4 Strong Favourites – Canada West Final 8

 

Dinos, Huskies, Bears, and Thunderbirds are odds-on favourites

We look at these match-ups, and we definitely see 4 clear favourites in these quarter-final series, which tip-off Thursday night in Calgary, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Vancouver. If the series’ go as predicted, we will be re-convening in Calgary on March 3 -4 with our 4 top seeds in the Championship Tournament –   Calgary vs UBC, and Saskatchewan against Alberta.

But first … let’s take a look at this weekend’s draw.  We’re pretty sure Thompson Rivers, Winnipeg, Lethbridge, and Manitoba would like to prove us wrong by upsetting one of the home clubs!

 

5th Year TRU all-star, Volodymyr Iegorov.

Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  at Calgary Dinos –  Calgary has home court, and, with some fortuitous circumstances, the #1 seed.  The Dinos are deep, while TRU are relatively ‘shallow’, and, quite likely, a bit ‘road -weary’ .

This could, however,  get very interesting, if we consider TRU’s 95 ppg average last week vs Brandon, which indicates a willingness to open it up, offensively.  The Dinos will be only too willing to oblige that possibility.   Keys –  TRU – Control the pace.  Stop the Dinos’ Thomas Cooper.  Play their season’s best team defense.  Get good team shooting, and ball control.  Calgary Play their fast pace, and help that along by turning the Wolf Pack over.  Throw multiple defenders at Volodymyr Iegorov.  Limit the 3 point shooting from the Orange. Run some consistent half-court offense.             7 pm games Thurs, Fri, and Sat (if necessary)

Matt Forbes, Huskies  Post man  – photo – Huskies Athletics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winnipeg Wesmen at Saskatchewan Huskies – These teams split their November series in Saskatoon, but this is a bolstered line-up for the Huskies in February, as they now have Matt Forbes at full throttle, and guards Jaylan Morgan and Lawrence Moore in the back-court.  The Wesmen have a team that may be able to harass the Sled Dogs ball-handlers, but can they neutralize the U of S bigs?  If the Ws can generate offense vs a stingy Huskies D, they have a shot.  Keys – Winnipeg – Spread the scoring.  Apply full-court defensive pressure.  Get a stand-off in the post. Play a fast pace.  Saskatchewan –  Execute their offense, and hit open shots.  Limit turnovers.  Pound it inside, and force their own pace of play.              8:30 Thurs and Fri , and 4 pm Sat (if necessary).

 

Lethbridge Pronghorns at Alberta Golden Bears –  Very familiar opponents, with

Brody Clarke, U of A –         photo – Bears Athletics

Alberta enjoying home court, and a more experienced , deeper roster.  The Bears should be healthy and rested, while the ‘Horns had some intense action last weekend vs Victoria.  The Austin Waddoups – Dejon Burdeaux match-up should be worth the price of admission, and Elliott Sentance vs the den of U of A outside shooters will be a highlight as well.  Keys – Lethbridge – As always , try and keep Burdeaux on the floor, healthy.  Push the pace on offense without turning it over.  Get ‘secondary -scoring’ from other than Burdeaux and Sentance.  Stop U of A from getting it inside.  Win the rebounding battle. Alberta – Use their depth, and wear down the ‘Horns starters.  Fill it up with 3 pointers (tops in Canada West in % treys and # scored per game).  Attack with Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke.  Concentrate defense on the 2 Lethbridge king-pins.             8 pm Thur, Fri and 7 pm Sat (if a 3rd)

 

Jordan Jensen-Whyte, UBC’s 5th year guard  – photo –  T’Birds Athletics – Richie Lam

Manitoba Bisons  at UBC Thunderbirds –  Manitoba’s Coach, Kirby Schepp, reminds us that the Herd lost by 8 in game 1 at UBC back in November, then ” … could, and maybe should have won game 2.”  That went 75-72, and was tight down the stretch.  Yes, but … the ‘Birds did go 19-1, which is a measure of their consistency and quality.

They are at War Memorial, a notorious ‘burial ground’ for visiting teams, and UBC has had some time to rest injured stars, Conor Morgan and Phil Jalalpoor.  Manitoba is a match for UBC in terms of experience in their line-up, and they have won 15 of 17 to finish the season.  On the flip side, the Bisons have won only once vs the T’Birds in 23 games since January of 2001.  Keys – Manitoba – Disrupt the UBC offense; they cannot allow the ‘Birds to get too much momentum.  Take care of the ball.  Go after Morgan at both ends.  Do a ‘shut-down ‘ job on Jordan Jensen-Whyte.  Share the load on offense, and use the bench.  UBC-  Establish their defensive style, and limit fouls.  Just do what they do on offense.  Whyte is a key catalyst for the rest of the squad.  Keep Morgan healthy.                              7 pm Thur, Fri and Sat ( if 3 are necessary).

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In the East –

The OUA first round games are getting underway tonight – Queens at Nipissing , Laurier at Laurentian , Lakehead at Toronto, and McMaster at Windsor  .  These are  ‘sudden victory’, and you move on to play the top seeds Carleton, Ryerson, Ottawa, Brock on Saturday.

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Strong rookie prospects throughout Canada West

Canada West Hoops’ ‘Co- Rookies of the Year’ , Winnipeg’s Narcisse Ambanza, and Victoria’s Scott Kellum.

We have a large field of rookie to choose our All-Rookie Team from, and we think we can say that this is an exceptional class.  Without the playing minutes, and resulting scoring, and other stats, we can whittle down our list of honourees.  Our suspicion is that we may have some exceptional players in the following group, and they aren’t on our Team !   (reverse alpha order – just a quirk)

Jeff Rodehutskors,  Fwd, Calgary …  Trent Monkman, Wing, Thompson R. … Josaiah Meppelink, G, Trinity W … Madhu  McConnell, G, TRU … Scott Mazutinec,  W,  Lethbridge …  Triston Matthews, G, UBC-O … Craig Martin , G, Mt. Royal …  Tyrell Laing, G, UNBC … Cole Knudsen, F, Alberta … Kobyn Jopp, F, Brandon … Graeme Hyde-Lay, G, Victoria …  J.J. Hamel-Carey , G, Victoria … Benjamin Hillis, W, Regina …  Riley Braich, G  , Fraser V. … Emmanuel Akintunde, F, Saskatchewan.

 

 

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Overtime – 

  • UBC Coach Kevin Hanson, commenting on star forward Conor Morgan’s readiness for play vs Manitoba this weekend, “He won’t be 100 per cent on Thursday night, but he’ll be healthy enough to contribute in some way.”  More on the T’Birds – Bisons in this story from Steve Ewan in The Province  

 

 

 

 

Quarter-Finals Set for Thursday Tip-offs

 

 

Quick turnaround for quarter-finals tip-offs

If you’re the TRU Wolf Pack, you will feel like visitors on your own campus, as you leave again on Wednesday for Calgary,  your 3rd road destination in as many weeks.  TRU were in Regina to finish League play, then last week a 3 game set in Brandon, finishing Sunday …  Monday a.m. on the road to Winnipeg, connecting flight through Calgary, and finally home to Kamloops.

TRU’s Scott Clark leads his ‘Pack to another play-off showdown with the Calgary Dinos.

The Wolf Pack face the #1 seeded Dinos starting Thursday in Calgary, a team they lost to in the Canada West Final last March.  Coach Scott Clark, speaking from the Calgary airport on Sunday afternoon, allowed, “This schedule is beyond our control, so we just deal with it. We are very proud of our young team, who responded very well to a tough atmosphere in Brandon, and fought off a very athletic Bobcats team.  Now we’ll go back and rest, do laundry, and look at some film.  We hope the guys will be just as fired up to face the Dinos, and we know it will be a challenge.”

The Manitoba Bisons were busy making last minute plane reservations as well, as the Herd head out to Vancouver to meet the UBC Thunderbirds.  Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp tells us, “It’s hard to arrange the flights .  You don’t know if you have 2 or 3 games … we may have to wait until Monday to get back home.  It’s expensive!  Meanwhile UM is prepping to play what Schepp calls ” … the best team in our League right now.”

Lethbridge are chartering a bus to return to Edmonton, where they just finished League play against the same Alberta Golden Bears 2 weeks ago.  Well, not exactly the same Bears; we’re pretty sure the starters for both teams will be more prominent in this 1/4 Final than in their last regular season encounter.

The Winnipeg Wesmen will also board a highway cruiser for their series in Saskatoon against the U of S Huskies.  The Ws took 3 games to subdue the UFV Cascades, but looked sharp in the Saturday 84-59 clincher, as their deep perimeter talent ran away from Fraser Valley.  Saskatchewan awaits with their vaunted pair of posts, and a deeper back-court than they’ve had in past seasons.

Our detailed series previews on Wednesday.

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These are our choices, as we wait for the official list from the coaches voting.  Our 1st teamers are the ‘game changers’, and are most consistent at putting their stamp on the game.  Dejon Burdeaux does it all for the ‘Horns, while Thomas Cooper is a clutch scorer and rebounder for the Dinos.  Volodymyr Iegorov is the engine for TRU, with all the skills to turn pro. UBC’s Conor Morgan won the scoring title, and is having an amazing season.  Shane Osayande is a double-double almost every time he suits up for the Huskies.

Our 2nd team features U-Sports’ top 3 point shooter in Fraser Valley’s Manny Dulay, and the all-round value delivered by UBC vet, Jordan Jensen-Whyte.  Canada West’s top defensive disruptor and leading 3 pt % shooter is Calgary’s David Kapinga, while Manitoba’s Keith Omoerah fills a stat sheet with points / rebounds / assists. Josh Ross arrived as a transfer to MRU after an All-Canadian College career, and he gave the Cougars scoring, passing, and great rebounding.

Our 3rd team has the incredible ‘cross-over king’ Thadius Galvez of the Griffins, along with the Wesmen’s dynamic scoring guard, Denzel Lynch-Blair.  Grant Sitton stood tall for the Vikes during one of their tougher seasons, and Brandon Tull finished his career at Regina as a record setter for that school.  Austin Waddoups is one of 3 Bears who could be on our list, but his energy, creativity, and timely scoring have launched Alberta to greater heights.

There are certainly others worthy of recognition, but we have 15.  You may wish to mention more of your favourites.  Feel free to share them with us.                                 (All-rookies Wednesday)

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Julian Spear Chief – Morris, playing  for the Pronghorns. photo – UL Sports

Overtime –

  • Former Lethbridge Pronghorns star,  Julien Spear Chief – Morris was recently elected as the President of Harvard University’s Law School Legal Aid Bureau.  This  article from Harvard  explains the significance of this election.       Thanks to Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp for passing this on to us.
  • The Victoria  Vikes made it to the CIS Nationals in 2012-13,  2013-14 and 2014-15, and were in the semi-finals in March of ’14 and ’15.  But 2 straight years with a 9-11 League record, missing play-offs last year, then bowing out in round 1 this campaign has Vikes supporters ‘concerned’.   14 year Head Coach, Craig Beaucamp, who has a 70% winning average in Canada West play, and is a 5 – time CW Coach of the Year is determined to get UVic back on top.  ““There are no quick fixes,” said Beaucamp. “It is going to take time. You can’t panic. You can’t just blow it up . Our current group has to get better.  We have a good core and I like it, but we need help. We are small up front. To be honest, we need to add to the mix.”    More on the Vikes’ plans this Times – Colonist  article by Cleve Dheensaw 

 

Wesmen, Horns Both Move On

 

Wesmen up the pace, and run past UFV

Winnipeg’s Narcisse Ambanza attacks UFV’s Vijay Dhillon     photo – Kelly Morton, Wesmen Athletics

at Winnipeg  84 Fraser Valley   59 –  With a dominant 2nd half effort, the Ws took this 3rd and deciding game through defensive opportunism and offensive transition.  After a bit of a slow start, where they are down 34-30 at the half, the Wesmen lit the fire in the 3rd.   Denzel Lynch-Blair, their 3rd year guard scoring 10 pts, and rookie Narcisse Ambanza 8 pts in the frame.  That 18 point Winnipeg lead became 20, then 25 as the home team finished with authority.

Fraser Valley gave the Wesmen a tough go in game 1 and 2, slowing down the UW attack, and using their own 3 point shooting to advantage.  In this deciding game, it was Winnipeg dictating the pace. “We were able to get out in transition in the 2nd half”, said Head Coach Mike Raimbault following the win. “They slowed us down at times, and Adam (Friesen, UFV Coach) did a good job with his guys .  We finished better today when we created those chances.”

On the game it was Ambanza tallying 22 points, many off the break, and Lynch -Blair   adding 19 points/ 7 rebounds/ 4 steals.  The Ws get another ‘blue collar’ effort from William Sesay, who had 10 points and secured 12 rebounds.  Winnipeg out-shot a rattled UFV squad 49% to 32% from the floor, and had an exceptional ‘ball control’ game with just 7 turnovers.

Fraser Valley  had just 2 players in double figures, as Manny Dulay scored 11 and Mark Johnson 10.  The 3 point attack just wasn’t there for the visitors, with Dulay, playing his last game for the Cascades, getting lots of extra attention from Winnipeg defenders.  Box  Score      …     The Wesmen will skip over to Saskatchewan next week to meet the #2 seeded Huskies in a best of 3 quarter-final.

 

Dejon Burdeaux carries the Pronghorns to a sweep of UVic.  photo – ‘Horns Athletics

at Lethbridge 94  Victoria  85 –  For 3/4s it was Victoria with a 7 point spread, as they had at the half.   The Vikes were much more solid than on Friday, and their defense had held the ‘Horns in check.

But Lethbridge cranked it up at both ends in the final 10 minutes, pouring in 33 points to close out the series.  When called upon, Dejon Burdeaux has found a way to get Lethbridge on top, and tonight he did that in spades.  His 34 points came from tough drives to the hoop,  off steals, and at the foul line.  The 4th year guard from Oakland, CA  is constantly in the centre of the action, as 6 steals and 12 rebounds would attest. He created scores for teammates, but did much of the heavy-lifting on his own.  Zac Overwater was also key for the ‘Horns with 14 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 assists.  Team rebounding  (UL 47 – UVic 29) created extra chances for the home side, and they cashed 29/39 from the line, as well as going 43% from 3 point range.

The Vikes also shot well from the stripe at 21/23, but ran out of offense when the ‘Horns clamped down in the 4th.   Grant Sitton scored 23 points in his last game for the Vikes, adding 7 rebounds.  His scoring total was matched by a strong game from Hassan Abdullahi, who hit  8/9 from the floor, including 5/5 from 3 point range. Box  Score        Lethbridge qualifies for the quarter-finals, and will meet # 3 Alberta beginning next Thursday night in Edmonton.

 

TRU’s Voldymyr Iegorov posts a big double-double to pace the ‘Pack past Brandon in game 2.

Thompson Rivers 96   at Brandon 64  –   That’s 95+ for the ‘Pack on consecutive nights, and Coach Scott  Clark’s call for defense gets results, as his Wolves force a game 3 on Sunday.  Brandon cannot mount a steady offense, and the shots would not fall for the home side.  TRU hit 48% from the floor to a mere 33% for the ‘Cats.   A real team effort from the visitors, with 11 Wolves hitting the scoresheet, and tremendous team rebounding edge of 54-39 over BU.

The Wolf Pack force a 3rd game  with great long-ball shooting at 12/22 from 3, led by the 3 apiece from Luke Morris and Derek Rhodes.  Meanwhile their all-star 5th year forward, Voldymyr Iegorov scores 20 points, grabs 15 rebounds and makes 3 steals.  Rhodes leads all scorers with 21 pts, and Joe Davis, the 2nd year forward from Kamloops continues his smart play, hitting 6/7 from the floor for 14 points/ 4 rebs.

Brandon got 13 points/ 6 rebs/ 6 assts from Earl Thompson Jr. , and are now challenged to get their offense back on track, and halt the TRU scoring going the other way.  Box  Score          …      Game 3 goes at 3 pm Central on Sunday.

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In the East –  Saturday 

Atlantic – at #10 Dalhousie 75  Acadia 63   Both Dalhousie and UNB have clinched the top 2 seeds  in the AUS tournament at Halifax. There are still games left next week in the AUS regular season.

Quebec – McGill 89  Bishops 71  … the Redmen have clinched 1st in the RSEQ, but there are league games remaining to be played next week.

Ontario – at #1 Carleton 100 Toronto 36,  #5 Ryerson 94 at #3 Ottawa 88 , #4 Brock 91  Windsor 69, Western  95  McMaster 89,  at Guelph 76 Waterloo 74,  at Algoma 88  Nipissing 87, W. Laurier 78  at Lakehead  75

These are the final OUA League games.  The top 4 seeds (by RPI ratings)  , with a bye until the quarter-finals are 1 Carleton  2 Ottawa  3 Ryerson  4 Brock   The 1st round of play-offs are as follows –  #9 McMaster at #8 Windsor ,    #12 Lakehead at #5 Toronto,  #11 Queen’s at #6 Nipissing #10 Laurier at #7 Laurentian … games are Weds, Feb 22.

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Overtime –

  • In Canada West Women’s play-offs –   UBC 76  UNBC  55 – a sweep for the T’Birds. Fraser Valley 61  Calgary 59 – the series goes to a 3rd game at 5 pm Pacific Sunday.   Victoria 68  MacEwan 60–  UVic wins the series 2-0,  Trinity Western 67  Brandon 60 – TWU wins the series 2-1.

 

 

Cascades Ride Dulay to Game 3

 

 

‘If Manny Dulay crosses centre, is he in shooting range ? ‘

 Fraser Valley 78  at Winnipeg  71 –    “Magic Manny’ Dulay has given us the 3 game series we suspected we would have with these 2 evenly- matched teams.  In an extremely well-played game (only 14 total turnovers between the teams), it was the killer shooting

Precision shooting by UFV’s Manny Dulay takes the teams to game 3. photo – UFV Athletics

display by the 5th year guard from Surrey that fuelled the Cascades win in game 2.

In this virtuoso matinee performance, Dulay was an incredible 7 of 7 from way outside, as he scored 29 points/ 6 rebs/ 5 asst/ 3 steals.  Mark Johnson stepped up for 14 points, as he was 2/3 from 3 pt range, as well as claiming 7 rebounds.  The middle of the game saw the visitors tallying 49 points, and today they were able to limit Winnipeg in any small 4th quarter surge.

The Ws get 22 points from the highest scoring non-starter in Canada West, import guard  Sean Tarver. Winnipeg’s Ryan Oirbans is effective again with 16 pts /10 rebs, but the difference was the 12/22 (55%) UFV shooting from beyond the arc.  The Wesmen hit just 5 treys, and thats a 21 point spread !  14/15 from the line helped Winnipeg, but that was not enough to have the home side threaten in the end.   Box  Score    The 3rd and deciding game is Saturday at the same 3 pm Central time.        This and the other play off games available   On Canada West TV

Justus Alleyn leads Manitoba to a series sweep over Regina.   photo- Jeff Miller – Bisons Sports

at Manitoba 88  Regina   80  –  The Bisons claim a spot in the quarter-finals, with a strong opening half, where they open up a 13 point advantage, looking more relaxed and ready than on Friday.  The Herd expand that lead in the 3rd quarter, then hold off a late Regina flurry for the sweep of this series.

Once again tonight, it’s guard Justus Alleyn leading the way for UM with 20 points/ 3 steals, while back-court mate A.J. Basi hits 18 points.  There are 5 Bisons in double digits, as they shoot 48% from the floor, and 41% from 3 pt range ( Alleyn is 4/8 outside and Malik Irwin 2/2 and 10 pts) . Turnovers played a role, with Regina committing 19 and Manitoba 17, while the home side wins the rebound battle 45-36.

Brandon Tull leads the Cougars in their final game of the season, with 19 points/ 4 steals.  UR got 13 points apiece from Johneil Johnson and Travis Sylvestre.   Box  Score    Manitoba earns a date in the Q-finals with the UBC Thunderbirds out in Vancouver starting next Thursday.

Tyvon Cooper scores 30 as the ‘cats win game 1 over TRU. photo- BU sports

at Brandon  101  Thompson Rivers 95  –  Break up the Bobcats !   Finding a  new team confidence, the ‘Cats send their fans home smiling, as they hit 55% from the floor and join the visiting T’Wolves in a  53-55 track-meet in the final 20 minutes.  No one blinked as both teams let it rip, with Brandon hitting 2 more treys (and 52% from 3 pt range)  for the difference.

Tyvon Cooper had a slick 30 points/ 8 rebounds for the Bobcats, while Earl Thompson Jr ‘hit for the cycle’ with 20 pts/ 6 rebs/ 6 assts/ 3 steals.  All 5 BU starters were in double figures, with big John Paul registering a double of 11 pts/ 10 boards, and Pookie Saunders  posting 14 pts/ 5 rebs/ 7 assists/ 5 steals.

TRU responded to a 48-40 half-time deficit with a big offensive eruption in the 3rd and 4th quarters.  Volodymyr Iegorov displayed his play-off mettle with 29 pts/ 5 rebs/ 3 steals, and Joe Davis had one of his finer nights, cashing 24 points and grabbing 7 rebounds.     Box  Score        Game 2 is at 7 pm Central on Saturday.

Mike Pierzchala has a big 31 pt night in the ‘Horns series opening win.     photo – Levi Balan

at Lethbridge  97 Victoria 85 –  The ‘Horns repel a spirited UVic comeback in the 3rd quarter, and finish strong to capture game 1 after putting up 29 in the 4th.  The home side gets a scare, as Dejon Burdeaux, their powerhouse guard leaves with an awkward fall late in the 3rd.

Burdeaux gets some timely ‘corner work’ from his seconds, and, much to the collective relief, he’s back for a solid final 20 minutes. The big gun for UL on the night was Mike Pierzchala, with a sparkling 9/11 outside shooting display, leading to 31 points.  Also aiding a team 52% from 3 pt range was Elliott Sentance with his 21 points on 5/9 from outside, plus 8 rebs/ 7 assists.

The Vikes spread their scoring pretty well, as they get 14 pts each from Grant Sitton (9 rebs), and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson (7 boards).  UVic had 3 others in double figures, with a good team shooting night (44% FG, 41% 3 pt, and 17/19 from the line).   Victoria could not match the Pronghorns energy in the final 10 minutes, and they will need a Saturday win to extend the series.  Box  Score     Game time Saturday is 7 pm Mountain.

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Winning is Tough for Canada West’s Newest Schools

Only 2 of the 6 ‘Explorer Division teams from last season made the play-offs this campaign.   And these were not the latest entries to Canada West;  both Fraser Valley (2006) and Thompson Rivers (2005) have been in the League for some time now. The Wolf Pack and the Cascades have both enjoyed some success in play-off competition over those years.  Trinity Western joined Canada West in 1999, then, a year later, the 4 Great Plains schools were added – Brandon, Manitoba, Regina, and Winnipeg.

This season we see the newest of our 17 teams, Mt. Royal, MacEwan, UBC-O, and UNBC, all on the outside looking in at the post -season play-downs. The TWU Spartans, who are also out, have had a few brushes with championships with Jacob Doerkson and company, but have ‘fallen on harder times’ in recent seasons.

No team outside of Victoria (16), Alberta (11), UBC (9), Calgary (5), Brandon (1), Lethbridge (1), and Saskatchewan (1) have ever won the Canada West title.  There were, of course, championships won in the GPAC by Brandon, Manitoba, and Winnipeg.

This season’s play-off slate prompts us to consider the old saw, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”, as we have Calgary, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and UBC the top 4 seeds, awaiting their opponents for the quarter-final series. We do believe the newer schools can become more competitive, and, on many nights, they have been already.  It’s not easy, however, to build a consistently strong contender in the early years of participation in Canada West.

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In the East –  Friday    

Atlantic – at #10 Dalhousie 88  Saint Marys 81 ,  at Acadia 88  St. FX 82,  at UNB 99 Cape Breton 93 – a good effort by the Capers, but they remain O-for.

Quebec –  at Laval 73 UQAM 62

Ontario –   at #1 Carleton 82  #5 Ryerson 77-  Good game.  Makes the play-offs more interesting !  at #3 Ottawa 74  Toronto  54 , at Queens 70 York  60, Laurentian 87 at Algoma 64, at Lakehead 66 Waterloo 62

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Overtime –

Nova Scotia star, Andrew Milner, signs with Calgary.

  • Andrew Milner, a 6-3 guard from Antigonish, NS,  has signed with the Calgary Dinos for the Fall of 2017.  Milner, who was a member of 2 Nova Scotia Provincial teams which won Canadian Championships in 2015 and 2016, will graduate this June from Rothesay Netherwood School (NB) .  Calgary Head Coach Dan Vanhooren says, “Andrew is very skilled and dedicated young player, and we look forward to his joining our program.”

 

  • All 4 of Canada West’s 1st round play-off sites are on the Prairies … teams seeded 5 – 8. Manitoba, Lethbridge, Winnipeg, and Brandon are hoping home court will give them the edge, and they can move on to quarter-finals next week.
  • Women’s Canada West 1st Round Play-offs –   (Best of 3 series’) Thursday, Brandon 56 at Trinity Western 48,  Friday  ,  Calgary 67 at Fraser Valley 48,  at  UBC 74 UNBC 61,  at Victoria 67 MacEwan 54 ,  at Trinity W 70  Brandon 57 – goes to a 3rd game Saturday  .     Interestingly, all 4 of these series are in B.C.  The Women’s top 4 seeds are 1 Saskatchewan  2 Regina   3 Winnipeg  4 Alberta.

 

 

Long Road for 1st Round Play-off Teams

 

 

 4  Competitive Series in 1st Round of Playoffs

              … Thursday start for ‘Play-in’ series’ in Canada West

As the top 4 seeds, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and UBC rest-up, heal, and prepare, there is no slow-down for the 8 teams heading into the ‘Play-in’ series this weekend.  Games start at Manitoba and Winnipeg on Thursday night in two of the best of 3 sets, with Brandon and Lethbridge hosting series’ to begin on Friday.

Here are the match-ups –

Keith Omoerah contributes to the Bisons offense in many ways.      Photo – J. Miller, UM Sports

#12 Regina Cougars at # 5 Manitoba Bisons –  If we look at the past history between these teams, we might be tempted to call this a lock for the Herd.  Manitoba has beaten Regina in 15 of the most recent 16 meetings, including a January sweep at Regina (84-75, and 93-81).  But the Bisons have not been as convincing over the past month, with a couple of losses at Brandon, then close calls with UNBC, and both nights last weekend against Mt. Royal. Regina comes off a solid weekend at home, where they swept the TRU Wolf Pack.

The Cougars and Bisons are both laden with experience;  Regina features guards Alex Igual (14.7 ppg/ 4.6 rebs/ 3.3 assts), Brandon Tull (13.5 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) and rookie, Johneil Johnson (12.2 ppg/ 3.7 rebs). Forwards, Brian Ofori (13 ppg/ 6.3 rebs) and  Travis Sylvestre (9 ppg/ 3.6 rebs) have played well of late.

Manitoba have a strong, veteran group, with Justus Alleyn their top scorer at 17.4 ppg/3.6 rebs, and the all-around play of Keith Omoerah (13.2 ppg/ 8.7 rebs).  AJ Basi (13.3 ppg) and Ilarion Bonhomme are dangerous back-court threats.  James Wagner, a big rookie can give the Bisons a boost inside, along with veteran post, Brett Jewell .  The question remains, ‘Which team can pull together and win 2 games this weekend?’  The home court favours Manitoba, and UBC awaits the winner .  (Central) 7:30 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (if a 3rd game is necessary)

Winnipeg’s William Sesay will be a key factor vs Fraser Valley.

#10  Fraser Valley Cascades at #7  Winnipeg Wesmen –  This is the other Thursday start, and we have two guard – oriented teams facing off after both just had road trip weekends.  The Cascades have the quick turnaround from a bus-trip up and back on the icy, snow-packed Coquihalla Highway to Kelowna last weekend.  Wash the uniforms, pack the bags, attend a brief 2 days of classes, and off they go to Winnipeg.  The Wesmen come off a 2 loss weekend in Victoria, and somehow have to ‘right the ship’ , and win the home series vs a UFV squad that has won 4 straight to finish the season.

5th year Cascades back-court shooters, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon against  Winnipeg’s Denzel Lynch-Blair, Sean Tarver, and rookie,  Narcisse Ambanza. The much improved Fraser Valley post man, Nav Bains, battling with the Ws’ big Aussie import, Ryan Oirbans.  Talented complimentary players like the Wesmen’s William Sesay and Jamar Farley  vs Fraser Valley’s Denver Sparks-Guest, Mark Johnson, and Andrew Morris.

The Cascades have won 5 of the past 7 meetings, but the Wesmen have home court.  This is looking like a 3 game series.  Note the different game times (Central) –  Thursday at 7 pm, Friday at 3 pm, and Sat. , if necessary, again at 3 pm.  The Saskatchewan Huskies will host the winner in the quarter-finals. 

UVic’s Grant Sitton will be a focus for ‘Horns defenders this weekend.        photo – UVic Athletics

#11 Victoria Vikes at #6 Lethbridge Pronghorns –  Prior to last weekend’s play, the Vikes were literally hanging by a thread, and needing a home sweep of a good Winnipeg team to make the post-season.  They got that sweep, and now are in S. Alberta to face the ‘Horns, who own 2 League wins over the Vikes in January at Victoria.

The Pronghorns are the clear favourites with their guard leader, Dejon Burdeaux (17.1 ppg/ 5.4 rebs/ 4,5 asst/ 3.6 steals) , taking the team on his back, and leading them to key wins.  3 of Burdeaux’s main ‘wing men’ are the sharp-shooting British import, Elliott Sentance (17.6 ppg/ 7 rebs/ 40% from 3 pt),  Mike Pierzchala (11 ppg/ 6 rebs), a threat to ‘run the table’, and 6-8 Zac Overwater (11.6 ppg/ 4.3 rebs.

The Vikes have leaned very heavily on 6-8 Grant Sitton, who’s surely a Canada West all-star, with his 20 ppg/ 6.8 rebs/ and 1.2 steals.  UVic’s only other double digit scorer is rookie import guard Scott Kellum (13.2 ppg), who hits 44% from 3 pt range, and chalks -up 2.4 asst per game.  Justin Kinnear is close to 10 ppg at forward, and he will need help from  Jake Newman and Hassan Abdullahi on the glass, if the Vikes are to stay with the ‘Horns.

We like Lethbridge as the home team here;  Victoria will have to make another jump forward if they hope to get the wins.  Game times are (Mountain) 7 pm on both Friday and Saturday, and 3 pm for a Sunday game, if it’s needed.  The winner here travels to Edmonton to play the Bears in the quarter-finals.

#9 Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack   at  #8  Brandon Bobcats –  The Bobcats host their 1st play-off series since 2009 in the old gym  ( SI Director Matt Packwood tells us).  This is the 1st one in their new ‘Healthy Living Centre’.  These teams have only played 9 times, ever, with the most recent a BU home win over TRU in January of 2014, so we can’t rely on trends!

We will watch a compelling battle of the big men, as the ‘Pack bring 5th year, 6-7  import, Volodymyr Iegorov, along with 6-5 Luke Morris, and 6-5 Joe Davis, who are all double digit scorers , with Iegorov among the League’s top rebounders at 9.1 rpg. Brandon responds with high-scoring Earl Thompson Jr (16.2 ppg/ 8.6 rebs), 6-5 Chris Stanhope, and a surging giant in 6-11 John Paul from St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean.  Brandon’s guards are led by shooter, Tyvon Cooper, while TRU has wing man, Michael Rouault, and import guard, Derek Rhodes.

There will be some new-found excitement surrounding this Bobcats team at home, and, if they can limit their turnovers and continue their improved shooting, they may pull this off.  The ‘Pack played in the CW Final last year, and this young team are looking to take another crack at it.  Only improved guard play and team defense will get them to the next round.  It may take 3 games to sort this out.  Winner goes to Calgary to face the Dinos in quarter-finals. 

 

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Overtime –

  • UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson, with comments about the RPI system, whereby his 19-1 T-Birds finished as the  4th play-off seed,  “Overall, it’s frustrating but we have known that it’s been coming for a few weeks,” said Hanson.   “It is out of our control and we’re not whining about it. Our players are long over the shock. We are getting prepped to play whomever is put in front of us.  (From  Howard Tsumura’s ‘Varsity Letters’ blog  )
  • In that same ‘Varsity Letters’ posting from last weekend, Hanson reports that Conor Morgan has an ankle injury, but is expected to be ‘shooting by the end of the week.’  Guard Phil Jalalpoor is also getting treatment for an ankle injury. UBC has a bye as a top 4 team this week, and will be at home vs the winner of the Manitoba – Regina series Feb . 23-25.

 

 

Play-off Probabilities – 1 Game Left

 

With a win by the favoured Golden Bears 

Will Dejon Burdeaux and the ‘Horns upset the Bears?                   photo- UL Athletics

We present 2 possibilities for play-off seeding, with just the 1 game remaining in regular season play.  The first, shown below, has the Bears winning tonight’s home game / Senior Night vs Lethbridge. You see the results, as calculated using the Rating Percentage Index to order the 12 playoff teams.  (Mt. Royal was tied in Won -Loss with Thompson Rivers, but lose in a tie-breaker.  TRU won a game over Manitoba, while MRU had 2 close losses). The Cougars and Wolf-Pack did not meet in the regular season.

 

The RPI re-shuffles the standings based on the relative strength of schedules.  Teams play very different slates of games, and this is a ‘common’ way of recognizing the inequity of various schedules. (As confusing and frustrating as it might be for some teams and fans).

  • UBC is 19-1, but their schedule was among the ‘softest’ when the stats are in. So the T-Birds drop to the 4 seed
  • Alberta’s schedule is among the toughest, and they get a boost, with a 15-5 record, up to the #1 seed.
  • You’ll also note the 11-9 Fraser Valley Cascades, are 10th seed, while the 8-12 TRU Wolf-Pack are 9, and Brandon, at 9-11 finish way up in 7th.   (RPI folks !)

But, what if, for some reason, Lethbridge wins vs Alberta tonight ?

Then, we have some changes, and not only at the top.  We still have the same 12 play-off teams, but with some re-shuffling with RPI tweaks for every team.

  • Calgary jumps over Alberta to the #1 seed, and the Bears drop to #3, with Saskatchewan bumping up to #4.
  • Winnipeg moves into the #7 position, and Brandon to #8.

All this means that we get some different play-off match-ups in some cases.  It also means that the Dinos have the inside -track to hosting the Final 4, assuming they can win a quarter-final series.   Here’s the new play-off grid, if the ‘Horns knock off the Bears in tonight’s final League contest. (*** Note –  Lethbridge will be the #6 seed, regardless of tonights result).

There’s all sorts of intrigue with these possible match-ups, and the site for the Final 4 can, of course, be crucial to the outcome.

 

 

Vikes Sweep Over Winnipeg Gets Them In

 

 

 

 

Grant Sitton’s shooting propels Vikes to a sweep over Winnipeg. photo- Vikes Athletics

at Victoria 79  Winnipeg 78 –  A massive win for the Vikes, who avoid a tiebreaker scenario for the final spot.  They look to be 11th, with their 9-11 record, while Winnipeg are either 7th or 8th, awaiting the Bears-Horns Sunday game. Grant Sitton, on his Senior Night, lights it up for 27 points/ 12 rebounds for Victoria, and his 5 points in the final 30 seconds snatches victory for the home side, who trailed by 4.  Sean Tarver led the Ws with 23 points, while Narcisse Ambanza added 19, and Denzel Lynch-Blair 18.   Box Score    

at #7  Alberta  97  Lethbridge 86 –  The 2 Alberta rivals warmed up cautiously in the opening 10 minutes , then hit the ‘Go button’ with the Bears winning the last 3 stanzas by an 81-75 count. Geoff Pippus is hot for Alberta, with 24 points and 5/8 from deep, to go with 5 rebs/ 4 steals. Mamadou Gueye tallied 19 pts/ 7 rebs, as Alberta (14-5) is 1 win away from claiming the top seed for playoffs. Lethbridge (12-7) shoots it well, but hits 3 fewer treys, and 14/20 from the line vs 26/29 for the home side. Dejon Burdeaux has a big scoring night for the Pronghorns, with 35 points/ 5 rebs/ 3 steals .  UL are looking like 6th place finishers on the play-off seeding, regardless of their  result tomorrow against U of A.   Box Score          2nd game, Sun at 7 pm

at Manitoba  71  Mt Royal  68  –  In the 2nd close win in a  Bisons sweep, the home team hits 10 treys on 18 tries, and snares 46 rebounds vs 35 for the Cougars.  Down by 9 at the half, MRU won the 2nd, but couldn’t quite catch Manitoba.  Mt. Royal falls just short of a play-off spot, with their 8-12 record tying them for 12th with Thompson Rivers.  On the 2nd tie-breaker (since the 2 teams did not play each other), TRU come out on top with a split vs Manitoba back in November ; they were equal in results with other common opponents.  Justus Alleyn leads Manitoba with 20 pts/ 8 rebs, while MRU have 4 in double figures with both Josh Ross (15 pts/ 10 rebs) and Brett Layton (15 pts/ 12 boards) with a double-double again tonight.    Box Score  

at Regina 79  Thompson Rivers 74 –  Closer tonight for the Wolf Pack, but Regina (9-11) comes from behind in the 4th quarter to nab the sweep, and claim a play-off spot.  TRU (8-12) are in as well, but go back to B.C. after their 4th straight loss. Brian Ofori pours in 22 for the Cougars, and grabs 8 boards;  rookie guard, Johneil Johnson has 17 and 7 rebs.  Volodymyr Iegorov scores 16 for the ‘Pack, and adds 12 rebounds.   Box Score  

Calgary’s Dallas Karch enjoys a strong game on his Senior Night.  photo- UVic Athletics

at #6 Calgary 95  MacEwan 87  – It’s another free-wheeling affair, as the Griffs work hard trying, in vain, to nab a post-season berth, as the 2nd half, in particular, was played at high speed. Thomas Cooper posted 32 points for Calgary, and had 10 rebounds on a very successful Senior Night. Jhony Verrone was solid again for the Dinos, scoring 20 pts/ 8 rebs.  Thadius Gálvez was his elusive best for GMU, hitting 30 pts, and had 6 boards, while Denzel James  totalled 19 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 assts.  The Dinos can finish 1st or 2nd in the play-off seeding, depending on the result of Sunday’s Alberta-Lethbridge game.  Box Score 

#9 Saskatchewan 77  at UNBC 57  –  The Huskies leave no doubt at the half, with a 37-16 spread, and their defense stifling the Timberwolves’ attack. U of S look set in either 2nd or 3rd seed for the play-offs.  Saskatchewan hits 53% from the floor, with Trevor Severinski the top man with 20 points on 6/10 from 3 point range.  Sam Zhang, in his final game for the ‘Wolves, is their leading scorer with 18 points/ 5 rebs.  Box Score  

#2 UBC 104  at  Trinity Western 72 –  Even without an injured Conor Morgan in the

UBC’s Conor Morgan sits out with a leg injury. photo- UBC Athletics

line-up tonight, the Thunderbirds (19-1) are too much for the Spartans (3-17) in the final game of the  regular season. 5 ‘Birds in double figures, with Jordan Jensen-Whyte cashing 23 pts / 8 rebs/ 4 assists, and Isaiah Familia adding 20 points/ 11 rebounds. TWU have Pogos Trunyan with 21 points on 5/11 from outside, but the next highest was Tea Mayberry’s 10 points.  UBC finishes 4th in the final Ratings Percentage Index, based on strength of schedule.  Box Score  

Fraser Valley 85 at UBC-O  78 –  Tied after 3/4s, the Cascades win the 4th quarter and the game by 7 points, with 5th year guard, Vijay Dhillon, hitting clutch shots down the stretch. With the team shooting 54% from the floor, Andrew Morris led UFV with  14 points, with Dhillon and Manny Dulay both scoring 10.  Fraser Valley finish 11-9, and are bound for 10th place in the RPI table.  UBC-O finish their season at 2-18, as Aldrich Berrios leads all scorers with 24 points.   Box Score   

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In the East on Saturday  – 

Atlantic – at UNB 99 St. FX 86, at St. Marys 93 Acadia 90, at Memorial  106 UPEI 92

Quebec – Laval 70 at Bishops 68,  Concordia 63 at UQAM 52

Ontario –  #1 Carleton 114 at York 50,  Western Ont 88 at Laurier 65,  at Waterloo 84  Windsor 69, at Guelph 74  Lakehead  62,  #3 Ottawa  72 at  Queens50  , at McMaster 76 Algoma  61

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Canada West  play-off grid – Sunday

Buenos Noches !

 

 

 

 

Final Weekend Features Scramble for Play-offs

 

 

Final games bring so many permutations and combinations ….

Brandon Tull and the Cougars are at home to TRU.       photo – UR Athletics

Thompson Rivers (8-10) at Regina (7-11)-  This series has implications not only for the 2 teams, but throughout the CW standings.  We have to see Regina as the favourites, being at home, or do we?  The baffling Green Cougars are 3-5 on home court, and 4-6  on the road?  The Wolves are 4-4 on the road this year, and have won 6 of the last 8 meetings with Regina.  TRU are the younger team, but have Volodymyr Iegorov, a tough match-up inside.  It’s a toss-up, with both teams scratching for a play-off berth.   Fri /Sat  at 8 pm

Winnipeg (12-6) at Victoria (7-11) –  Another series where the results will affect all teams in the RPI ratings.  The Vikes would kill for a sweep, and a guarantee of getting into the post -season.  UVic is not keen on missing 2 years in a row. The Ws have won 6 of 8 in the season’s 2nd half, and want to assure a home court for round 1 of play-offs.   These teams are 7-7 over their last 6 seasons’ meetings;  we think a split may be the most likely scenario.   Fri  8 pm / Sat 7 pm

Mt Royal (8-10) at Manitoba (10-8)   –  Both these teams are coming off losses, and we’re not sure how they will respond to these games.  The Bisons are going to be 5th, so there’s no pressure there, but they will want to sharpen -up prior to play-offs.  The Cougs may find themselves in a math tie-breaker for a play-off spot if they can’t get that 9th win.     Fri 8 pm , Sat 6 pm

David Kapinga is having an impressive campaign for the Dinos.         photo – David Moll – UC

MacEwan (7-11) at #6 Calgary (14-4) –  “They’re pretty good!”  So says Dinos Coach Dan Vanhooren as he reviews MacEwan game tape.  “Their post guys are tough, and work hard.  (Thadius) Galvez and (Denzel) James can play.”  Yes, the Griffs are under-appreciated by some, but will not go down without a fight.  Calgary are without Lars Schleuter, who is nursing a ‘lower-body injury’.  Closer than we might expect.  Intriguing match-up –  Adonis Montfort – Palomino (former Dino) returns to his home-town  vs the Dinos super-quick point , David Kapinga.   Fri  8 pm/ Sat  7 pm

Matt Forbes, U of S ‘big dude’         Photo – GetMyPhoto.ca

#9 Saskatchewan (12-6) at UNBC (4-14) –  This does not look like a good match-up for the smaller T’Wolves, as the Huskies bring the ‘big meanies’, Shane Osayande and Matt Forbes.  U of S has a shot at the #1 seed (slim as it might be), so they will have that incentive.  Vaggelis Loukas needs help inside, while Rhys Elliott and Marcus MacKay shoot lights out.  Still a tall order for UNBC.   Fri 8 pm / Sat  / 7 pm

#2 UBC  (17-1) at  Trinity Western (3-15) –  The Thunderbirds are, make no mistake, peeved that they will not be the #1 play-off seed.  So they can be expected to be in a surly mood as they travel to Langley to finish their League slate.  TWU won their last, and are playing better, but this should not be close.   Fri and Sat  at 7 pm

Fraser Valley (9-9) at UBC-O (2-16) –  The big question might be, “How do we get to Kelowna, with all the deep snow on the Coquihalla Highway?”  Assuming the Cascades can ‘plow their way through’, they will be excited for a chance to  get to 11 wins, and to host a play-off series the following week.  Their senior guards, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon will give the Heat’s 3rd year points leader , Aldrich Berrios, and rookies Triston Matthews and Matt Lafontaine  all they can handle.    Fri  8 pm / Sat at 7 pm

Saturday/ Sunday , Feb. 11/12

Andre Kelly’s return should help Alberta vs Lethbridge  Photo – UA Athletics

Lethbridge (12-6) at   #7  Alberta (13-5)   –  The Bears are the ‘odds-on’ to finish as the top seed for play-offs wither tough schedule giving them a boost in the RPI.  This holds true, if they sweep, for sure, or maybe even if they allow Lethbridge a split? ( There are other possibilities, but let’s just wait.)  The Bears look to have an edge at home, and they’re playing better with Andre Kelly back in the line-up.  The ‘Horns will need a 3rd,4th, 5th guy to assist Dejon Burdeaux and Elliott Sentance, if they are to get a win.   Weird game times, with a volleyball conflict.        Sat at 4 pm / Sun at 7 pm

Brandon Bobcats are 9-11, in the play-offs,  and lounging contentedly in their ‘dorm rooms’ this weekend

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In the East –

Tues –  #10  Dalhousie  77 at  St FX  65

Upcoming –  In the OUA – Waterloo at Western Ont,  Laurier at Windsor

Quebec – UQAM  at  #8 McGill

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There are no changes this week, as Ottawa lost to Carleton (doesn’t everybody?), and the Bears and Huskies split.

On the basis of the Top 10, it looks like the OUA has the lead in the ‘At Large Berth’ competition. The U-Sports Final 8 in Halifax March 9-12 will have 2 Atlantic teams, 2 OUA teams, 2 Canada West teams, and 1 Quebec team . An ‘At-large team’ (Wild-card)  will be chosen by a committee of U-Sports coaches. There are many more criteria besides this Top 10  (More later).

 

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Overtime –

  • We think Saskatchewan will be cheering for a split between Alberta-Lethbridge, then Regina -Thompson Rivers, and, finally, a Winnipeg sweep at Victoria.  Then, according to ‘Dr. Timmerman’s Magic Calculator’, the Sled Dogs are CW #1 play-off seed !    (But, those are a whole lot of dominoes magically falling in the appropriate direction!)  Probably Alberta #1.
  • What looks more predictable is some kind of tie for the last play-off spot … involving some of, two of, several of  UVic, Mt Royal, Regina, TRU, or MacEwan.  Stay tuned.

 

 

The Mathematicians Take Over !

 

 

What just happened ?      

Calgary Dinos Coach, Dan Vanhooren

 UBC wins big 2 nights running, and are 17-1 … their RPI index, however, falls from .6450 to         .6172.  Tragique ! 

Saskatchewan and Alberta split their big series, and they both drop slightly.  Calgary wins 2 on the road against a pretty good TRU team, and the Dinos tumble to 4th spot, as the RPI dips by 72 points.   Ugh !

Manitoba loses both games at Brandon, but remains (forever, apparently) in 5th.  Winnipeg wins 2 at home, and go to 6th, up 62 points.  Nice !  Lethbridge was just sitting around , watching the heavy snowfall, and go up a few points, and into 7th.

Brandon made the biggest news, in many ways.  Coach Gil Cheung and his boys come from 3-7 at the Christmas break, to win 6 games and grab a play-off spot at 9-11.  This includes a group of 10 players back from a team that went 1-19 in the previous season.  Well-done, lads .

 

Fraser Valley got the sweep over UVic, and have vaulted themselves into the post-season, while putting the Vikes’ chances in jeopardy.  Victoria comes home to play Winnipeg, and need 2 wins to guarantee a spot, and 1 to have any chance.  MRU,  Regina, Victoria, and MacEwan  are all in dire need of at least that 1 win.  Then the mathematicians take over.

 

What we think we know – 

Martin Timmerman, ‘The man, the myth, the legend’ !

Thanks to Martin Timmerman’s  U-Sports  RPI ‘what-if’ tool for all of this ‘clarity’ in examining the possibilities.  Alberta, Calgary, Saskatchewan, and UBC will be the top 4 seeds.  But not necessarily in that order.  The Huskies or Dinos could be #1, but Alberta has the inside track, especially if they sweep Lethbridge up in Edmonton this week.  The (presumably) 19-1 UBC T’Birds will not be the top seed.

Manitoba will be the 5th seed.  (Even losing 2 to MRU)

From here it gets ‘somewhat jumbled’, as each series is factored in.   Lethbridge can be 6th – 8th, Winnipeg from 6th to 9th.  Brandon are in, with 9 wins, and can be 7th to 9th.

Despite a strong possibility of finishing at 11-9, the UFV Cascades are likely to be 9-10-11-12, but they look to be a lock for the post-season.

That leaves Thompson Rivers  (7th to out !) , Mt Royal, Regina, Victoria, and MacEwan hanging not only by the results of their own games, but of all the other series.  A foreseeable scenario has 2 or more of these teams tied for the final play-off spot(s).  If this is the case, we get the Canada West tie-breakers in play.

CW Tie-breaking rules –          Two Teams Tied:

1. Win/Loss record in head to head competition.

2. Win/Loss record versus common opponents.

3. Each teams RPI ranking.

There are others, but the RPI should sort it out, if necessary.

Three or More Teams Tied:   Use the same procedure as a two‐teams tied. Once one team has been separated from the tied group, go back to step one with the remaining tied team(s).

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Jamar Farley is hot for the Wesmen on Saturday –  photo – Kelly Morton

5 Top Performers from Last Weekend –

Manny Dulay’s 36 point night on Friday for UFV vs Victoria

Conor Morgan matches that on Friday for UBC vs UNBC

Brandon’s Earl Thompson  Jr 40 pts/22 rebs  and  John Paul  30 pts/ 27 boards, as the ‘Cats take a pair from Manitoba

Thadius Galvez hits for 25 pts/ 8 rebs in Senior Night win over UBC-O

Jamar Farley also has a big Senior Night with 22 pts with 6 treys vs Regina

 

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Overtime – 

  • Fraser Valley’s high scoring senior guard , Manny Dulay after the weekend’s wins over UVic, “Usually seniors would be like, ‘OK, it’s my night to shine,’ but I took the approach of, ‘I want to focus on the win,’” Dulay said. “I felt like I had to move the ball because I knew they were going to be extra-aggressive on me, and guys started stepping up – from Denver (Sparks-Guest) to Andrew (Morris) to Mark (Johnson) to Vijay (Dhillon). It was a whole different game from yesterday. Guys were ready to shoot, guys were ready to attack. It was amazing to see.”  From Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
  • This is serious ….

  • With all the ‘foo-fa-rah’ about the final RPI seedings, we thought we’d  point out that ‘everybody has problems’.  A shout-out to our golf buddies who are renting places on Vancouver Island, so they can escape the winter and play a few rounds in January, February, and March.   ‘What’s with the snow on our golf course !’  Talk about hard-ship !

 

 

The 2 Hottest Teams in Canada West

 

 

 

Thunderbirds and Bisons both on a roll in League play 

5th year defensive stopper, Will Ondrik and his T’Birds teammates move to 15-1 on the season.   photo – Richard Lam  ,  UBC Athletics

The 2 hottest teams in Canada West continued to reel off the wins this past weekend. The UBC Thunderbirds, as expected, swept their 2 game set with the Brandon Bobcats in Vancouver, and the ‘Birds are now 7 wins in a row, 2nd only to the Manitoba Bisons in winning streaks, with the Herd up to 8.  Manitoba got a scare on Friday at home against the UNBC T’Wolves , but pulled it out, and won more easily on Saturday.

But, in this ‘Year of the RPI Monster’, both teams lost ground in the ‘order of finish’ race.  Last week the T’Birds stood at .6559 , but dropped .109, still in the top spot for the moment.  The Herd, after their 2 wins, fell 149 points from last week’s .5842.  (I guess you just play your best, and let the chips fall …. ).  UBC looks to be destined for the 3rd or 4th play-off seed, even at 19-1, while Manitoba are likely 5th in the RPI ordered seeding list.

Both these teams will be ‘tough outs’ in the post-season , and may be good picks for the Final Four.  Our best guess for the hosts may be either the Alberta Golden Bears or the Saskatchewan Huskies, who seem to rise to the top spot as we try various guesses for the results of remaining League games.  The Dogs and GBs meet in saskatoon this coming weekend to decide the issue.

Who else is going well?  The Lethbridge Pronghorns have won 4 straight, and locked up a play-off spot, and have a bye week to marshal their forces before their final week’s appointment vs the Bears in Edmonton.

 

15 League All-Stars will be tough to decide

Shane Osayande, Huskies          photo – Huskies Athletics

Coaches across Canada West are nominating top players for all-star consideration at season’s end.  They have 15 players to select, and we thought we’d look at an expanded number of possible candidates.

Keith Omoerah, Justus Alleyn of Manitoba  … Denzel Lynch-Blair- Winnipeg … Earl Thompson Jr – Brandon … Brandon Tull – Regina … Shane Osayande, Matt Forbes – Saskatchewan … Dejon Burdeaux, Elliott Sentance – Lethbridge … Brett Layton, Josh Ross – Mt. Royal  …  Thomas Cooper, David Kapinga – Calgary … Brody Clarke, Austin Waddoups, Mamadou Gueye, Alberta … Thadius Galvez – MacEwan … Rhys Elliott – UNBC … Volodymyr Iegorov – Thompson Rivers …  Aldrich Berrios – UBC-Okanagan … Patrick Vandervelden – Trinity Western … Manny Dulay – Fraser Valley … Conor Morgan , Jordan Jensen-Whyte – UBC … Grant Sitton – Victoria

So, there are 25 of the best.  We know we could form a play-off team with 10 who we left off this list, but this is a pretty good crop from which to select.

Top 10 Rookies –

Scott Kellum, UVic import guard

Narcisse Ambanza – Wesmen,   James Wagner – Bisons,  Johneil Johnson –  Reg. Cougars,  Max Eisle – Dinos, Scott Kellum –  Vikes,  Brett Warren  – Pronghorns, Craig Martin- MRU Cougars, Trent Monkman – Wolf Pack, Isaiah Familia – T’Birds, Matt Lafontaine – Heat

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92 Years of Refereeing Experience

Richard Schear (L) and Art Unsworth (R) team up at a recent high school tourney .

Richard Schear, who lives in Redcliff, AB, began officiating basketball (and, eventually, football) after he had completed his Education degree at University. The 72 year old has been active as a ref now for 48 years, while his taller, much younger side-kick, the irrepressible Art Unsworth, has been a ‘zebra’ for 44 years.  Schear explains why he enjoys officiating …  First, the camaraderie  with the other officials.  Second, it forces him to keep in good physical shape.  Third, being a referee in high school sports, gives Richard a chance to  interact with the youth of today.  “By and large those young people who play high school sports are great kids, they will be the leaders of tomorrow,” says Schear.  Unsworth, a farmer-rancher near Maple Creek, SK, has 2 sons,  Clint (6-10) and Chris (6-8) who both graduated from U. Saskatchewan, having won a Canada West and CIS Championship with the Huskies in 2010.

As well as cheering his boys through high school (Medicine Hat, AB)  and university ball, Art, has been a mentor for many young refs in the latter part of his career. We congratulate these two fine gentlemen on their amazing contribution to the game over the years.

Overtime –  

Coach Steve Burrows         photo –  Regina Leader-Post

  • Regina Cougars head coach Steve Burrows on his team’s effort in topping the Calgary Dinos on Saturday,  “I wish I could say it was something I said or did, but these guys stuck together and they kept on working at it and kept on going,” Burrows said. “A couple of things went our way and we made some shots. It was just that whole thing of believing and trying to stick with what we were doing.”  From a Regina Leader-Post article by Rob Vanstone 
  • Huskies Coach, Barry Rawlyk, celebrated his 100th and 101st Canada West conference wins as head  man for the U of S  team with a two-game sweep at home over the Mount Royal  Cougars. Rawlyk spent the majority of his long coaching career as a high school coach, before taking over at U. Saskatchewan in 2010.  The leading active coach, in his 17th year at UBC is Kevin Hanson with 270 wins in Canada West play.  2nd is Calgary’s Dan Vanhooren, who, over the same 17 years has 201.  3rd – UVic’s Craig Beaucamp with 191 in 13 seasons. 4th – TRU’s Scott Clark, in his 17th year has 179. 5th – Barnaby Craddock of Alberta has 153 in his 12 years at 3 different schools.
  • Derek Wolf plays his final home game at MRU on Saturday.         photo – MRU Athletics

     This , of course, is the time of year for ‘Senior Nights’, as senior players finish their eligibility, and most also finish a degree. The  MRU Cougars graduating players, Brett Layton and Derek Wolf, will be honoured on Saturday night between the 4 pm Women’s game and the 6 pm Men’s contest.  TRU’s big man, Volodymyr Iegorov, plays his last home game this Saturday for the Wolf Pack, and 6 other schools will recognize the accomplishments of their senior grads this weekend.  UFV –  Manny Dulay, and Vijay Dhillon, Winnipeg – Jamar Farley, Brandon – Earl Thompson Jr, Chris Stanhope, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem, MacEwan-  Denzel James, Keith Gerdes, and Thomas Jereniuk,   Saskatchewan – Matt Forbes, and Trevor Severinski,  UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, and Will Ondrik.