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