5 Tournaments Highlight Hoops Week

 

 

This Week in U-Sports Hoops Action

We see more inter-League play this week, with 5 tournaments  – at Saskatchewan, Waterloo, Queens, Carleton, and UPEI 

  •  Big Games to Watch –
  • UBC  vs Western at Saskatoon
  • Laval and Acadia challenge Carleton in Ottawa
  • Ottawa Gee-Gees look like the big horses at the Naismith in Waterloo ; can Regina, Laurier keep it close with UO?
  • Concordia, Lethbridge, and Dalhousie all have high expectations, so the Tindall at Queens bears some attention.

We’ll get a look at rival Canada West squads when Victoria plays a pair at Fraser Valley.  Both teams look to be ‘re-tooling’ for this campaign.

 

Tuesday, Oct 10  – at York 75 Franklin and Marshall (Div 3)  70 , Marietta Coll (Ohio, Div 3)  89  at Windsor  76

Thursday, Oct 12 – * Saskatchewan’s Graham Const. Tourney – 3 days … Huskies  vs Mt. Royal ,  UBC vs Western Ont.

  • Naismith Tournament – at Waterloo … Ottawa vs Regina,  Laurier vs UQAM, Waterloo vs MacEwan
  • also …  at McMaster   Saint Marys ,  at Brock  Redeemer Coll.

Friday Oct 13 –  *House-Laughton Tournament at Carleton … Acadia vs Bishops, Carleton vs Laval

  • Micky Place Tourn. (at UPEI) … UPEI vs Cape Breton , Maine- Ft. Kent vs Mt. Allison
  • Queens – Tindall Invitational.  … Concordia vs Lethbridge ,  Queens vs Dalhousie
  • In Saskatoon –   Saskatchewan  vs UBC ,  Western  vs Mt. Royal
  • in Waterloo – Ottawa vs MacEwan , Regina vs Laurier,  Waterloo vs UQAM
  • Also –  Victoria at Fraser Valley  , Camosun Coll. at Trinity W,  UNB at Guelph,  Algoma  at Lakehead

We will get Sat / Sunday games later ….

 

Vikes Set to Run With Local Flavour

 

Bet on UVic Back in the Play-off Hunt

In  Coach Craig Beaucamp’s 14 seasons, in only the last 2 have there been losing records.  He has been Canada West’s Coach of the Year 5 times, and his overall conference record stands at 220-99 .

Jordan Charles’ return should give Vikes more scoring punch. Photo – Vikes Athletics

He explains his ‘new plan’ for the Vikes, based on recent experiences … “We have decided to go with local kids, as much as we can. We think we have good buy-in from the talented players in our area,  or on the Island.  “A look at the roster counts 9 from Victoria or ‘up- Island’, with another 4 from the B.C. Lower Mainland.  “We have a better chance to get to know these kids, and they can be on campus for most of the year.”

Scott Kellum is a top young import lead guard for the Vikes.

One Island star who returns this year after an injury absence is Jordan Charles, a 6-4 , 4th year wing man, who gives the Vikes a great scoring option and a strong defender.

Scott Kellum (Issaquah, WA) was the Canada West Rookie of the Year in ’16-’17, and will be the UVic floor leader. Two returnee 4th year bigs are Justin Kinnear (Montreal), a rugged 6-6 post man, and Jake Newman (Surrey, BC), another strong rebounding 6-6 forward.  Hayden Lejeune (Chilliwack) is a 6-8 forward, and should be ready to shoulder more of the load.

Early looks suggest new recruit, Mason Loewen (Victoria), a 6-3 shooter, can revitalize the Victoria offense. He played Div 2 NCAA in the U.S., but returned for his last 2 seasons to play for his home school. Jaamel Slack  is a 4th year,  6-2 guard, also a Victoria high school product, who returns from Medicine Hat College (AB).

One compelling story is that of Eric Hegadoren, a 6-11 rookie from Victoria, who is a good athlete, but is really just learning the hoops game. After playing Division 2 NCAA college baseball for the past 2 years, Hegadoren has decided to use his size on the court.  More in this story from CHEK News in Victoria. 

The odds might well be leaning to a return to the win column on a more regular basis for this traditionally powerful Vikes basketball program.  Coach Beaucamp suggests he has the patience to build a team to challenge for a championship again, and we would be foolish to doubt his ability to ccomplish just that.

______________________________________________________________

Sunday  results  –   Victoria  94  Waterloo  86  – (played at UBC)  a 54 point 2nd half propels the Vikes to their 2nd win on the weekend. Again, it’s newcomer, Mason Loewen, with 26 pts to pace UVic, with Jake Newman adding 18. The Vikes take advantage of 30/33 free throws to 15/18 for the Warriors.  …  at Brandon 97  Algoma  84 – The Bobcats have 5 in double figures , with Tyvon Cooper scoring 23, Pookie Sanders 17, and Jonathan Range 15.

The Cape Breton Fall Classic  … Capers  SAIT – (cancelled due to a ‘wet floor’ ??!!  and    UPEI 88  St. FX 80 

 

Concordia’s Tournament finishes with 2 games at “The Beehive’ … Stingers 85  York 80  Dalhousie  98   Regina  85 – the Tigers win the 4 team tournament. Sven Stammberger scores 31 for Dal, while Regina has 5 in double figures, led by Samuel Hillis’ 18.  23 turnovers hurt the Cougars.

 

Overtime –

Coach Mike Raimbault welcomes rookie guard, Don Dayrit (Sister HS) Winnipeg.

We dig out the box score for Saturday’s  Winnipeg – Algoma  tilt, and note the 24 points/ 5 rebs, 3 asst, 3 steals by rookie, Don Dayrit, the Manitoba high school player of the year in 2017.  Billy Yaworsky continues to shine with 15 pts and 9 rebounds in the 90-69 Wesmen win.

Wide Margins on a Saturday Night

 

 

No mercy in a big handful of high scoring blow-outs from coast to coast on Saturday , as several tournaments wrap up ….

 

at the Calgary Cup  …  Calgary 92   McMaster  68* –  the Dinos waltz to an easy win, their 3rd straight,  with 9 of 11 dressed logging 20+ minutes. Mambi Diawara leads with 16 pts/ 9 rebs, and rookie Mason Foreman has 15 pts.  For Mac it’s the very slick Kareem Collins with 30 pts.  …  Acadia  95   McGill  83 – The Redmen defense is unusually porous, as the Axemen stage a big 2nd half come-back, draining 11/14  from 3 (78%) . Nick DiPalma is perfect from the floor for 20 points for AU.

at UBC … T-Birds 105  Waterloo 73 – The ‘Birds get 21 pts/ 12 boards from Conor Morgan, and 20 from Anthony McNish   …  Alberta 111  Bishops 84 – An offensive feeding frenzy, as the Bears light it up with 57% from the floor,  including 53% from 3. Mamadou Gueye with 23 and Brody Clarke 20 pace the GBs.  Joany Castor Thadal hits 5/9 from outside for 17 to lead Bishops.

in Winnipeg Wesmen 90   Algoma 69  no box score …  Laurentian 87  Manitoba 80 – The VGs extend their win streak behind 24 points from Kadre Gray, while Justus Alleyn counters with 27 for the Herd.

in Montreal Dalhousie  72   Concordia 70 –   The Tigers are tough in this road win against a solid Concordia team.  Big 4th quarter for a comeback W.  Sven Stammberger has 15 pts/ 7 boards for Dal, while Ken Beaulieu hits  a game-high 17 for the Stingers. … Regina 101 York 42 – The Cougars maul the Lions.  40-10 in the final stanza?  5 Reginas in double figures led by 19 from tsf forward Shaquille Harris with 19 pts/ 12 rebs. , while Shawn Lathan chalks up a 16 pt/ 16 reb double.  York shoot a measly 21% FG.

at Cape BretonCapers 90  UPEI 78 – Break up the Capers!  A much-anticipated win for the Orange, as Indiana Rotondo goes 5/11 from 3 to pace the winners …   St. FX 114    SAIT 106 –  SAIT has Levi Taylor with 30 and John Smith  with 29,   and they lose!   Kevin Bercy leads X with 24 as they shoot 59.7% from the floor .

Also … at Ryerson 116  Saskatchewan  43  – no box score, no prisoners … , Lethbridge 87  Medicine Hat  67 …   Trinity Western 73  UBC-O  70 –   8 treys for TWU vs  2 by the Heat.  25/27 from the line from  Trinity , and game!  Vartan Tanielian with 24 its for the Spartans.    UNBC 92  NAIT 66 – quite the turnaround for the T-Wolves!    …    because  Late Friday  – NAIT 70  UNBC 62

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

Bisons Hit Re-start

 

 

Graduations Leave Manitoba With Young Roster

“We are really young,” exclaims Kirby Schepp, the lead Bison in the Herd.  This is indeed a group of fresh new faces for Manitoba, after seeing the graduation of starters, Keith Omoerah, A.J. Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, and Brett Jewell, along with strong forward Jonathan Alexander.

Justus Alleyn, Bison’s CW All-star guard.       Photo – Bisons Athletics

The Brown and Gold return Justus Alleyn, a 6-3 guard who led team scoring at 17.4 ppg, and hit 43% from beyond the arc.  But a practice injury has taken veteran forward, Malik Irwin, out for the season, and other troubles have kept several players out of the early season roster.  Can you say, ‘overhaul’?

New challenges for Coach Schepp to be sure, but he is nothing if not enthusiastic. “I’m excited about our freshmen, and couple of red-shirts who can step in now and get in the roatation,”  says the 9 year head coach.

‘We certainly have a fast developing forward in James Wagner,” ( 6-7, 2nd year, Winnipeg), says Schepp, “ but 6-7 red-shirt forward, Cameron O’Hara, is also a  big body inside, and he’s going to help us defensively.”  He also mentions Wyatt Tait, a 6-6 rookie from Winnipeg, and 6-1 Rikki Zimbakov, another local product.  These 2 were rated 1 and 2 in the group of graduating high school players in the province.

The Bisons added Rashawn Browne (Toronto), a point man entering his 3rd year, after playing at both New Mexico State and California U. (Pittsburgh). Browne is expected to be the floor leader on the U of M offense.

Bisons last season 12-8   … Finalists in Canada West … Prognosis –  Tough to match that with so many new recruits –  may have to scramble for a play-off spot.

 

Back to Canada for Bisons new lead guard

U of M transfer, Rashawn Browne, in action at New Mexico State

In high school, Rashawn Browne played at Eastern Commerce in Toronto, then in the GTA Prep League while at Bill Crothers Sr. Secondary in Markham. In a tournament in the U.S. with his club team, he played well against a strong AAU team which included future NBA star, Jamil Okafor,  and  Rashawn was approached by New Mexico State. ‘I red-shirted there, then with injuries and coaching changes I moved on to Pennsylvania, “ says Browne.  Pointing out that he is not a ‘basketball gypsy’, the 3.5 GPA student says, “I was just not happy with the way things were run in the U.S.  It was more like a business, with the coaches trying to protect their jobs. Here at Manitoba, the other players are very friendly; we support each other, and Coach Schepp and his staff are interested in our doing well in our classes as well as on the court.  It’s just more fun here.”

The ‘pass-first’ point man suggests he is happy to have Justus Alleyn to pass to, and happy to have James Wagner as a skilled forward.  ‘I’m excited to be part of this program, and to be playing with this group of guys”. Coach Schepp says, “Rashawn is a solid floor leader; he’s the real deal!  He shows a very high basketball IQ, and he’s also got a calm demeanour when the action heats up.  He’s a quality young man, and we think he will be a great addition to our team.”

Pursuing a Business degree and looking forward to wearing the Bisons colours in his first game next week in a home tournament,  Rashawn starts a very new chapter in his young life.  This may well be the classic case of opportunity meeting solid preparation, and the Herd looks to have a most capable new on-court leader.

______________________________________________________________

UVic hosts the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament this weekend.

Canada West Pre-season picks up this coming weekend

Teams are ‘breaking the huddle’ and taking to the court against someone other than their own teammates this week.  We build towards the Annual Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament at Victoria, where Coach Craig Beaucamp and the Vikes will host the defending champions of everything, the Carleton Ravens, along with the Guelph Gryphons, and the Concordia Stingers.

The Okanagan Heat make a trip East to  play OUA teams, and Winnipeg have their annual ‘holiday trek’ to Thunder Bay to play a pair with the ‘Wolves. Coach Todd Jordan and his  UNBC T’Wolves make a 3 game swing through S. Alberta.

the schedule –

Thursday, Sept. 28 – UBC-O at McMaster

Briercrest College at Saskatchewan,    Winnipeg at Lakehead

Friday, 29th    – at UVic … Carleton – Concordia, Vikes vs Guelph

Winnipeg at Lakehead,   UBC-O at Toronto,    UNBC at Mt. Royal

Saturday, 30th     – Carleton – Victoria, Guelph-Concordia (at UVic)

UBC-O at Western Ontario,   Seattle Mountaineers at Trinity Western

UNBC at Mt. Royal

Sunday Oct 1  – Victoria vs Concordia, Guelph vs Carleton (UVic)

UNBC at Lethbridge

___________________________________________________________

Overtime –

Canada West weekend results –   Seattle Mountaineers 77  Fraser Valley 74          UBC-O  94  Vancouver Island U.  88

OUA –  York 107 Centennial Coll. 61, York 80  G. Brown Coll. 64, St. Clair Coll. 85  Western Ont. 73

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

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.   

 

 

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

 ____________________________________________________________________________

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.

 

 

 

Saskatchewan and Regina Previews

 

Saskatchewan Huskies, Coach Barry Rawlyk, 6th year

Huskies big man, Matt Forbes

Huskies big man, Matt Forbes

The Huskies, without big men, Matt Forbes and Shane Osayande, have  won 4 of 5 CIS pre-season games to date, including a win over all 3 of UVic, Carleton, and Fraser Valley at the Vikes Tournament.  That suggests to us that, despite some key player losses, U of S will again be one of the top contenders in Canada West.

 Evan Ostertag may be the CW 6th Man of this sesaon, with his scoring touch heading for a 15 ppg+ level, and added experience gives Trevor Severinski a brighter green light to launch his outside shot.  Forbes, when healthy, is a beast inside, and Osayande shows the potential to give  a big assist as a strong defender and a tough rebounder.

Yes, Coach Barry Rawlyk landed yet another San Diego-area recruit in wing man Shawn Lathan, but perhaps more tellingly, he snatched the impressive point man, Jauquin Bennett-Boire, away from B.C., and coaxed the lightening -quick Chan DeCiman up from Regina. These are 2 great rookie additions, and Devin Wittow out of Alberta also looks sharp.

The ‘Dogs host their Graham Construction – Huskie Invitational this coming weekend, with Regina, Windsor,  and Concordia providing an intriguing mix of teams. Rawlyk has a .75% winning record in Canada West and CIS competition, and he may guide the Huskies into another playoff run this time around.

Returnees-

Alex Unruh           G      5-10,  3rd year,  Saskatoon

Evan Ostertag      G       6-1,    5th,     Saskatoon

Jonathan Karwacki  G    6-0,    3rd,      Saskatoon

Joseph Barker          F     6-7,    2nd,     Saskatoon

Matthew Forbes        F     6-6,     5th,     Regina Beach

Shane Osayande       F     6-6,     3rd,     Toronto

Trevor Severinski        F     6-6,     4th,      Pitt Meadows, BC

Mack Burns                F    6-6,       3rd,      Regina

New Faces – 

Devin Wittow             F     6-6,      1st,       Leduc, AB

Chan DeCiman          G    6-2,       1st,      Regina

Shawn Lathan             W   6-4,        2nd,     San Diego, CA (tsf S’Western Jr. Coll. )

Davis Humbert            G     6-2,        1st,      Saskatoon

Jauquin Bennett-Boire  G   6-2,        1st,       Abbotsford, BC

Reid Thuringer             G    6-2,         1st,     Warman, SK

 

Regina Cougars – Coach Steve Burrows, 3rd year

Regina copy

There are rumblings around the West that imply the Cougars may be more vicious predators in the 2015-16 campaign. Coach Burrows is typically reluctant to predict great things … “We are trying to build a winning culture and attitude … one day at a time.”  Well Coach, it should be easier with a healthy Alex Igual, the flashy import guard, and a solid returnee group led by the high-octane brothers Brandon and Jonathan Tull, shooter Travis Sylvestre, and big men Jeremy Zver and Will Tallman.

 Brandon Tull will be a leader for U of R

Brandon Tull will be a leader for U of R

Coach Burrows said, “Both Stephen Shields and Gurkirat Kular have the skills to give us a little more useful depth.  But we won’t get Ndiaye until after Christmas … he is finishing his degree in Tennessee.”

Regina has the size, the experience, and, maybe now with Igual, the offensive consistency to take a determined run at the post-season.

This group was not that far away last year, and, as the Coach points out, “We’ve added a few more pieces to help us win the games that may have slipped through our hands in past years.” An early indication will be how they fare against some pretty good teams at the U of S Tournament this weekend. The ‘Green Cougars’ also travel to Nova Scotia in  a couple of weeks to play in the Cape Breton U. Classic.

Returnees –

Travis Sylvestre  6-4   F,       4th,    Regina

Will Tallman       6-8     F,      5th,    Regina

Brandon Tull     6-4    G,     3rd,    Ajax, ON

Jonathan Tull    6-4     G      5th,    Ajax

Matt Augustine 6-0     G      5th,    Toronto  (* injured)

Alex Igual          6-4       G,    4th      Barcelona, Spain

Jeremy Zver      6-5        F,     5th     Regina

Brian Ofori         6-5        F,     3th,    Montreal

Mike Malecha      6-2       G,    3th,   Regina

Zach Mihalicz      6-8        P,     2th     Parker, Colorado

Brandon Buttazoni 6-0     G,    3th,     Regina

Additions: 

Stephen Shields     6-7      P,     4th,    Brandon, MB  ( tsf Brandon )

Kolton Bellamy       6-6      F,     1st,     Regina

Rawane Ndiaye       6-10    P,     2nd,   Bronx, NY (tsf Tennessee )

Gurkirat Kular           6-4      G,    1st,    Surrey, BC ( tsf Simon Fraser )

Sam Hillis                  6-3       G,    1st,     Regina

 

Overtime –

  • The Doug Mitchell Sports Centre at UBC has a new basketball court, in preparation for the 2016 CIS Final 8 Tournament. Story in The Ubyssey. The floor was ‘christened’ on Oct. 2 as UBC hosted their Fall Invitational Tournament.
  • Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson (Dinos) and Jordan Baker (G. Bears) are both starting for Galitos-Tiey in the Portuguese Pro League.  We are having no luck getting a translated page, but will keep trying.
  • Howard Kelsey, Canada Basketball, encourages a look at the new National Team Alumni website –   http://www.nbtaa.com
  •  Scores from last week –  Calgary 93 Saskatchewan 81,  Brock 103 Brandon 86, Sask. 69 Mt. Royal 62, Calgary 76 Alberta 64, Brock 81 Winnipeg 52, MacEwan 65 Manitoba 64, Mt. Royal 53 Alberta 50,  UFV 90 Trinity W. 81, Winnipeg 75 MacEwan 66, Brock 79 Manitoba 75, UFV 77  TWU 68, Brandon 114 MacEwan 107.
  • Saskatchewan vs Concordia, and Regina takes on Windsor to tip off the Graham Construction Tournament in Saskatoon on Thursday.  The Stingers won 3 straight at their own Dore Tournament last week, and Windsor may be a Top 10 team again this year in CIS.