye  was converting his chances from the 3 point line (3/4)  to his feathery step- back post-ups.   The Bruins explode for 54 points in the final 20 minutes, as Manitoba appears to tire.

After the opening quarter, Alberta seized the lead, and really took charge in the 4th, as the foul count mounted against the Herd.  UM foul out both Keith Omoerah and Justus Alleyn, who had been so central in their drive to the final. Alberta converted 22/30 free throws, and won the rebound battle 47-31.

For the Bears, Clarke finishes with a game- high  29 points plus 12 rebounds, while Gueye tallies 20 pts/ 8 boards/ 3 steals.  Geoff Pippus does some 4th quarter damage with his 3 point shot, as he posts 18 points on 4/8 from outside, and Austin Waddoups works hard for 17 points / 5 rebounds.

Manitoba could not find their shooting eye from outside nearly as well as they had done against Calgary in the  Friday semi-final.  The Bisons were just 4/22  vs the GBs outstanding 10/21 from beyond the arc. Both Omoerah and A. J. Basi scored 17 points and Keith grabs 10 boards for his double.  Ilarion Bonhomme records 15 points and 5 assists from his point spot.

Both these teams will represent Canada West in next week’s Nationals, which start Thursday, March 16 in Halifax. Box Score  

 

Cooper’s 19 second half points lead Dinos to OT win 

Dinos Thomas Cooper finds the range in OT win over Saskatchewan                                        photo – David Moll , UC

Calgary 111  Saskatchewan  106  OT –  In one of the strangest games in recent memory, the Dinos snatch victory after trailing by 17 in the middle of the opening quarter following  an 11-0 Saskatchewan run. The Huskies came out firing, and hit 4 treys to surge ahead, and they looked like winners for most of the afternoon.  UC came back with a couple of 3s, and it was 26-20 as the period ended. A late flurry in the 2nd was capped by a buzzer-beating heave for 3 from import guard, Lawrence Moore for U of S., as they were up 51-43 at the break.

Saskatchewan held the lead through all of the 3rd frame, and right into the last minute of regulation, when Calgary’s Thomas Cooper hit a jumper to tie it at 95.  In the OT, Cooper, who had started slowly, poured in another 11 points to pace the spirited Dinos come-back.

Cooper tallied 32 points/ 7 rebs/ 5 assists as Calgary fought to give themselves a realistic shot at the lone wildcard spot in next week’s National Final 8.  David Kapinga played 41 minutes and scored 21 for UC, while Mambi Diawara (17 pts/ 6 rebs/ 5 assts, and Jhony Verrone (16 pts/ 5 assts/ 2 steals/ 3 breakaway dunks )  aided in the big win.

The Sled Dogs, like Calgary, ran right through their line-up , going 10+  deep, with starters Jaylan Morgan and Shane Osayande in pretty early foul trouble. All 5 starters were in double figures, with Moore counting a game-high 33 pts along with 6 rebs/ 4 asst/ 4 steals.  He had big help from Matt Forbes (18 pts/ 6 boards), and Osayande (15 pts/ 8 rebs).     Box Score

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In the East –  

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final  –   #2 Ryerson 86 #1 Carleton  79 –  The Rams pull off the upset for the 2nd straight year.    #4 Brock  69   #3  Ottawa 67 – the Gee-Gees may have cost themselves a wildcard spot with this 3rd place  loss.

Atlantic Tournament   Semis –   #10 Dalhousie  78  Acadia  75,   St. Mary’s  81 UNB 68      The Tigers  – Huskies  all-Halifax championship final is Sunday at 4:30 on  AUS TV    http://www.austv.ca/

 In the Quebec Final  Saturday   #6  McGill 82   UQAM  65 , so the Redmen return as the RSEQ reps at Nationals.

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Overtime – 

  • Saskatchewan defeats  Regina  64-53 for the  Women’s Canada West title on Saturday.   Both teams will join hosts, Victoria in the U-Sports Women’s Final 8 Tournament next week on the Island.
  • Guests shot on Canada West TV for Dinos Assistant Coach Matt Skinn, as he bumps ‘ex-buddy’ John Tramble off the ticket with ace play-by-play man, Lucas Meyer.  (Cut-throat ambition, Matty !)
  • The Sunday Atlantic Championship game will precede the conference call for the Wild-card selection committee, as they choose the 8th team for the nationals in Halifax.

Final 4 ‘Wide Open’ – Friday Semi-Finals

 

 

Berths in U-Sports Nationals Up for Grabs

One win away.  For the 4 teams in this week’s Final 4, their clearest focus may well be the one major step they have to take to get to the National Championship tournament in Halifax on March 9-12.   Win Friday, and you’re in.

This makes for as intense a game as they will have played all year.  The host Calgary Dinos won last year’s Canada West Final, and went on to reach the championship game vs Carleton last March in Vancouver.  The largely veteran Dinos are aiming for a repeat appearance, but will have a real tussle with the Manitoba Bisons. The Herd have not played in a National Final 8 Championship since 1985, and they are aching to seize this opportunity.

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have had fairly recent runs to a Nationals Tournament, with Alberta in 2014 and Saskatchewan in both 2014 and 2015.  The Bears and Huskies split their regular season series in Saskatoon in early February, and their Friday tip-off at 3 pm will continue a fierce rivalry .

5th year Huskies forward, Trevor Severinski, hopes to find some magic against the Golden Bears                  Photo – Huskies Athletics

# 9 Saskatchewan Huskies  vs #8  Alberta Golden Bears –  Saskatchewan are worried about the Bears’ ability to put up points, and Alberta’s staff will be devising strategies to defend the post combo of Shayne Osayande and Matt Forbes.  The 3 point shot could obviously be a difference maker, as it has been for Canada West’s best long-range shooting team, U of A,  much of the regular season.

The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye shoots 41.5% from 3 point range, and he’s the 5th best of the GB’s shooters from outside the arc ! (Gueye is 12th in CW, and, of course, he has a few other skills to bring to the party.)  Austin Waddoups 46.8%, Andre Kelly 44.7%, Geoff Pippus 42.6%, and Ivan Ikomey 42.2%.  Hot.  And the Bears still have the inside threat of all-star post man, Brody Clarke.

The Huskies Osayande can take over a game.  He’s a walking, leaping, shot-blocking, double-double.  And his muscular ‘mate,  Forbes, has that 5th year zeal as he steps on the stage for one of his last performances. The ‘Dogs may live and die with the 2 -way games of their guard corps, Lawrence Moore, Jaylan Morgan, and Alex Unruh.  Getting Morgan back is vital to their cause, as is the rejuvenation of the offensive threat posed by ‘small forward’, Trevor Severinski.  This 5th year shooter has found his shooting eye at just the right time.

This is a ‘street fight’ kind of game, which we see as a toss-up.  Shake hands and go to a neutral corner.   It’s a matinee game time of 3 pm .   Canada West TV

Calgary’s Mitch Ligertwood should be a key figure vs the Bisons.                   Photo- David Moll – UC Athletics

#5 Calgary Dinos  vs  Manitoba Bisons –  The Bisons come off a 2 game road sweep of the previously 25-1 UBC Thunderbirds.  They should be on a ‘Wanted Poster’ !  Armed and dangerous !  The 4 pillars of this team, Ilarion Bonhomme, A.J. Basi, Keith Omoerah, and Justus Alleyn averaged 33.5 minutes apiece, and tallied 88% of the Herd’s points in Vancouver.

Bonhomme is most dangerous as a penetrator, and Alleyn has been their ‘drop dead’ scorer for most of the season.  Omoerah is a multi-faceted weapon, with his rebounding, scoring, and leadership.  Basi has been a streaky shooter, but has a knack at crunch time.  The Dinos will know that they can’t give him too much free room.  Off the bench Coach Kirby Schepp utilizes veterans Malik Irwin and Joey Nitychoruk along with all-rookie forward  James Wagner.

Calgary will be playing a variety of ‘small ball’, very likely.  Mitch Ligertwood had a strong series in the post against TRU, and he has the experience from last year’s Final 4 to inspire his efforts.  The ‘overall team effort’ is the key factor, according to Coach Dan Vanhooren, and he looks to the defensive skills of perimeter  players led by ultra-quick David Kapinga,  shooting guard Thomas Cooper, and his side-kicks, the gritty Jhony Verrone, the spidery, energetic, Mambi Diawara, and skilled rookie, Max Eisle.

Veterans Dallas Karch and Jasdeep Gill are 5th year players who are wanting to go out as winners, and they have both shown an ability to make an impact.  This match-up produced a split on the season’s opening weekend at UC;  we should expect a rousing affair, and quite possibly a ‘down-to-the-wire’ finish.           8 pm on Canada West TV

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In the East –    

Carleton’s Connor Wood, OUA Player of the Year.
photo – Ottawa Citizen

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 has  #1 Carleton vs  #4 Brock at 4:50 Eastern time , and #3 Ottawa vs #2 Ryerson  7:50  from Carleton U. in Ottawa   Both on  OUA TV   The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.   For more detail, check in with Mark Wacyk’s comprehensive  CANhoops.ca  blog, with great OUA coverage.

Atlantic  –   The festive annual tradition of the Atlantic Tournament at the Halifax Scotia Bank Centre will tip-off on Friday with the two Quarter-Finals –  Acadia vs  Memorial  at 6:30  Atlantic time , and  St. Mary’s vs  St. FX  at 8:30.  Both of these games are available live on AUS TV    .   Friday’s winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)  with the championship final going Sunday at 4:30.   Dalhousie will be the host team for the U-Sports Nationals.

Quebec –   Top seeded McGill will host the RSEQ Tournament in Montreal starting Friday as well  – The Redmen meet  4 seed, Laval, in one game, and Concordia plays UQAM in an all-Montreal affair in the other semi.  The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

 

Overtime –

  • There is some heated discussion surrounding the one ‘At-Large or ‘Wild-card’ spot in the March 9-12,  U-Sports Final 8 Nationals  to be awarded by a Coaches Committee after play this Sunday.  We wrongly suggested that Canada West has a rule that only Final 4 teams can be considered.  Apparently not, so UBC is able to receive consideration, despite having lost 2 straight to Manitoba in CW Quarter-Finals.  Who knows how this will go?  The results this weekend will be a big factor, of course.  It seems to suggest in the U-Sports Final 8 Selection Criteria  that teams advancing further down the play-off trail be placed in a category 1 ‘cluster’ of teams for consideration.  This is one of the sections which lends more subjectivity to the exercise.
  •  Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren, on his feelings about 4th year guard, David Kapinga’s absence from the CW all-star list.   “Vanhooren was pleased with Kapinga’s performance, calling him an “unrecognized all-star.”  “It’s a shame that a player with that level of talent doesn’t get recognized by our league in that fashion,” he said. “I think that he’s clearly one of the better players in the league and he showed that in the fourth quarter (in last Friday’s win over TRU) . He’s an all-star in my mind.”   From a story in UC’s student newspaper, The Gauntlet. 
  • Forward Lars Schleuter is side-lined for the Dinos

  • Two significant absences last week as their teams qualified for the  Final 4  were  Jaylan Morgan of Saskatchewan  and Lars Schleuter of Calgary.   Huskies Coach Barry Rawlyk suggests, “ He’s worked hard to recover, and made significant progress, so  we are expecting Morgan to be back in the line-up for the Semi-Final Friday vs Alberta.”  Schleuter, however, doesn’t expect to be in action this week for the Dinos, and he said “It’s tough to watch from the sidelines, but I have confidence in my teammates this week”.

 

 

 

League Championship Week Across Canada

 

All 4 League championship tournaments set to tip-off Friday

This is U-Sports Play-off week right across the country, from the big AUS Tournament in Halifax to the Canada West Final 4 in Calgary.  Besides determining League champions, the 4 tournaments will go a long way to deciding the field for the U-Spots Final 8 Nationals in Halifax – March 9-12.

Here are the match-ups and schedules for the week –

 

Note the unusual times for the Canada West Final 4  draw-  The UC has decided to divide the Final 4 games with a Dinos 1/4 Final Volleyball match (both for Friday and Saturday).  Unfortunate for basketball fans, and not really the way to host a League championship tournament, in our opinion.

Saturday sees the 3rd place game at 3 pm and the Canada West Final at 8 pm. (Both finalists will have qualified for the Nationals in Halifax.) 

 

The Wilson Cup semi-finals and finals are being played in Ottawa this weekend, with the Carleton Ravens a decided favourite.  The 2 semi-final winners will qualify for the Nationals, and will play for the OUA title on Saturday .

 

The Quebec Finals are  hosted by the top seed , McGill Redmen.  The Final will be played on Saturday, with that champion looking like the lone RSEQ rep in Nationals.

 

We expect this to be an unpredictable 6 team event, with 1 spot in Nationals on the line.  The AUS gets a host spot as well, so teams will be fighting their way through to the Final.

 

Overtime –

  • Emotional and admirable statement from 5th year UBC team captain , Jordan Jensen-Whyte, after the team’s play-off loss to Manitoba last Friday,  “It’s tough man. It’s a great year. Couple of things didn’t go our way,” said Jensen-Whyte. “ … and Manitoba is a great team. I have nothing but respect for my coach and the players. I have nothing but love for this place.”  From a story in UBC’s student news, The Ubyssey. 
  •  The annual guessing-game surrounding the choice of a ‘wild-card’ team for the U-Sports Final 8 Nationals is starting in earnest.  If we look at the criteria for the committee to consider, we note the subjective nature in some areas.  League records may have a 16-4 team ‘equivalent’ to a 15-4 team, and so on.  To be clear … despite their high marks in every category, the UBC T’Birds are out, with their play-off record, and Canada West’s rule to have only teams from the Final 4 considered. We expect the 8th team to almost be a sure thing for the OUA, but we’ve been wrong before.  U-Sport announces their decision next Sunday, after the AUS Tournament is complete.

 

 

 

Top 10 Showdown in Saskatoon This Week

 

Huskies host Bears, with top Canada West seed at stake

#7 Alberta (12-4)   at   #9 Saskatchewan  (11-5)   –  This is our ‘Feature Series’ this week , as 2 of Canada West’s 4 Top 10 teams clash in Saskatoon.  This can swing the top 4 seeds for playoff purposes, with Alberta and Saskatchewan both having a shot at hosting the Final 4, if things break the right way.  A sweep for either team is huge.

The Huskies have home court, and have won 6 of 8 in this 2nd half of the schedule, while the Bears have dropped 4 of their 6.   The Dogs’ big men, Shane Osayande (18.2 ppg/ 10.6 rebs) and Matt Forbes ( 15.3 ppg/ 8.6 rebs)  will be a major hurdle for the GBs’ Brody Clarke (15.3 ppg, 7.7 rebs) and Mamadou Gueye (16.1 ppg/ 6.4 rebs).  Coach Craddock will ‘change it up’ with 7-2, Brett Roughead, a 10-12 minute man who can mix it up in the paint.

Saskatchewan’s 5th year post man, Matt Forbes        –  photo  GetMyPhoto.ca

Austin Waddoups, the Bears’ outside shooting ace (48% / 14 ppg) and floor general, will get lots of attention from Sask’s guard corps of Lawrence Moore, Chan De Ciman (if he’s healthy), and Alex Unruh.  Alberta has shot the ball better from the floor this season, and they will need Clarke and Gueye to be productive.  Both defenses have shown they can win games by keeping teams in the high 60s or low 70s;  the question is, can they take away the other’s best players?  We see this as a split, and a sweep would be big news, and likely launch the winner into the top of the RPI list.   These big games go at 8 pm Central both nights.

 

 

 

Other games, which we will preview Thursday …

Lethbridge has this week as a bye

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The Top 10 remains the same in the top 3, with Carleton, Ottawa, and UBC looking sharp this past weekend.  The Brock Badgers climb from 6th to 4th with a win over previously unbeaten Ryerson, and Calgary, who blow a 20 pt. lead Saturday to un-ranked Regina, fall to 6th.

Both the OUA and Canada West have 4 spots in the table, while McGill is the lone Quebec representative, and the AUS has #10 Dalhousie.   Those 2 Leagues don’t seem to have the dominant powers, and their championships may be more uncertain. We note the support for Saint Mary’s Huskies who are winning some tough games in the Atlantic, and a nudge for Manitoba, with their 8 straight in Canada West.