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.