Fear of the RPI

 

Manitoba is #1 Seed ?!     …     Blame the RPI

 

If the play-offs were decided today …

Of course, we can’t do this, with some teams having only 8 games completed, and some with 10, with many more left to play. What we do see are 3 teams which are separating themselves from ‘the masses’. Alberta, UBC, and Calgary are looking like the 3 likely top seeds come late February.  But wait !  If they are at the top of the standings after the 20 game schedule is in the books, are they the top 3 seeds for play-offs?

Not necessarily.  With this ‘imbalanced’ 17 team League, with big differences in schedules, it was decided that a ‘balancing effect’ was needed to seed the 12 play-off qualifiers on the basis of the quality of their opposition.  We present the RPI.  A measure combining each team’s winning % (1/4), the winning %s of their 10 opponents (1/2), and the winning %s of the opponents of those opponents (1/4).

We have the current RPI ratings ( provided by our  cis hoops  stats guru, Martin Timmerman.)  Open the above link, and you get a more complete look at the RPI rating system.    Today  we would get  1. Manitoba, 2.Alberta, 3. Calgary, 4.UBC  in the bye spots.  Then,     5. TRU, 6. Winnipeg, 7. Lethbridge, 8.Saskatchewan, 9. UNBC, 10. Mt. Royal, 11. Regina, and 12. Fraser Valley.

“The top 12 teams based on winning percentage will earn post-season berths, with playoff ranking based on each team’s Rating Percentage Index (RPI) from the regular season. RPI will be used in order to account for the various strengths of schedule.”  (So say the League ‘regs’) “The top four teams based on RPI will receive a bye in the first week of the playoffs.”

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Bisons tough schedule boosts their RPI

The startling ‘Manitoba Effect’, due to the winning records of their very strong opponents in the 1st semester, will largely balance itself off in the upcoming 2nd half.  But there will, undoubtedly, be some consternation when the RPI re-shuffles play-off positions. A ‘top 4 team’ losing out on a 1st round bye would be pleading injustice.

But this is what you get when you adopt an ‘All-17 team League’.  Schools had options to break into 2 Divisions, but voted for the 17 .  Ergo … the whimsical effect of the RPI.


 

Overtime –

nipissing

  • From the OUA, we note the rise of one of their newest school’s, Nipissing Lakers, whose weekend road sweep at Waterloo and Laurier brought them to 3-5 in league play.  Here is the story from canhoops.ca and ‘Junkie’, Mark Wacyck, Ottawa-based ‘super-blogger’.
  • Fraser Valley Coach Adam Friesen, after the Cascades’ road win Saturday at Brandon, “We’ve been struggling, and the guys, to their credit, have really worked, stuck together, kept grinding and figured out a way to have some success,” Friesen said. “I’m glad they were able to get a win heading into the Christmas break.”  From Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics.

Huskies in Regina for ‘Provincial Title’

 

 

Saskatchewan and Regina Rivalry Highlights  Friday Action

Regina's Alex Igual leads the Cougars against provincial rival Saskatchewan .

Regina’s Alex Igual leads the Cougars against provincial rival Saskatchewan .

 Saskatchewan at Regina – The two Canada West teams from ‘The Land of the Living Skies’  are both at 4-2 in League play to date.  The Huskies make the trip South for 2 games in the Cougars Den with the provincial ‘championship’ on the line. The Huskies’ dominating forward, Shane Osayande (20 ppg/ 12.3 rebs), leads the ‘Dogs, while guard, Alex Igual (15.3 ppg/ 46% from 3 point range) tops a quartet of back-court scorers for the Cougs.  Big   +11 to -1   rebounding edge to the Huskies, while the Cougars have shot the ball better –  44% to 40%  FG, 33%-30%  from 3 .  Our Call –  Saskatchewan defense and rebounding gets them a split on the road.  (Both Friday and Saturday games go at 8 pm local time)

Fraser Valley at Brandon – The Cascades (2-4) make the long trip to SE Manitoba with an urgent need to turn things around . The Bobcats  get a pair of home dates as they try to improve from a 2-6 tie for 13th spot.  Manny Dulay, a 5th year guard, leads UFV scoring at 15.3 ppg, but the team offense is not clicking so far (71 ppg) .  Brandon  suffers from the same malady at 69 ppg scored, and they’ve  allowed 79 ppg to Fraser Valley’s 73.  Our Call-  Home court should give the ‘Cats a lift, but UFV is bound to up their scoring. Toss-up.  (Friday at 8 pm, Sat. at 7pm)

Thompson Rivers at UNBC –  Who are the ‘Alpha-Wolves’?  Last season it was TRU, but UNBC (4-4) have won 4 straight as they finish off the 1st half at home. Neither team has been offensively impressive, with TRU fighting through the tougher early schedule, however.  The ‘Pack (3-5) have Volodymyr Iegorov and Luke Morris up front, while UNBC look to guards Rhys Elliot and Marcus MacKay.  Our Call-  The Orange to get at least a split.  (8 pm Friday – 7pm Saturday)

Tyus Allen and his Spartans host Lethbridge this weekend.

Tyus Allen and his Spartans host Lethbridge this weekend.   photo – Trinity Western Athletics

Lethbridge at Trinity Western – The Spartans (2-6) host the Pronghorns (4-4) in the on-campus Enarson Gym this week.  TWU has a better offensive flow this season, but their 88.5 ppg allowed defensively is the League’s worst.  Lethbridge can score, but they are hit and miss, with a tendency to turn it over  too often.  Guard play will be the key here … Dejon Burdeaux, Elliott Sentance, and Mike Pierzchala for the ‘Horns may have the edge over Tyus Allen, Pogos Trunyan and company.  Our Call-  Lethbridge with a chance at 2 wins, but Trinity more comfortable in their ‘home gym’.   (Friday and Saturday at 7 pm)

UBC-O  at UBC –   The younger cousins visit Point Grey, and this is easily the week’s biggest ‘mismatch’.  UBC (6-0) is a tough out for the anyone, but especially for the 1-7 Heat.  Defense first for Okanagan, and maybe Jordan Jensen-Whyte and his T’Birds ‘mates will have a final weekend let-down.  Our Call –  That is unlikely  … the Thunderbirds by a wide margin.  (8 pm Friday – 7pm Saturday)

 

Thursday games in Canada West – all at 8 pm local time on  Canada West TV )

Winnipeg at Manitoba ,  Calgary at Mt. Royal,  MacEwan at Alberta

Victoria Vikes have the bye this week.


 CIS Scores Wednesday –

In the OUA –  Windsor 86  at Toronto 84 ,  at #6  Ryerson 105  Western Ont. 76


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Carleton are on top as they and #3 Ottawa host #5 Brock and #7 McMaster in some intriguing OUA league games this weekend. UBC and Calgary are also steady at #2 and 3, as Canada West finishes pre-Christmas games.  #6 Ryerson hosts Windsor on Saturday.  #8 McGill are done RSEQ play until January.  Alberta gains just 1 spot at #9 despite an 8-0 record in Canada West, as they finish with a home and home series in Edmonton vs MacEwan. #10 Dalhousie drops 3 spots from 7th, after a loss to Saint Mary’s.

 

 

 

Regional Rivalries for Week 5

 

 

Traditional rivals make for heated skirmishes !

Years past - Henry and Ross Bekkering share a big win over Lethbridge.

Years past – Henry and Ross Bekkering share a big win over Lethbridge.

‘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

Dejon Burdeaux is a driving force for the Pronghorns.

Dejon Burdeaux is a driving force for the Pronghorns.  photo – U of L

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.

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Mt. Royal guard, Derek Wolf

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 –  

Bisons' Keith Omoerah drives against Alberta. Photo by Jeff Miller Bison Sports

Bisons’ Keith Omoerah drives against Alberta.            Photo by Jeff Miller Bison Sports

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.

Vikes Grant Sitton and 'Birds Will Ondrik

Vikes Grant Sitton and ‘Birds Will Ondrik

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 –         screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-3-13-47-pm


 

Overtime –

  • 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.

 

 

Wesmen, Pronghorns Highlight Week 3

 

Week 3 –  Pronghorns Go to Winnipeg, Two 3-1 Teams Tussle

Denzel Lynch-Blair and his Wesmen teammates host the Lethbridge Pronghorns this week.

William Sesay and his Wesmen teammates host the Lethbridge Pronghorns this week.    photo –    UW Athletics

Lethbridge (3-1) at Winnipeg Wesmen (3-1)  –  Here are two teams perched near the top, and a sweep for either would be a major coup.  The Wesmen are quick, aggressive on defense.  They are shooting the ball well (45% FG) and scoring more from 3 point range (10.3 per game) than in the past. The Ws also are +6 on their rebounding. Import guard Sean Tarver (15.8 ppg) has added offensive depth to the Winnipeg attack.  ’15-’16 all-star, Denzel Lynch Blair (15.5 ppg) has now expanded his game, and there are 5 more Wesmen who are contributing 8 ppg or more.

Lethbridge, like the Wesmen, are scoring just over 80 ppg, but not as much from outside.  They are also a +6 rebounding team, and the ‘Horns defense has been sharp at limiting the opponents 3 pt FG% (29%, which is 2nd in CW).  U of L have 4 scorers averaging double figures … Elliott Sentance with 18.8 ppg, Dejon Burdeaux at 17 ppg, Zac Overwater 14.8, and Mike Pierzchala 12.5.  Our call – In a tight match-up, UW has the home court.

Manitoba (2-2) at UBC (2-0)-  Manitoba won a 66-64 home court decision vs the ‘Birds last January, but that is the only time in 21 games dating back to 2001. This season the Thunderbirds are #2 ranked and unbeaten in CIS play, while Manitoba are 4-5 overall and 2-2 in Canada West play.

The Thunderbirds have scored 87 ppg and given up 63.5 ppg; their rebound margin is +19 per game! Manitoba has a strong veteran core, with a couple of key additions this season.  The problem has been that they are not consistently producing a winning team effort.   Our call – Two wins at home by UBC.

Thompson Rivers (1-3)  at Alberta (4-0)-  We were surprised to see the ‘new-look’ Wolves  steal one at Manitoba; now can they engineer another road upset in Edmonton?  Big Volodymyr Iegorov (18.5 ppg) has able assistance from 5 others in the ‘Pack, as Luke Morris, Derek Rhodes, Joe Davis, Jeff Tubbs and Mike Rouault are all 8 ppg+.  But mediocre shooting numbers and near 20 turnovers a game limit their offensive efficiency.

Mamadou Gueye leads the 4-0 vs this week at U of A.

Mamadou Gueye leads the 4-0 Bears vs TRU this week at U of A.

Alberta have Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke scoring and rebounding up front, plus import guard  Austin Waddoups and transfer Geoff Pippus both shooting 50% from 3 point range.  The Bears score near 87 ppg and allow only 64 ppg to their opponents, while TRU almost exactly reverses those numbers.   Our call –  The GBs in their own den, get the sweep over the ‘Pack.

Victoria (1-3) at MacEwan(1-3) –  Home court was only good for a 4-6 mark last year for the Griffs, but they look deeper this season at the point, with Adonis Monfort-Palomino, with a 10-11 man rotation, and the game-in, game-out efforts of Thadius Galvez and Denzel James. Mac needs to improve on a -5 rebound margin, and to tighten up on a defense allowing 85 ppg.

The Vikes were not sharp against Calgary last week, and they need to find their most effective combos.  Scott Kellum is a good looking rookie point man, and import, college transfer, Wayne Tucker J,r can score.  Now, do we see the typical gritty Vikes defensive effort, or do they continue to struggle ?  88 ppg against will give someone heartburn !   Our call- A split is the most logical.

Mt. Royal (1-1) at UBC-O (1-3) –  It’s very early to make this cliched pronouncement, but here goes, regardless;  neither of these teams can feel good about a split this coming weekend.  The Cougars have had a a glimmer of superior play this Fall, but this is a series where 2 games in the W column are needed.

Okanagan are even more ‘needy’ for a home sweep with a 1-3 mark.  The match-ups … Aldrich Berrios and Mitch Goodwin at guard for the Heat vs Derek Wolfe and Glen Yang for the Cougars.  Ryan Morck and David Manshrek of UBC-O with a big task facing Brett Layton and Josh Ross of MRU.   Our call-  Edge to the Cougars.

Brandon (2-2)  at Saskatchewan (2-2) –   The Huskies are coming off a tough loss to Winnipeg on Saturday, and have been leaning heavily on their versatile post man, Shane Osayande, who boasts a 22.5 ppg and 15 rebs  stat line. Alex Unruh, at the point, is 13 ppg/ 3 assists, but the shooting % for the rest of the ‘Dogs’ pales in comparison.  Sask. is last in Canada West in team FG%  at 38% and in 3 pt% at 27.4%. The talent is there.  It’s time for the Huskies to play to their strengths.

The Bobcats come in with 2-2 record, already ahead of last season !  Import guard Tyvon Cooper a proven scorer from the Jr. College ranks in the U.S. is at 19.8 ppg, but needs others to step up in the scoring column.  They allow 70 ppg … pretty good!  But score just 70 ppg, and shoot only inconsistently from the floor, and 59.8% from the line, last in CW.  This is a potentially winning defense, but they need more  shared scoring.  Our call – The Huskies should sweep at home.

The T'Wolves scoring ace, Rhys Elliot will look to get win #1 for UNBC this week.

The T’Wolves scoring ace, Rhys Elliot will look to get win #1 for UNBC this week.

Trinity Western (2-2)  at UNBC  (0-4) –  The Timberwolves at home, and they will be campaigning for a pair of wins to get their pack moving forward.  Trinity is showing signs of life, and they are not just going to roll over, however.  Rhys Elliot shoots 52% from the floor for the T’wolves, and is 19.3 ppg; he just needs Marcus MacKay, Vaggelis Loukas, and a few others to pull harder on the ropes !

The Spartans have Vartan Tanielien (14 ppg), Pogos Trunyan (13 ppg), and 3 others at or near double figures. TWU needs to shoot it better as a team, and defend the trey more consistently.  Our call-  This may be another split , we suspect. 

All 3 of Calgary, Fraser Valley, and Regina get a bye this week.


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Little Change in Top 10 –

It’s early, and some of the top teams haven’t played a League game, so not much to report.

We still have 5 OUA teams crowding the rankings, with just 2 from Canada West, 1 from Quebec, and 2 from the Atlantic.

Carleton and Ottawa join the rest of Ontario for a full slate this week. McMaster and Brock meet tonight in the only Top 10 match-up.

 


 

Overtime –

  • “I was telling these guys before the game, I’m proud of them because so far they’ve been the toughest group I’ve had,” said Brandon Coach Gil Cheung, following his team’s win over UBC-O last weekend. “I can get on them, I can coach them tough and sometimes it’s tough love. Sometimes the truth is harder to say than blowing smoke up their butt, but they’ve responded and everyone has a role. They value their role and that’s the biggest thing that everyone values each other in that room.”   From the Brandon Sun story by Nathan Liewicki         
  • “Decades have passed since CBC covered something as populist as basketball, though hundreds of thousands of Canadians play the game and 49 university teams battle on the hardcourt. And while an estimated 12 million Canadians are involved in amateur sports in some fashion (whether as participants, coaches, administrators or referees), according to the sports gurus at CBC, they’re all primarily interested in watching wealthy people leap fences while seated on a horse.”  From a story by Wayne Kondro for CIS Sport / U-Sport.

Bisons’ Bombs Beat Dinos

 

Justus Allen paces the Bisons to a big opening night win at Calgary.

Justus Allen paces the Bisons to a big opening night win at Calgary.

Bisons shooters are lights out from long range

   Manitoba 85    at Calgary  81 –   The Bisons hit 10/19 from 3 point range, with Justus Allen (25 pts … 4/4 from 3) and AJ Basi (21 pts … 6/10 from 3) doing most of the long range damage. Thomas Cooper’s 39 points were not enough, as Calgary could not match the clutch shooting from Manitoba,      Box Score

 

at Alberta  76   Brandon  64 – The Bears pull away (42-31) in the 2nd half at the Saville Centre, building on a 1 point lead at the break. In a game where neither Alberta (33%) or Brandon (32% could hit from the floor, Brody Clarke’s 35 points/ 14 rebounds stood out for the Bears. Tyvon Cooper’s25 points led for the ‘cats.   Box Score

 

Victoria  95  at Regina 77 –  The visiting Vikes are up 3 after 20 minutes, then score 49 in the 2nd half to cinch a convincing road win.  As he does, Grant Sitton was high for the UVIc with 23 points/ 5 rebs, while both Wayne Tucker Jr and Hassan Abdullahi counted 16. The Victoria edge in FG shooting spelled the difference at 51% – 39 % for the Cougars. Johneil Johnson scored 15 for Regina.   Box Score

at Winnipeg 74  UNBC  59  – The Wesmen controlled the action with a big 59-29 rebounding edge, and outshot the visiting ‘Wolves by a 42%-32% count.  Denzel Lynch -Blair counted 25 points/ 9 rebs/ 5 assists, while William Sesay claimed 14 boards and 5 assists for the Ws.  Marcus MacKay had a solid game for NBC, with 22 points/ 4 reb/ 2 steals.  Box Score

at Lethbridge 79  MacEwan  62 –  The ‘Horns started slowly and trailed 31-28 at the half, but came on with 51 points in the 2nd for a clear win. Elliot Sentance with 22 pts/ 6 boards, and Zac Overwater with 15 pts/ 4 rebs/ 4 asst in 20 mins were the Pronghorns offensive leaders.  Dejon Burdeaux led at the other end, with 7 steals/ 5 rebs/ 9 pts. Thadius Galvez scored 15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 6 assts for the visiting Griffins.    Box Score

UBC  96  at Thompson Rivers  60 – Early and often for the Thunderbirds, who shoot 54% from the floor, win on the boards 41-23, and force 26 Wolf Pack turnovers. 5 UBC players in double figures, led by 17 from 5th year wing, Will Ondrik, a TRU transfer.  3 T-Birds at 13 points, including Jordan Jensen-Whyte, rookie Isaiah Familia, and  2nd year guard Taylor Browne.  The ‘Pack had 16 points from Volodymyr Iegorov. Box Score

 at Fraser Valley  59   Saskatchewan 50  –  The Cascades defense choked off the Saskatchewan attack  in a low-scoring affair in Abbotsford.  Vijay Dhillon tallied  17 points including 4 treys , and Manny Dulay had 10 points. Navjot Bains was big at both ends, with8 pts/16 huge rebs. Shane Osayande had a nice double-double for the Huskies 18 pts / 13 rebs.  Box Score

at UBC- Okanagan 87   Trinity Western 71  – Down 2 at the half, the Heat are on fire in the final 20, scoring 59 points to grab the win.  Aldrich Berrios leads with 25 points / 7 assists, and hits 6/11 shots from outside the arc. His guard partner, Mitch Goodwin adds 18 pts / 6 rebs, and David Manshrek grabs 10 boards / 8 pts. Vartan Tanielien is high man for the Spartans with 17, and Thus Allen scores 14, adding3 assists and 5 steals.      Box Score

(* Due to excessive Dinos Alumni activity, the Editor has a limited write-up for this weekend’s opening round games.  This is a temporary condition …. )


Season Openers for 3 CIS Leagues

Canada West rolls out a full slate of games this Friday / Saturday, with 5 on the Prairies (at Winnipeg, Regina, Alberta, Calgary, Lethbridge) and 3 in B.C. ( at Thompson Rivers, UBC-Okanagan, Fraser Valley) .  The Atlantic teams start as well, with games in the 8-team AUS spread from Thursday – Sunday.

The OUA  has a limited number this weekend, while the Quebec League  won’t start their regular season schedule  until next week.  The Mt. Royal Cougars are on a bye week, with no dance partner in the 17 team Canada West for opening weekend.  There are 5 weekends of CW play prior to the exam / Christmas hiatus, and, depending on their by week, teams will have played either 8 or 10 games in the opening semester.


More CIS Scores –

Thursday –  AUS League play  … Saint Mary’s  86  at  Acadia  77

Friday –  Atlantic … St. FX 94  UPEI   93, Dalhousie 95 Cape Breton 60

Still some pre-season games elsewhere …   at Nipissing 83 Laval  67, and, behind closed doors in Philadelphia –  Carleton at Penn  (no score … secret)


 

Overtime –

  •   The Carleton Ravens have picked up on some of that hazy Ottawa political – security vibe !  For the past couple of weeks, as they finish the pre-season, the CIS champs are ‘rockin’ the CSIS vibe, with their ‘Close Scrimmages’ vs NCAA opponents.  National security ….
  •   “I am really looking forward to this season,” says 4th year forward,Luke Morris, of the TRU Wolf Pack.  “We have a lot of new faces who are just getting accustomed to University basketball. I am looking forward to having an increased role on this team.” Morris admits that as the longest serving member of the Wolf Pack organization right now, it is a little different. “It’s a little weird. I’m not the oldest (Iegorov is) but it’s amazing when you think how time has flown.”  Larry Read, TRU Sports Information
  • With his MRU Cougars on a bye, and Calgary basking in almost summer-like conditions this weekend, Coach Marc Dobell has a couple of tee-times at local links !  Good strategy !  There’s only so much game film a guy can review.  Fore !
  • Here is the pre-season CIS Top 10 from mid-week …

Team (regular season record) / votes (1st place votes) / (previous ranking)

1. Carleton (0-0) / 458 points (45) / (-)

2. Calgary (0-0) / 384 (1) / (-)

3. UBC (0-0) / 335 / (-)

4. McMaster (0-0) / 326 / (-)

5. Ottawa (0-0) / 254 / (-)

6. Dalhousie (0-0) / 207 / (-)

7. Brock (0-0) / 199 / (-)

8. McGill (0-0) / 113 / (-)

9. Saint Marys (0-0) / 73 / (-)

10. Ryerson (0-0) / 55 / (-)

Other teams receiving votes: Windsor (51), Saskatchewan (28)

 

CIS Announces Final 8 Draw

 

CIS Tournament Field is Finalized, and the Draw Announced

As is the case almost every season at this time, we get thrown a curve ball by the CIS UnknownWildcard / Seeding Committee.  This time around, in the heady stratosphere that is the OUA, we have their 3 teams ranked 1-2-3, including the at-large selection Ottawa, who get the #3 slot, despite losing 3 games since the Christmas Holidays .

Calgary, with 16 consecutive wins, and as the Canada West champions, who had been ranked #4 going into the play-offs, stay behind the OUA ‘super-powers’ !  The committee also have seen fit to place 3 League champions, Ryerson, Calgary and McGill on one side of the draw.

Nonetheless,  it takes 3 wins next week to capture the National Championship, so all we can say from a Canada West  perspective is Go Dinos !  Go Wolf Pack !  Go Thunderbirds!  We will cheer for these 3 teams to represent their teams, schools, and the League with great determination and pride. It will be exciting times with this event in Western Canada for the first time since 1982 in Victoria, when Ken Shields’ Vikes won their 3rd straight title, on their way to 7 in a row.

Seeding for the 2016 CIS Final 8 – National Championship Tournament, Vancouver

1. Ryerson Rams (OUA champions)- 17-2 regular season / 3-0 playoffs
2. Carleton Ravens (OUA finalists)- 16-3 regular season / 2-1 playoffs
3. Ottawa Gee-Gees (At-Large Berth)- 17-2 regular season / 2-1 playoffs
4. Calgary Dinos (Canada West champions)- 17-3 regular season / 4-0 playoffs
5. McGill Redmen (Quebec champions) – 12-4 regular season / 2-0 playoffs
6. Dalhousie Tigers (Atlantic champions) – 13-7 regular season / 2-0 playoffs
7. Thompson R. Wolf Pack (Canada West finalists)-  16-4 r. season / 3-2 playoffs
8. UBC Thunderbirds (Hosts)- 16-4 regular season / 3-1 playoffs

 How these teams got here –
Ryerson Rams –  Ranked #3 going into playoffs, the Rams beat Lakehead 93-71, then Windsor 96-77, and they won the Wilson Cup over Carleton by a 73-68 count.
Carleton Ravens – ranked #1 prior to play-offs, the Ravens, who have won the Nationals for last 5 years, beat Brock 90-52, then Ottawa by 82-74, and dropped the OUA final at Ryerson 73-68.
Ottawa Gee-Gees – were ranked #2 entering the play-offs, and beat Queen’s 73-72, then lost to Carleton 74-82, and won the 3rd place game 90-77 over Windsor . (Selected as the ‘wild-card’ team)
Calgary Dinos – the 4th ranked team before play-offs, Calgary defeated Alberta 2-0 in their best of 3 quarter-final (87-77, 89-76), then beat Manitoba 100-74, and Thompson Rivers 91-84 in the Canada West Final 4.
McGill Redmen – Finished 1st in the RSEQ regular season, then beat Laval 76-69, and UQAM 78-67 in the Quebec Championship Tournament.
Dalhousie Tigers – ranked #10 for the final few CIS rankings periods, the Tigers were the top Atlantic team entering the AUS Tournament.  They beat St. Mary’s 75-74, then won the Atlantic title 87-85 over UPEI.
Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack – un-ranked entering play-offs, the “Pack were as high as #9 in recent rankings periods. TRU took 3 games to beat Regina in the CW Q-finals (94-102, 90-85, 86-73), then beat UBC in the semi-final 72-69, and lost the CW final to Calgary  84-91.
UBC Thunderbirds – The #6 ranked team going into the play-offs, the ‘Birds swept Lethbridge in the Q-finals (81-57, 85-57), then lost the semi to TRU 69-72, and won the CW 3rd place game 101-72 over Manitoba.


 

Tournament Schedule – (Pacific daylight times)

Thursday, March 17 –
1 pm   Q-final 1 …  #2 Carleton vs  #7 Thompson Rivers 

3 pm  Q-final 2 …  # 3 Ottawa vs. # 6 Dalhousie 

6 pm   Q-final 3 … # 4 Calgary vs #  5 McGill    

8 pm   Q-final 4 …  # 1 Ryerson vs  # 8 UBC 

All games streamed live on   CIS TV Live !    

Friday, March 18 –

5 pm  Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

7 pm  Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Saturday, March 19 –

12 noon …  5th-place game (www.CIS-SIC.tv)  (Consolation champs)

3 pm  Semifinal 1 … Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

5:30 pm  Semifinal 2 … Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

Sunday, March 20 –

2 pm  Bronze medal, 3rd  place game  (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

5:30 pm  Gold medal – Championship Final (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *


 

Overtime –   

  • Just a few of the many fans seen in the stands at the Final 4 in Calgary
    Ken Olynyk, 'Leader of the 'Pack' !

    Ken Olynyk, ‘Leader of the ‘Pack’ ! photo – TRU Athletics

    Ken Olynyk, TRU Athletic Director, also known as ‘Kelly’s Dad’ … Former Dinos Coach Don Newton, with his personal bodyguards, Al Kettles, Skip Morgan, Clarence Amulung … Saskatoon (and now Calgary) super-fan, Spiro Leakos, former owner of the Commodore Cafe in Sask. … new UC Athletic Director, Christine Stapleton, an outstanding coach at Regina, and a great addition for the Dinos program … former Dinos A.D. Ron Wuotila with his family – ‘All Dinos’  … several gentlemen in UBC T-Birds scarves … many more TRU Wolf Pack fans with orange scarves … former Dinos parents Allen Wright, Kent and Barb Milburn, Darryl Fidler, Simon Bekkering … a huge contingent of Dinos alum, including former National team buddies Tom Bishop and Romel Raffin …  Eddie Richardson III , the President of Genesis Basketball, along with his family and friends … John Weiland, legendary local, National, and International referee, now chief evaluator / fan for son Michael, who worked the CW Final game … and the large, raucous,  ‘Jasdeep Gill Fan-Club’ , all of whom were on their feet and rejoicing each time their man merely touched the basketball !

  • The air-horn blowing UC student group, with the tacit approval of event organizers,  who provided a constant din designed to distract and annoy the opposing team must count their mission accomplished.  In our opinion, however, this goes beyond reasonable support for the home team.  It is unsportsmanlike, and should be discouraged by UC Athletics.  Hosting Canada West championship events comes with the responsibility of giving your guests ‘fair play’ and at least a tolerable environment.

Spartans – Bobcats After a Win

 

D.J. Jordan and his Brandon Bobcats will be looking for win # 1 at TWU this weekend.

D.J. Jordan and his Brandon Bobcats will be looking for win # 1 at TWU this weekend.

Spartans or Bobcats to ‘spoil perfect record’ –

Feature Series –  Brandon  at Trinity Western –  Heartlessly we refer to this as ‘The Battle of the Titans’;  two teams who are having very disappointing and frustrating seasons.  Don’t forget that you have very talented players on both teams, and they dedicate a great deal of time and effort to their sport.  Let’s hope the games are well-played and competitive !  Lucas Mannes, Vartan Tanielian, and TWU? Go Spartans !  Or will it be D.J Jordan, Earl Thompson Jr. and Brandon? Go Bobcats !

Alberta (7-6) at Lethbridge  (7-5) –  Two teams in the heat of the playoff battle, who would both love to sweep, but know the odds are on a split.  If the Bears get Sebastian Denault back on the court, their size / power may be a big factor, with Brody Clarke starting to put his stamp on every game. Alberta could use 1 more perimeter shooter to hit shots (couldn’t we all) against the zone defensive schemes of U of L.  The ‘Horns have been leaning heavily on their 2 mainstays, Brandon Brine and Rob Olsen;  they may need wider contributions, should either star have an off-night.

Can Jordan Charles and UVic knock off the UBC T-Birds in Victoria this weekend?

Can Jordan Charles and UVic knock off the UBC T-Birds in Victoria this weekend?    photo- AP Shutter.com

UBC (10-4) at Victoria (7-7) –  This, in past seasons would have been the ‘big show’, but for the rival Thunderbirds’ first visit to the new CARSA Centre, it lacks that drama, with the Vikes floundering in the middle stages of this season.  UBC comes with the ‘eye of the hunters’, as they chase the UC Dinos for top spot in the Pioneer, while UVic are fighting for their playoff lives.  The Vikes want to set themselves back on course, after dropping 7 of 10 games in the last 5 League weekend series’.  Which headline is more likely? “Conor Morgan comes home to lead the ‘Birds to victory”?  Or  “Vikes Rally, and Upset T-Bird Rivals” ?

Regina (8-4) at Manitoba (9-5) – Two top teams coming off big wins last Saturday (Regina at UBC, Manitoba at Lethbridge), and the home court is a reassuring sight for the Herd.  The Bisons have won 10 of the past 11 games against the Cougars, and both teams may as strong as they’ve been for at least the past 5 – 6 seasons. Keith Omoerah, A.J. Basi, Wyatt Anders, and Justus Alleyn have been stellar for UM, but Regina’s Tull brothers, Alex Igual, Aaron McGowan, and Travis Sylvestre will try to use their momentum to get at least a split.

Saskatchewan (4-8)  at Winnipeg (7-5) – With rumours of some discord in the Huskies camp surrounding rookie guard, Jacquin Bennett-Boire, Saskatchewan faces the Wesmen in Winnipeg. U of S may have their role reduced to ‘spoilers’, just as UW appears to be solidifying their game, and seeking a playoff berth.  Jelane Pryce, Denzel Lynch-Blair, and big rebounder, Ryan Oirbans have been coming on strong, as the Wesmen play the first of 6 straight home games. The ‘Dogs will look to big man, Shane Osayande, and guards, Evan Ostertag and Chan DeCiman to lead them back on the winning track.

Calgary is on a bye week in the Pioneer, and the entire 6-team Explorer Division are taking a mid-winter break.


Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 3.07.27 PMRyerson Rams- the New # 1

For the first time since November of 2012, a team other than Carleton or Ottawa is in the #1 slot of the Coaches Top 10 poll !  The Ryerson Rams, who beat both the Ravens and Gee-Gees last week in Toronto jumped ahead of their OUA rivals. McMaster jumps over Brock, while McGill loses 3 spots, with 2 losses, and Calgary climbs to # 6 with their 8th straight win.

> Note – the CIS Nationals wildcard spot will go to an OUA team – done!

CIS Scores –
Cape Breton  100  St. FX  86 – a sweep of the home and home series for the Capers, with this return match delayed by last week’s big storm.


 

 

Overtime –

  • MRU Coach , Marc Dobell, mirroring the thoughts of most Explorer
    MRU Coach Marc Dobell is happy to have time to rest his team.

    MRU Coach Marc Dobell is happy to have time to rest his team.

    teams getting this week off,  “It is good. We are banged up. We were playing without one player tonight (last Saturday at TRU). A fifth-year player (James Lefebvre, forward) who would have made a big difference for us. He is going to get a chance to recover along with another guy who played limited minutes tonight because he is sore. It is a good time for us to heal some of our nicks and wounds and start focusing in on the last three weekends.” From TRU Athletics – Larry Read.

  • Senior Nights honouring the ‘graduating’ 5th year players across the League are cropping as early as next weekend … Feb. 5/6/7, and through the last regular season games on Feb. 20.  Good reason to get to the gym and see the games live; if you’re alum, you can pay special attention to the young men who will be joining your elite group !

10 ‘X-Factor’ Players in Canada West

 

 

10  X-Factor Players to Watch This Week –

Saskatchewan's 2nd year forward, Mack Burns. photo - Huskies Athletics

Saskatchewan’s 2nd year forward, Mack Burns.                      photo – Huskies Athletics

The leading scorers and rebounders have their names bandied about each and every week, but it is very often left to some lesser known team members to step up at opportune times, and make the difference.  Games turn on things like ‘points off the bench’, or a timely hoop, or key defensive play from a substitute.  Who are the ‘X-factor’ players we might see make the plays that turn a game around ?

Randall Mosca, UBC-O

Randall Mosca, UBC-O

> Brett Jewell, Manitoba –  A  6-7, 4th year forward, who is starting to assert himself on the inside for the Herd.  Averaging 7 ppg/2.8 rebounds, his numbers will likely go up as his self-belief increases week by week.
> Mack Burns, Saskatchewan – The 6-6, 2nd year forward from  Regina is showing flashes of his older brother, Connor, who was a rugged rebounding forward at U. Regina, then U of S.  Mack shoots it well, at 47% FG, and averages 6 points and 6.4 rebounds a game.
> Chris Maughn, Lethbridge  –  Averaging 7.3 ppg and 4.4 rebs, he shoots 54% from the floor. The 6-9, 3rd year post, can provide a lift in the heavy traffic zones, where the Pronghorns aren’t as deep as they may wish.
> David Kapinga, Calgary –  This 5-11 guard, who played his Jr. High and started HS in  Calgary,  uses his quickness to put max pressure on opponents ball handlers. His acceleration gets him into the lane on offense, as he tallies 8 ppg/ 3 rebounds.
>  Patrick Simon, UBC – The 6-8, 240 lb , 2nd year from Port Coquitlam, scores 7.2 ppg plus 5 rebounds in just under 20 minutes a game.  He has a nose for the ball, and the size to bump effectively on the inside.
>  Reiner Theil, Victoria –  This veteran does the ‘blue-collar’ work so essential to a team’s success.  He uses his 6-5 muscle to grab 7.5 rebounds a game, and can score from outside with a smooth 3 point stroke. The 5th year captain is a defensive stopper, and has the experience to lead his team.

MRU Cougars' Glen Yang

MRU Cougars’ Glen Yang

> Glen Yang, Mt. Royal –  The 2nd year guard from Calgary has a steady, all-round game, with the potential to raise his scoring numbers. He scores 9.5 ppg/ 3.5 assists/ 2.5 rebounds, and has the quickness to be a good perimeter defender.
> Gerard Gore, Thompson Rivers – This  6-5 wing from Antigua is a veteran player who flies ‘under the radar’  as a forward on this team.  But his 4.5 rebounds, and 5.5 ppg, while shooting 50% from the floor give an indication of his ability to contribute at key times.
> Randall Mosca, Okanagan –  A straight-up ‘gunslinger’, the slender 5-11, Mosca, a Calgary product, may average 10.4 ppg, but may go for 25 when he is on a roll.  On a team which has some challenge scoring-wise on occasion , the 3rd year guard can be ‘instant offense’.
> Tyler Anderson, Brandon –  This rookie forward is ‘learning on the job’, and he has made great progress according to his Coach Gil Cheung. The 6-7 Langley, B.C. native,  shoots 52% FG, scores 5 ppg/3 rebounds in 14 minutes a game .


 6  Games on the Prairies this week –  Canada West League Schedule

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 7.19.07 AMFeature Match-up –  UBC  (8-2)  at Manitoba  (7-3) –  The Bisons get a chance to take on the Division leading T-Birds in Winnipeg in  a match-up of the League’s 2 highest scoring teams.   The Bisons big men look poised to do battle with a strong group of T-Birds’ forwards.  Anders-Alexander-Jewell-Omoerah  vs  Wagner-Morgan-Simon-Ondrik.  Heavy-weights!

 

 Lethbridge  (5-3)  at Saskatchewan  (3-7) – The Huskies are not comfortable with their current record, and they need to get wins to jump back into the pack.  This is a pivotal series for both teams, and may be one that would be too close to call.  The ‘Dogs and ‘Horns are 3-3 over their last 6 games, having split 3 series in a row.

Victoria  (6-4)   Alberta  (4-5) –  Two traditional contenders in Canada West, the Bears and the Vikes are in a mass of teams gathered in a big scrum from 5th to 9th place.  Vic won all 4 games between these two teams last year, in regular season then the 1st round of the playoffs.  This is another ‘pick-em’ affair, with home court a U of A advantage, and the GB’s post depth a challenge for the Vikes.

Lars Schleuter, Calgary Dinos sharp-shooting 2nd year wing man. photo - David Moll, UC Athletics

Lars Schleuter, Calgary Dinos sharp-shooting 2nd year wing man.                                                    photo – David Moll, UC Athletics

Calgary  (8-3)   Brandon (0-8) – The last 11 meetings between the Bobcats and the Dinos have Calgary with a slim 6-5 advantage.  This is a prototypical ‘trap series’, with the Dinos among the leaders, and Brandon having their struggles to date.  Every road game, every game, period, is a big one in Canada West.

Thompson Rivers  (8-2)  at  MacEwan (5-5) –  One of the ‘Pack’s 2 League losses was in Kamloops at the claws of the Griffins, and TRU will be looking for some retribution in Edmonton this week.  The Explorer leaders are coming of their other loss, last weekend in Kelowna to the other 3rd place team, UBC-O.  Mac on a 3 game win streak.

Mitch Goodwin, Okanagan's veteran guard.

Mitch Goodwin, Okanagan’s veteran guard.             photo –  Greystoke- for UBC-O Athletics

at Mt Royal (3-7)   UBC- Okanagan (5-5) –  Home floor for MRU, in a battle of hopefuls for the 3rd playoff spot;  the Heat swept the Cougars in their November League games in Kelowna.  The MRU post men can be a load, as UFV discovered last week, but UBC-O have some increased confidence led by Berrios and Goodwin.  Expect low scoring, defensive clashes .

In B.C. –  at Fraser Valley (6-4)  UNBC (3-7) – the lone series West of the Rockies this weekend, and the Cascades and T’Wolves split their November set in Prince George.  UFV hopes to have a longer bench with guys recovering from illness and injury.  The ‘Wolves have never won in Abbotsford, and need to break this 3 game slide.

>  Regina, Winnipeg, and Trinity Western all get a bye this week. <


 
Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 5.11.42 PMA Scramble in the OUA ?

With every passing week, it appears more likely that the weekly rankings will be one of the ways in which a 3rd Ontario team gets selected to the CIS Nationals.   The wildcard spot won’t put 4 Canada West teams in play, and neither Quebec nor the Atlantic have had enough juice in this coaches’ poll to get more than one representative.  Ergo ….

 


CIS Scores from Wednesday  –
Ontario –  McMaster 93 at Waterloo 66 , at Ryerson 104 York 69 , Brock 91 at Laurier 67


 

Overtime –

Coach Eric Magdanz, MacEwan Griffins

Coach Eric Magdanz, MacEwan Griffins

  • Coach Eric Magdanz, MacEwan Griffins,  whose team is tied for 3rd spot in the Explorer Division, “ We think we can hang-in there with some of the ‘strong teams’.  We’ve been a bit slow in coming together, with some roster changes this season, then a few injuries.  I really feel the Wesmen (Holiday) Tournament allowed us to gel as a team, and we had a good weekend at UNBC.  This League, both our Division and the Pioneer, are so tight, and you have to be ready every series”, says Magdanz.   (The Griffs beat Manitoba in the fall, beat Brandon at Christmas, and had close losses to both Acadia and Lethbridge.

Bears – Dinos, Wesmen – Cougars

Calgary's Matt Letkeman will be battling Alberta's Sebastien Denault in the post on Saturday. photo - David Moll

Calgary’s Matt Letkeman will be battling Alberta’s Sebastien Denault in the post on Saturday.                photo – David Moll, UC

North-South, Red-Green, Dinos or Bears ?

It’s the traditional ‘Battle of Alberta’  for our 2 oldest university programs, and these are some of the hardest fought games of the season, no matter the relative League standings.  In this year of overall balance in the upper and middle tiers of the Pioneer Division, neither team will be taking anything for granted in this single game on Saturday.  Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 2.19.58 PM

Calgary, at 5-3, and with the home court on Saturday (7 pm), has a deep team, with 10+ players in the rotation every game. The Dinos scoring, however, is dominated by 4th year import wing man, Thomas Cooper, who is the Canada West leader, at 27.5 ppg, as well as the 5th leading rebounder, at 8.8 rpg.  Their only other player averaging double digits is Lars Schleuter, the 6-7, 2nd year German import, and last season’s CW Rookie of the Year.  This is the 1st of 2 meetings in the home and home series, with the 2nd in Edmonton in late February..

Alberta has also been going pretty deep onto their bench, with 9 players over 10 mins/game, and 3 Bears are in double figures scoring – Mamadou Gueye, their 3rd year wing man from Montreal, is at 17 ppg, with import guard, Colby Jackson adding 11.4, and Sebastien Denault, the 2nd year post, also from Quebec, is scoring 10.4 ppg and the team leader in rebounds , with 8.4 rpg.

 

Brian Ofori, a UPEI transfer, is an aggressive forward for the Cougars.

Brian Ofori, a UPEI transfer, is an aggressive forward for the Cougars.  photo – U of S

Prairie Rivals, Regina and Winnipeg, Want to Finish Strong

Winnipeg Coach, Mike Raimbault, says, “Every game is a big game, isn’t it?”  Well, yes, but our premise is that, for the Wesmen and the Cougars, this December weekend series in Regina could be very big, if one of the teams manages to win both games!Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 2.20.16 PM

5 – 3 is one whole lot better to sit with over the break than 3 – 5, after all.  Winnipeg comes off a bye week, and Raimbault says he’s not sure if they’ll be ‘game sharp’ for Friday, but feels the break helped his Ws recover from a few small hurts. “We are really trying to improve as the season progresses”, says Raimbault.  “We are very inexperienced with many of our players, so they are learning as we go.”  The Ws have speed and quickness, and rely on a relentless defensive effort to give them an advantage.  The offensive leaders are 5th year wing, Jelane Pryce, who’s scoring is down to 12 ppg this season, with his best yet to come.  Denzel Lynch-Blair is at 15 ppg, plus 3 steals, and shooting 50% from the floor, while Jamar Farley scores 11 ppg.

Regina comes off a rough weekend in Edmonton, as they dropped 2 to the GBs, and will try and use home court and a big team rebounding edge to get back on track. Jonathan Tull is their ‘lead ‘Cat’ with 17 ppg / 6.5 rebs/ 3 steals, and they also have great depth on the perimeter with Brandon Tull (10.2 ppg), Alex Igual (10 ppg/3.5 asst/6 rebs), and UFV transfer Aaron McGowan a dandy ‘6th man’ with 10 ppg/2.5 asst.


Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 9.12.37 AM

TRU and Lethbridge Get Support in National Poll

With a few changes this week, the big news for Cnada West might well be the rise up to #10 for the 7-1 Thompson Rivers WolfPack and the Lethbridge Pronghorns (5-1) getting into the picture as well.

Calgary moves up 1 spot, as does UBC, and McMaster advances a couple of rungs, while Western remain in the Top 10 despite a 3-4 record.  Dalhousie is an also-ran, but we wonder why no other Atlantic team (UNB?) might not get any love?

Manitoba might feel snubbed, but it’s all about the March results for Canada West teams, in any case. CW will have 3 teams at Nationals in Vancouver, and no more, we surmise.


 

Overtime –

  • The only other CIS game this weekend is Laval playing at #3  McGill in Montreal on Friday night.  After this, everyone hunkers down for the exam period, and Christmas holidays, short as they may be.  There is tournament and exhibition action scheduled post-Christmas, with teams playing in Canada and the U.S.
  • The Calgary Dinos ‘6th Man Club’ (Alumni group) is hosting Saturday afternoon Dinos-Bears Alumni ‘fun games’, with the aim to ‘renew acquaintances’ from past years.  There are social events planned at that time, then again for the varsity game that night … Molson -Coors sponsor.

Southern Alberta Showdowns

Southern Alberta Teams Host League Leaders

thomas cooper5

Thomas Cooper and the UC Dinos are up against the 5-1 UBC Thunderbirds in Calgary on Friday/Saturday.            (photo – from UVic Athletics)

The UBC T-Birds and Victoria Vikes enter the weekend tied at the top of the Pioneer Division at 5-1, and they travel to Southern Alberta to play the Calgary Dinos (4-2) and the Lethbridge Pronghorns (3-1), who are looking to edge closer to that lofty perch.

UBC returns to the Prairies for a 2nd straight week, as they meet the Dinos in Calgary, after having earned 2 wins at Saskatchewan last week.  The Vikes, headed to Lethbridge, are East of the Rockies for the first time this season, after starting the season with 2 road wins at TWU, then 2 wins in their home opening series over Saskatchewan, and split on the Island vs Calgary last week.

Here ’s a quick preview of our Pioneer Division match-ups this week –

 

Thursday/Friday games – Saskatchewan Huskies (1-5) at Trinity Western Spartans   (0-6) –   The Huskies have to be in a foul mood, after 4 straight losses (UVic, UBC), and will see the 0-6 Spartans as ‘easier prey’.  But beware the road games in CW,;  plus Trinity will come together as the season progresses.  The Sparties have so many new faces, and a new coach, and they need time to jell. The Huskies have been close against some good teams, and TWU needs an exceptional effort to prevail here.

 UBC Thunderbirds (5-1) at  Calgary Dinos (4-2) –  UBC lost their home opener to Alberta, then shook it off, and have won 5 in a row since then.  Calgary have 2 losses in road games at Manitoba and Victoria, and Coach Dan Vanhooren believes his guys are ready to compete with the ‘Birds.  UBC is 5-2 vs Calgary in the past 5 seasons.  Both teams have size, and both have good guard play, and veteran leadership.  Go time !

 'Horns Senior guard, Rob Olsen

‘Horns Senior guard, Rob Olsen

Victoria Vikes (5-1) at Lethbridge Pronghorns (3-1) –  The Vikes fly to Calgary, bus to Lethbridge … not a favourite trip.  UVic will not underestimate the ‘Horns, who are the most veteran – laden team in Canada West. (‘Horns Nation Director, Dave Wells says, “There are NBA teams with younger starting line-ups !”)  However, despite the widely-perceived U of L home court advantage, we must consider the Vikes’ 5 year domination of this series … 8-0 in that stretch.

Regina Cougars (3-1) at  Alberta Golden Bears (2-4)  –  So, you’re Regina, wanting to be ‘in the conversation’ in the Pioneer?  This is where you make a difference … beat the struggling GBs in their own den !   But the Cougars have won just 2 of 10 over the past 5 years, and Alberta has been tough to beat in the Saville Centre.  On paper, the Regina guards have an edge on the Bears back-court, and Alberta may be tougher up front. Now, on the hardwood ….

Manitoba Bisons  (4-2) at Brandon Bobcats (0-4) –  Manitoba might be excused for having a bit of a let-down, after having had a tough  but successful 3 weeks against higher-ranked opponents than the lowly Bobcats.  Brandon is aching for a win (or two), but the ‘Cats have dropped 6 straight to the Herd in the last 2 seasons, and the Bisons may have built some new confidence with their largely home-based talent.

Winnipeg Wesmen (3-3) get this week’s bye … enjoy the Grey Cup !


 

Explorer Division –

“Let’s Get Ready to R-u-u-m-m-b-l-l-e  !”  – Cascades vs ‘Pack !

Volodymyr Iegorov gives the 'Pack more punch, as TRU hosts Fraser Valley this week.

Volodymyr Iegorov gives the ‘Pack more punch, as TRU hosts Fraser Valley this week. photo – Kamloops This Week

 

Fraser Valley Cascades  (5-1) at Thompson R. WolfPack (5-1) – Two teams who could compete in any League in the CIS, and definitely the heavyweights in this grouping of ‘younger Canada West programs’. The WolfPack are at home, and have their ‘Big 3’  (Wolfram, Pribilsky, Iegorov) pacing a potent attack, but the Trees will be ready to engage, with an experienced group, used to, as Coach Adam Friesen suggests, “Find ways to get the job done ….”  Battle Royal !  Hard to see one team winning both nights.

UBC-Okanagan Heat (3-3)  at  MacEwan Griffins (2-4) –   The party must be over in Kelowna by now, surely?  The Heat are 3 straight, but will be cautioned by Coach Guarasci to get ready for a tough Griffins team, who beat TRU in Kamloops last Saturday.  Into chilly Alberta … the Heat guards can play, but will the Mac forwards be too much to handle.  Good match-up here !

UNBC Timberwolves (2-4)  Mt. Royal Cougars  (1-5)  –  Neither of these teams can afford to ‘mark time’ this week.  The ‘Wolves beat UFV last Friday, and have found some team chemistry.  The Cougars are playing like the young team they are, and want to put the pieces together in these last games of the semester  vs a T-Wolves squad that features exceptional veteran guard play, with Billy Cheng and Rhys Elliot.


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Overtime –

  • The thanks of many close CIS followers go out to Dale Stevens, from Ontario, who ran a ‘CIS chat group ‘ on-line for over 20 years.  Subscribers had a chance to hear from many people who were very close to the game, from way out there in the Atlantic to Vancouver Island.  Great job Dale !
  • Brian Ofori, a 3rd year transfer from UPEI, is helping the Regina Cougars play their way into contention in the Pioneer Division of Canada West … More details in this Regina Leader-Post article by Ian Hamilton.