Trinity Western in Transition

 

Trinity Western Spartans –  

3rd year Coach Aaron Muhic will be counting on his 7 returning 4th and 5th year players to help his Spartans turn the tide on 2 rough seasons for the Langley, BC crew. 5th year, 6-0 guard, Pogos Trunyan, a 3 point shooting threat from  Sacramento, CA,  led Trinity scorers with 14.7 ppg last year, and 4th year wing, 6-4 Vartan Taniellian (White Rock, BC) was 11.8 ppg / 3.6 rebs. Expect 4th year, 6-5 wing, Max Viitala (Melbourne, Aus) to up his 11 ppg scoring, with his 49% accuracy from the floor.

TWU’s leading scorer, Pogos Trunyan, returns for his 5th year.

Josiah Meppelink, a 2nd year, 6-3 guard from Langley stepped in as a rookie to post a solid 1.5 assist to turnover mark as a 24 mins/game rookie.  Newcomers this Fall include 3rd year transfer (Briercrest, SK), Ethan DaSilva (Calgary), a slick lead guard with an eye for the hoop.

‘Walk-on’ at the forward spot is, Steve Sesink, a 6-8 big body, who Coach Muhic feels, ‘can help us inside’. The Spartans also added 6-7 Daniel Stead from a good program at Langley – Walnut Grove, and 6-6 Aaron Petkau, Ballenas HS, Parksville

Coach Muhic describes himself as a ‘builder’, and he wants to develop a winning program and to graduate his players.  This may be a challenge for one of Canada West’s smaller schools, but Muhic’s track record as one of the NAIA’s winningest coaches while at William Jessup University (CA), suggests that he is up for it. This may be a ‘transitional year’ with as many new faces as returnees.

Last year – 3-17 …..  Prognosis –  Aiming for 10-10, but with a very rugged schedule in 2017-18.

 

Tanielian Trains in Homeland

5th year Trinity Western Spartan, Vartan Tanielian, went ‘home’ for much of this Summer.  In his case ‘home’ is all the way back to childhood, in Lebanon.  The trip was, however, primarily to take advantage of an opportunity to work-out with National Basketball Team players in the country of his birth.

“It was brilliant”, gushes the enthusiastic Tanielian, who made a big enough impression that he made the top 15 on this National squad. “It was a real eye-opener, to see how these pros prepared for competition.  To see how hard they trained, and took care of physical conditioning.  I certainly learned the level of dedication it takes to reach their level, to succeed in the pros, and to stay there over a number of years.”  Vartan was invited to travel to Serbia with the team, and he was part of their training for a series there.

A key returnee for the Spartans in his final season, Vartan believes this overseas experience will help him give more to TWU over the Fall and Winter. Asked to comment on the challenges for Trinity with a very rugged League schedule, the young man said, “I like the tough slate of games. We’ll know where we stand.  I think this can be our year, and I’m looking at 10-12 wins as a team goal.”

Moving from Lebanon to Los Angeles at 6 years old in 2001, Vartan said he had to learn resilience as he faced cultural biases from Americans shortly after 9-11.  “But I found friends, and I discovered how much I loved playing basketball”, he said.  Vartan’s enthusiasm for life and basketball allowed him to get through this traumatic time in his life.

Moving on to B.C., his family settled in White Rock/ Surrey, and he made more friends who were basketball players.  One of these was fellow TWU player, Tyus Allen. “We grew up together”, says Tyus. “He is like a brother to me; I loved playing with him (at White Rock Christian Academy, then on to TWU).

Allen, whose Dad, Scott, coached the Spartans for their 1st 3 years at the school, is a talented point guard, but has, in the past couple of years, had several knee injuries. The latest, he suffered in a game last season (one in which Tyus was headed for a triple -double’ on the stats sheet).  “It’s hard for me to see my friend have to struggle through these injuries”, says Vartan. “He will be a player-coach with us for now, but I realize how hard it is for him to deal with his severe injury.”

Tanielian, who was disappointed in his season last year, suggests, “I am better prepared now, and in much better physical shape.  I’m looking for us to have our bgest season yet.”  If this new-found determination and confidence can be matched by the rest of the Spartans, they just may surprise many observers.

 

‘The Ball Goes Up ….’

 

 Fall Pre-Season Games on Tap This Week

Teams have been busy with their early Fall work-outs, and pre-season games are getting underway starting this weekend.  Laurentian and Algoma start things off this Friday in Sudbury, while Alberta has an Alumni game on Saturday.  UBC-O hosts Vancouver Island , a strong B.C. College League team, also on Saturday in Kelowna.  Laval, Cape Breton, Saskatchewan, York, Nipissing, and Western Ontario also have CCAA opponents lined up over the next 10-12 days.

Coach Peter Guarasci and the Heat are busy in September.

UBC-O travel to Ontario next week, where the Heat will play McMaster, Toronto, and Western Ont. Also beginning the last weekend in September will be UVic’s annual Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament.  The Vikes once again welcome the National Champion Carleton Ravens, along with Concordia Stingers and the Guelph Gryphons.  Winnipeg Wesmen continue their tradition of playing a pair of games in Thunder Bay vs Lakehead on September 28 and 29.

Other games that get our interest …  Memorial visits Brock, McMaster, and York on the 29th-Oct 1. The Eric Garland Tournament at U. New Brunswick has Saint Marys, Cape Breton, and UQAM.

 

NCAA vs U-Sports : 45 – 25

6-8 Eddie Ekiyor and the Carleton Ravens look like championship contenders , even in August.

In 70 games played this past August – early September between U-Sports

In 70 games played this past August – early September between U-Sports schools and NCAA squads, the edge goes to the Americans by a 45 – 25 count.

Overall,  Carleton owned a 9-2 record over NCAA competition, including wins over Alabama, Vanderbilt,  and Northeastern.  McGill, who won all 3 on a trip to the Caribbean,  was just 1-4 in later home games, and had an overall 4-6 mark. Windsor won both their NCAA games in August, then went to The Netherlands and swept a 3 game series against club-pro teams there. Ottawa Gee-Gees were 3-1 with visiting U.S. schools, with their lone loss to Alabama by an 81-71 score.

Out West, it was Alberta with a 1-1 record against Montana State, as they clipped the ‘Cats  97-72 in their 2nd try in Calgary.  UBC took a ‘modified line-up’ (minus Coach Hanson and ace forward, Conor Morgan, among others) to Costa Rica, and lost 3 straight to Texas -El Paso once and 2 to a strong Nevada-Reno Wolf Pack team.   Full details of these results are available on the fine  U-Sports Hoops web-site , which is so well edited by Martin Timmerman in Waterloo.

 

Keith Omoerah is off to play pro in Norway. Photo – Bisons Sports

Overtime –

  • One of a very strong group of graduates leaving the Manitoba Bisons is wing man, Keith Omoerah, who has signed a pro contract with Baerum in Norway.  Omoerah, Amarjit Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, Brett Jewell, and Jonathan Alexander take a lot of skill and experience away from the U of M roster.   More on Omoerah’s move to Europe in this Bisons Athletics release.

  •  Raptors Train at UVic … In what has become a tradition, the Toronto Raptors will hold training camp in British Columbia for the 4th straight year. UVic’s CARSA Gym will be the site from Sept. 26-29.  While practices will be closed to the public, fans will get a chance to see an   intra-squad game  on Thursday, Sept. 28. Tickets for this intra-squad game “ … were available online and in person at the CARSA membership services counter and were in incredibly high demand,” read the news release from Vikes Athletics as of last Friday.  Actually, the on-line and in- person ticket rush was over in less than 1/2 hour! Sell-out!  There are some standing room seats available closer to game time.

    Canadian Kyle Wiltjer will be one of the new faces in the Toronto line-up this season.

    This is a great tradition by the Raps, who have , in recent years, also had pre-season NBA games in various cities across Canada.  Unfortunately, Victoria will be the only Canadian venue this season.  Toronto has early October games in Honolulu, Portland, Toronto, and Chicago.  More Raptors info

 

 

Basi Latest to Go ‘Euro-Pro’

 

 

AJ Basi to Play Pro in Britain

Bisons’ grad, Amarjit Basi, will play in Newcastle, Britain.

The dream of a very young Amarjit Basi was to play basketball at a high level.  The 5th year graduated captain of the Manitoba Bisons has been moving on to a higher level since he was 9 and 10 years old.  After helping the Bisons, under Coach Kirby Schepp, to the 2017 U-Sport Nationals in Halifax, Basi, a slick ball-handler and deady outside shooter, recently signed with Newcastle in the British Div. 1 professional ranks.  (Story in the Winnipeg Free Press).

He joins many Canada West grads who are continuing their playing days with professional teams in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.  We wish AJ the best in Britain, and the same to UVic’s Grant Sitton (Slovakia), Calgary’s Thomas Cooper (Germany), and  Thompson River’s Josh Wolfram (Czech Republic).

 

New Canada West Campaign Prompts Logo Changes

The ‘New Canada West’ re-brand is yet another change  for what started as the Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and this is a whole League promotion to launch a new marketing effort.  The details of this new branding are itemized here at their new web-site.

As the League moves forward, so do several schools, with new logos for their teams.  On our  header you will see the up-dated looks for the Brandon Bobcats and the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.  We have also included the new logos for both the Mt. Royal Cougars and the UNBC Timberwolves in this story.

 

One of the most important things the League and it’s schools can do is to make a yearly effort to increase their appeal to potential fans.  University sports may deserve a bigger presence in mainline media than they currently receive, but it is encumbent upon the League and individual schools to become more active in capturing that market.

___________________________________________________________

NCAA vs U-Sports Scores   –

Hofstra (Div 1 – NY) 88 at McGill 76, Hofstra 99 at UQAM 87, Hofstra 110

at Bishops  51, Hofstra 85  at UQAM  62,   Siena (NY- Div 1) 79  at McGill 71

St. Francis (Brooklyn -Div 1)  75 at Concordia 66, Carleton 73  Siena  66,

McGill 80  St. Francis 67, Ottawa  80  Ramapo College (Div 3 – NJ)

_____________________________________________________________

 Overtime – 

 

  •  Lethbridge signs highly-rated Edmonton guard, Awak Piom, at 6-5 , (Harry Ainlay High School), he was instrumental in helping the Titans win  back-to-back provincial championships in 2014 and 2015  Details from U of L

 

  • Nice story in the Kenora Miner and News about the U. Winnipeg Women’s Team, on a team-building weekend reaching out to young players in Kenora , Ontario   These community connections are an important part of every Canada West program!

 

 

Win over Chinese Taipei for Canada

 

 

 Canada 98  Chinese Taipei  61

Canada dominates the home side in front of a big crowd in this ‘consolation -side match.  Kaza Kajami-Keane and Connor Wood , both Carleton Ravens vets, played strong games in leading Canada’s offense. Kaajami-Keane notched a game-high 25 points, adding 6 assists and 4 steals at the other end.  Wood tallied 15 points on hot (5/9) shooting from 3 point ranged, and passed for 9 assists.  UBC’s Jordan Jensen – Whyte scored 13 points, and all 11 Canadian players dressed hit the score-sheet and played  at least 12 minutes.

Canada’s defense harassed the Taipei ball-handlers as Calgary’s David Kapinga had 5 steals and Kajami-Keane had 4.  UBC’s Conor Morgan was rested again, with his ankle injury, while Manitoba’s Justus Alleyn, UNB’s Javon Masters, and UC’s Kapinga were in the mix after sitting in the Germany game.

The championship quarter-finals featured close , competitive games, with the U.S out-gunning Israel 111-107, Latvia edging Germany 78-76, Lithuania nipping Argentina 72-70, and Serbia getting by Finland 85-84.   Canada plays the Czech Republic on Monday, then has one last game on Tuesday as Basketball competition closes out.   Box Score 

____________________________________________________________

NCAA vs U-Sports Scores   –

Friday – Carleton 70 Northeastern U (Div 1-Boston)  66

Saturday – Northeastern  77 Bishops 61

__________________________________________________________

Overtime – 

New brands for several schools in Canada West, along with a re-vamp of the new look for the League itself.  Here’s Mt. Royal Cougars fresh , furry face –

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.

______________________________________________________________

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.

 

Wesmen Classic Changes Course

 

 

 

Wesmen Basketball Classic Now Once Every 4 Years

The University of Winnipeg has decided to ‘share the wealth’ when it comes to the historical (50 years old) Wesmen Classic.  Until now the Classic has been an Men’s and high school boys basketball extravaganza, but times are changing.

Dave Crook, UW Athletic Director, has been a key figure in the Wesmen Basketball Classic for many years.                   Photo – Winnipeg Free Press

Wesmen Athletic Director Dave Crook announced Tuesday that the annual Wesmen Classic will become ‘gender and sport – inclusive’, with the Holiday event  alternating between Men’s Volleyball 2017 December (University teams only), then Women’s basketball in December 2018 (university/high school), Women’s volleyball — December 2019 (university), and not until December 2020  for Men’s basketball  again— (university/high school/junior varsity).

“The Wesmen Classic has been one of the stars of the Wesmen program for 50 years, and it will hopefully continue for another 50 years with this exciting new format,” said Crook . “We think it is fantastic that we can share this great event among our four court sports, and give a wider group of fans the opportunity to be a part of this amazing event.”

Crook, a former Basketball Head Coach in Canada West himself, suggested that the changes would also help take the pressure off the Men’s basketball coaches to ‘fill the roster of teams’ every year.   “It’s a lot of work, there’s no question,” said  Crook. “As much as people think that people are knocking down our door to come and play this event, it’s been a lot of work.”

Men’s Basketball Coach, Mike Raimbault, indicated that he felt, ” … the Classic experience could be shared”  among the four programs. Raimbault also felt he may be able to play some more non-League games outside of Canada West.

____________________________________________________________

Overtime – 

  • The FISU Games get underway this coming weekend, and fans can sign up for live streaming on this FISU TV site   http://www.livefisu.tv     CBC Sports also  has coverage of many FISU events.  The one and only basketball game we see is Fri, Aug 25 – Canada vs Germany .  There are highlight packages each day, starting on August 19.   CBCsports.ca
  • Canada is one of 24 nations competing in this Men’s Basketball event as part of these FISU Games.  Team Canada plays in a 6 team opening round group along with Norway, Germany, Finland, Japan, and Hong Kong
  • Congrats to Canada West referee Ryley Kerrison, Calgary, who is participating in the 2017 FISU games in Taiwan . “What a tremendous honour and accomplishment for one of USports top officials”, says veteran referee John Weiland (retired).
  • Another Canada West official doing some significant international work is John’s son, Michael Weiland. He has been chosen to officiate at the wildly popular European Championships.   Michael will work the Istanbul, Turkey  group beginning August 31st.

 

 

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.

 

 

Bobcats Beat Bears in Heated Battle

 

Bears Hang Tough With MSU

Bears’ Mamadou Gueye led the scoring with 21 pts, but MSU prevails on Friday.

The Montana State Bobcats won their 2nd straight in Calgary, with a 78-69 edge over the Alberta Golden Bears Friday.  This spirited affair was sparked by some fine guard play for MSU , led by rookie Isaac Bonton (Portland, OR) with 16 points / 4 rebs / 4 assists.  Burly forward , Sam Neumann was 7/8 from the floor for 15 points/ 4 rebounds, as 9 Bobcats played 11 minutes or more, and all 11 hit the score sheet.

The Bears started with very chilly shooting hands, and trailed 37-25 at the half, with just 10/39 (25.5%) from the floor. The second half saw a big turnaround, with hoops off the break producing a healthy 57% FG mark, and Alberta close to within 6 in the 4th frame.  5th year wing, Mamadou Gueye, scored 21 points/ 12 rebounds, while Andre Kelly hit 17 pts, and Brody Clarke 14.  U of A were limited by a pedestrian 12/24 from the foul line, but played very well against a determined Bobcat squad.

9 of the 10 Bears who dressed were rewarded with double digit minutes of playing time.  Not available for this game were 5th year scorer, Geoff Pippus (injury), and import signee, Hugo Cluysen, a 19 year old Frenchman, who will not arrive in Canada until next week.

MSU play Calgary Dinos on Saturday at 3 pm, then their 2nd vs Alberta on Sunday at 1 pm.

Team Canada Right There With Purdue

In game 1 of their 2 game set vs the USA reps for the Aug 19-30 Universiade in Taipei, Canada dropped a 94-86 decision in Carmel, Indiana.  The Canadian team, made up of U-Sports stars, and coached by Kevin Hanson (UBC), Dan Vanhooren (Calgary), and Jacques Paiment Jr. (Laval), were withing 1 point late in the game, but Purdue shooters buried key shots down the stretch.

7-2 post man, Isaac Haas, scored 20 points to lead the Americans, while Conor Morgan  (UBC) and Kaza Kajami -Keane (Carleton) each notched 21 for Canada.  U-Sports Player of the Year, Connor Wood (Carleton),  and forward, Alexandre Leclerc (Laval) were not playing due to injury.  These 2 teams play again on Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette, IN and will travel to Taiwan on Sunday-Monday.   Box Score

 

 

 

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.   

 

 

New RPI Formula for Canada West

 

 

What Impact From RPI, Schedule Changes ?

Canada West recently announced the 2017-18 playing schedule, which still has 17 schools each playing a different slate of games.  This unequal 20 game set-up has schools playing a pair of contests with 4 ‘traditional rivals’ each year, but  they change 6 teams on alternate years.

So, for example,  Saskatchewan, who have Alberta, Calgary Regina, and Brandon as ‘rivals’  will reverse home and way with those schools this coming season;  the Huskies played Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, UBC, Lethbridge, Mt. Royal, and UNBC in 2016-17, but will meet the other 6 ‘non-rival’ schools … Manitoba, Thompson Rivers, Victoria, MacEwan, UBC-O, and Trinity Western in the 2017-18 schedule.

Conor Morgan and his T-Birds ‘mates will be gunning for another big winning year, and hoping for a higher seeding this time around.                    photo – UBC Athletics

Each school has different rivals, and a different slate of 6 ‘non-rivals’, and, in another twist of scheduling, each school determines if they will play any ‘home and home series’.  Example – Calgary has all three of Alberta, Mt. Royal, and Lethbridge home and away.  Saskatchewan,  Regina, TRU, UBC-O, and UNBC have none.  Other schools have 1 or 2 ‘home and homes’ with geographically close rivals.  All this leads to some differences in number of home and away games for some teams.

With all that, the League governors chose to continue using an adjusted RPI index to ‘even -up’ the standings between ‘unequally scheduled’ teams.  Last year, as fans might remember, this led to the juggling of final seeding spots for play-offs, putting 19-1 UBC in the 4th seed behind 16-4 Calgary #1, 14-6 Saskatchewan #2, and 14-6 Alberta #3.

The effect of these RPI results prompted schools to ask for a modification in those statistical manouvres.  Canada West now has a new RPI formula  –

The formula used in 2016-17 was as follows:

RPI = 25% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.2 away win + 0.8 home win, 50% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The new formula for 2017-18, with changes in bold, is as follows:

RPI = 35% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.1 away win + 0.9 home win, 40% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The League is hoping that this will bend the final standings a little less, and keep teams with a higher winning percentage in higher seeding spots.  We still, however, have the unequal schedule.  How unequal is it?

Alberta, defending Canada West champs, have Mamadou Gueye leading a solid corps of returnees. photo –                  Bears Athletics

Well, we have done a somewhat subjective analysis of each team’s schedule, and we’ve assigned points based on a) Last year’s finish, b) team losses from graduation or other (as announced) c) recruiting news as we’ve followed it.  We give UBC a 16, Calgary and Alberta both at 14, Lethbridge and Saskatchewan are 12, Manitoba, UVic, Winnipeg are 10, with Brandon, Regina and UFV 9. TRU is 7, MRU 6, MacEwan 6, UNBC 5, and TWU and UBC-O  are both at 4 in this ranking scale. Certainly subjective, but it can generate some ‘informed guesses’ for what lies ahead in the coming year.

Who has the ‘toughest’ schedule?  Who might have the ‘easiest’ … we add up the teams’ opponents’ ranking scores, and here’s what we have, with toughest at the top, and ‘easier’ at the bottom –

The Okanagan Heat, who were 2-18 last season, hardly need this rugged path … at UVic, UFV, UNBC (the only non-playoff squad from 2016-17), Calgary, Winnipeg.  Home to TRU, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and UBC !  Ouch!

Trinity Western were 3-17, but it’s all uphill with the likes of the Bears, UVic, UBC, Calgary, and Saskatchewan on their schedule as well.  They play just 2 non-play-off teams from last year.

Interestingly, UBC has what looks like one of the ‘lighter’ schedules once again.

If we look at Thompson Rivers, by contrast, we see the ‘Pack facing only Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, and Victoria from last year’s top seeds. The Orange play all 5 of last season’s non-playoff teams.  Fraser Valley gets 4 of those 5 who missed the 2016-17 playoffs.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Overtime – 

  •  The play-off schedule has changed for this coming season, with CW deciding to scrap the Final 4 Tournament in favour of a single game for the championship. The first round has the top four seeds with  byes, and the next eight playing single-elimination games (12 @ 5, 11 @ 6, 10 @ 7, and 9 @ 8) . Feb 8 -11.  Best of 3 quarter-finals  are   February 15-18, and the Semis (best-of-three) February 22-25.  The Canada West Final is March 2 or 3.  ( CW may play a 3rd place game, if it is necessary for wildcard chances at U-Sport Nationals (Halifax, March 8-11).

 

  • Alberta Golden Bears have reportedly added Montreal native, Nolan Woodward, a 6-4, 220 lb wing man, who will enter his 4th year after stops at NCAA Div 2 schools, Gannon University  (Pennsylvania), and American International U. (Massachusetts) .

 

  • Josh Wolfram, former TRU Wolf Pack Canada West all-star, moves from Sweden to the Czech Republic in signing a contract with Sluneta – Usti Nad Labem (USTI)  for his 2nd pro experience in Europe.  More details in this story from TRU Athletics.