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 ….

 

MacEwan – Young Team, Big Dreams

 

Griffins coach likes the energy of his young team

MacEwan Coach Eric Magdanz is one of several Canada West coaches who has been dealing with a big turnover of seniors from last season.  “This process of developing a team, and re-forming with new recruits can be challenging, but also rewarding”, says the 4th year mentor.

The Griffs lost Thadius Galvez, Keith Gerdes,  Denzel James, and Tyler Wise,  who were core players.  But, this does not deter Coach Magdanz, who characterizes his team as ‘very young’, but also, “we are long, athletic, and energetic.”

The team will lean on veteran leaders like Ryan Coleman (Edmonton), the only 5th year Griff, and Adonis Monfort-Palomino left, Calgary), the 3rd year point man.  Ali Raza (Calgary), 3rd year wing, had ‘a phenomenol summer”, says Magdanz. “He is a remarkable athlete.” 6-6 Harrison Lane (Edmonton) is a 4th year post man, who should be stepping into a bigger role along with 2nd year English import, Jake Notice.

1st year players dot this roster, with 6-3 Lincoln Anderson (Cardston) expected to contribute right away, “ … he is ready”, his coach exclaims. Abdullah Shittu is a 6-7 Edmonton product who has a 7-2 wing span, and is picking up coaching very readily.   There are 8 rookies, and some will have to ‘wait their turn”, but Coach Magdanz believes, “This group will be great to coach; they will work hard, and, as they become more familiar with each other, we look forward to building a competitive team.”

 

 

Anderson enters as a ‘mature student and athlete’

Lincoln Anderson was a member of the Cardston , AB high school team which captured 2 consecutive 4A provincial titles in 2012 and 2013.  This was big news in hoops crazy Southern Alberta, and Anderson might have been expected to go on and play in Canada West.  But Lincoln had other priorities as a Church of Latter Day Saints member; he served a church mission in New Zealand for 2 years, centred in Auckland. “It was an amazing experience”, says Anderson.  No basketball practice for missionaries, but they did play a little informal rugby (as you would in the land of the ‘All-Blacks” NZ National Team).

Lincoln Anderson, MacEwan wing man

The difficult part of getting back to varsity sport is to “start thinking the game again”, according to the 22 year old. “As a missionary, I was planning every minute of my days in New Zealand, so I’m not having any trouble combining studies and basketball.”  Starting a B Sc. program, Lincoln wants to eventually work as a physiotherapist. “Because I’ve gone through so much work with my knee”, he says, “I’ve become keen on helping other people with similar challenges.”

Anderson was recruited by Coach Magdanz, who, coincidently, coached both Lincoln and Adonis Monfort-Palomino on Alberta’s U-17 team a few years back. “He is a young and enthusiastic coach”, says Anderson. “I like his style of coaching, and his enthusiasm for the team and individual players.”  ‘I’m excited to get playing games”, exclaims Lincoln. “I really look forward to competing.”  Under Magdanz’ tutelage, Anderson expects the Griffins to develop into a team that can “… contend with all the top schools.”  Lincoln Anderson and the others in this freshman class may well be chasing history if his prognostication comes close to fruition.  Dream big … how else can you hope to get there?

___________________________________________________________________

Overtime – 

  • Game schedule … Thursday, Oct 5  –    Calgary Cup starts at UC –  Dinos vs McGill, McMaster vs Acadia  … Saskatchewan at Toronto, Bishops at Victoria, Laurentian at Brandon, NAIT at Thompson Rivers

    Ken Olynyk brings a long and distinguished university sport career to an end.

  • Congratulations to TRU’s Ken Olynyk, who has announced his retirement as the school’s Athletic Director.  Olynyk, a former player in the CIS, and a coach at U. Lethbridge, U. Toronto, and with the WolfPack, has had a very positive impact on basketball and sport at TRU.  We wish him well, and hope he enjoys the extra time he will have to enjoy family and recreational pursuits.  Ken will likely still be involved with hoops in some way, even beyond being a spectator at son Kelly’s NBA games!  More in this story from TRU Athletics.

New RPI Formula for Canada West

 

 

What Impact From RPI, Schedule Changes ?

Canada West recently announced the 2017-18 playing schedule, which still has 17 schools each playing a different slate of games.  This unequal 20 game set-up has schools playing a pair of contests with 4 ‘traditional rivals’ each year, but  they change 6 teams on alternate years.

So, for example,  Saskatchewan, who have Alberta, Calgary Regina, and Brandon as ‘rivals’  will reverse home and way with those schools this coming season;  the Huskies played Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, UBC, Lethbridge, Mt. Royal, and UNBC in 2016-17, but will meet the other 6 ‘non-rival’ schools … Manitoba, Thompson Rivers, Victoria, MacEwan, UBC-O, and Trinity Western in the 2017-18 schedule.

Conor Morgan and his T-Birds ‘mates will be gunning for another big winning year, and hoping for a higher seeding this time around.                    photo – UBC Athletics

Each school has different rivals, and a different slate of 6 ‘non-rivals’, and, in another twist of scheduling, each school determines if they will play any ‘home and home series’.  Example – Calgary has all three of Alberta, Mt. Royal, and Lethbridge home and away.  Saskatchewan,  Regina, TRU, UBC-O, and UNBC have none.  Other schools have 1 or 2 ‘home and homes’ with geographically close rivals.  All this leads to some differences in number of home and away games for some teams.

With all that, the League governors chose to continue using an adjusted RPI index to ‘even -up’ the standings between ‘unequally scheduled’ teams.  Last year, as fans might remember, this led to the juggling of final seeding spots for play-offs, putting 19-1 UBC in the 4th seed behind 16-4 Calgary #1, 14-6 Saskatchewan #2, and 14-6 Alberta #3.

The effect of these RPI results prompted schools to ask for a modification in those statistical manouvres.  Canada West now has a new RPI formula  –

The formula used in 2016-17 was as follows:

RPI = 25% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.2 away win + 0.8 home win, 50% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The new formula for 2017-18, with changes in bold, is as follows:

RPI = 35% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.1 away win + 0.9 home win, 40% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The League is hoping that this will bend the final standings a little less, and keep teams with a higher winning percentage in higher seeding spots.  We still, however, have the unequal schedule.  How unequal is it?

Alberta, defending Canada West champs, have Mamadou Gueye leading a solid corps of returnees. photo –                  Bears Athletics

Well, we have done a somewhat subjective analysis of each team’s schedule, and we’ve assigned points based on a) Last year’s finish, b) team losses from graduation or other (as announced) c) recruiting news as we’ve followed it.  We give UBC a 16, Calgary and Alberta both at 14, Lethbridge and Saskatchewan are 12, Manitoba, UVic, Winnipeg are 10, with Brandon, Regina and UFV 9. TRU is 7, MRU 6, MacEwan 6, UNBC 5, and TWU and UBC-O  are both at 4 in this ranking scale. Certainly subjective, but it can generate some ‘informed guesses’ for what lies ahead in the coming year.

Who has the ‘toughest’ schedule?  Who might have the ‘easiest’ … we add up the teams’ opponents’ ranking scores, and here’s what we have, with toughest at the top, and ‘easier’ at the bottom –

The Okanagan Heat, who were 2-18 last season, hardly need this rugged path … at UVic, UFV, UNBC (the only non-playoff squad from 2016-17), Calgary, Winnipeg.  Home to TRU, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and UBC !  Ouch!

Trinity Western were 3-17, but it’s all uphill with the likes of the Bears, UVic, UBC, Calgary, and Saskatchewan on their schedule as well.  They play just 2 non-play-off teams from last year.

Interestingly, UBC has what looks like one of the ‘lighter’ schedules once again.

If we look at Thompson Rivers, by contrast, we see the ‘Pack facing only Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, and Victoria from last year’s top seeds. The Orange play all 5 of last season’s non-playoff teams.  Fraser Valley gets 4 of those 5 who missed the 2016-17 playoffs.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Overtime – 

  •  The play-off schedule has changed for this coming season, with CW deciding to scrap the Final 4 Tournament in favour of a single game for the championship. The first round has the top four seeds with  byes, and the next eight playing single-elimination games (12 @ 5, 11 @ 6, 10 @ 7, and 9 @ 8) . Feb 8 -11.  Best of 3 quarter-finals  are   February 15-18, and the Semis (best-of-three) February 22-25.  The Canada West Final is March 2 or 3.  ( CW may play a 3rd place game, if it is necessary for wildcard chances at U-Sport Nationals (Halifax, March 8-11).

 

  • Alberta Golden Bears have reportedly added Montreal native, Nolan Woodward, a 6-4, 220 lb wing man, who will enter his 4th year after stops at NCAA Div 2 schools, Gannon University  (Pennsylvania), and American International U. (Massachusetts) .

 

  • Josh Wolfram, former TRU Wolf Pack Canada West all-star, moves from Sweden to the Czech Republic in signing a contract with Sluneta – Usti Nad Labem (USTI)  for his 2nd pro experience in Europe.  More details in this story from TRU Athletics.

 

 

 

 

4 Schools Announce Big Recruiting Classes

 

 

UBC Leads 4 Schools Announcing Big Recruiting Success

UBC Coach Kevin Hanson greets ‘feature’ signee, Grant Shephard            Photo – UBC Athletics

When a U-Sports school signs a bonafide NCAA Div. 1 prospect, it is certainly a banner day for that program and Canadian University basketball as a whole.  Coach Kevin Hanson of UBC announced in April that 6-10 post man, Grant Shephard from Kelowna will join the T’Birds roster for the 2017-18 season.  Shephard, who was a big factor as a grade 11 in the Kelowna Owls winning the B.C. High Schools 4A championship in 2016, spent grade 12 at Monteverde Prep in Florida.

Reportedly, he had solid offers from some NCAA powers, but the young man suggested that he felt more ‘excited’ about UBC, and being closer to friends and family.  Coach Hanson said, “Despite Grant having several offers from NCAA Division 1 schools, he decided playing and studying at UBC was the right fit for him. He is a special player, a special person, which makes this a special day for UBC basketball.” Shephard, who scored 31 points and added 22 rebounds in that 2016 Provincial Final win over Tamanawis HS of Surrey, will also welcome the chance to play with Parker Simson, an Owls teammate.  Simson will be in his 2nd year at UBC after working through an injury, which kept him from both the Football and Basketball Thunderbirds.  Another Kelowna Owls star who has signed with the Thunderbirds is Mason Bourcier, a 6-4 guard with great credentials and high expectations.  He too had interest from NCAA schools, but will now join one of the best recruiting classes in UBC basketball history.

The T’Birds already announced the addition of 6-6 wing, Cam Morris, Burnaby (St. Thomas More HS) along with ‘ imports’  Grant Audu, a 6-4 guard from Thornhill, ON , who played at  Marist HS, New Jersey,  and 6-3 guard, Anthony McNish, Toronto, who was at Hillcrest Prep in Arizona.   (From UBC Athletics)

Dinos add power and finesse in their recruiting class

Rys Larry is a top rebounder, transferring to UC from Acadia.                    Photo –   Axemen Athletics

The Calgary Dinos are boasting a most productive recruiting year to date as they land 6-9 rebounding ace, Rhys Larry, a transfer from Acadia who will be entering his 4th year of eligibility.  Another key transfer is 3rd year 6-1 combo guard, Lucas Mannes,  from Chilliwack, BC, who averaged 18 ppg in his last year at Trinity Western.

A pair of high school stand-outs are also expected to make an immmediate impact at UC, with 6-2 point man, Andrew Milner (Antigonish, NS) a winner with his provincial U-17s at Summer Nationals, and 6-7 Mason Foreman (Winnipeg), who played last year for Orangeville Prep in the Toronto area, and is the son of former National Team forward, Jeff Foreman.

Calgary Coach, Dan Vanhooren says, ’We feel we’ve added top quality guys, with Rhys Larry bringing us leadership at the forward spot, and a proven scorer in Lucas Mannes.  We’re excited to have the young talent we see in both Andrew, a real floor leader, and Mason, who has size and a nice shooting touch.’

 Lethbridge Bolsters Their Lineup

Kyle Peterson, in CIS Nationals play vs Ottawa.

The Lethbridge Pronghorns recently announced 3 signees expected to give them a big boost in years to come. Lead guard, Kyle Peterson, was a 2 year starter at UVic, and had a red-shirt year in Lethbridge; he returns after a 2 year Mormon mission.  Saren Westrop, a 6-7 local high school star ( LCI ), played at Iona College, then transferred to Harcum JC (Pennsylvania).  Jeff Rodehutskors, a strong and promising 6-6 forward (Chestermere HS) , transfers fron Calgary, where he played last season.  Jeff will red-shirt in ’17-’18, but will join his younger brother Mark with the ‘Horns the following season.

U of L also announced the addition of Tanner McLachlan, 6-6 forward, from LCI,  Canyon Lewis, a 6-6 forward from Henderson, NV (* he is a Canadian citizen), and Nick Myndio, a 5-10 guard from Lethbridge, who starred with Chinook HS.  Boomer Heggie, a 6-0 guard at Raymond HS, will go on a church mission for 2 years, but plans to return to play for UL in 2019-20.

Griffins Coach, Eric Magdanz                            Photo – MacEwan Athletics

MacEwan Makes Moves to Strengthen Their Roster

After seeing the graduation and departure of 5 veteran roster players including stalwarts Denzel James, Thadius Galvez, and Keith Gerdes, Griffins Head Coach, Eric Magdanz, knew he had a big recruiting task ahead this past Spring.  The 4th year mentor has been successful in adding 7 new faces including, most recently, his 2nd British star in 2 years. 18 year old, Jay Carter, a 6-6 wing with the UK Jr Nationals, comes from Reading Rockets with exceptional 3 point shooting stats.

In April the Griffs signed 6 other young prospects … Lincoln Anderson, a 6-3 all-star with Cardston HS (AB), comes off a 2 year Mormon mission and a year’s knee re-hab … 6-8 Ben Niles (Kamloops – Valleyview) has the size, but also a good out-side touch … also 6-4 Moreau Amadou, Calgary -Sir Winston Churchill, Luke Harold, a 6-5 wing from Regina’s Campbell Collegiate, Marco Beasley, 6-7 forward, Edmonton – Ross Sheppard HS, and Dustin Gatzki (Westlock, AB) a 6-4 wing who had a year at Staples HS, Wyoming.

_________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime –

  • News this week on  NCAA games to be  hosted at U. Calgary this summer ...  on August 10 and 12 the Calgary Dinos will play the NCAA Div 1, Montana State Bobcats .  Also at UC, on August 11 and 13, it will be the Alberta Golden Bears taking on the Bobcats.

 

  • Great fun to be had this coming Saturday, May 27, as the UVic Vikes host a Ken Shields Roast !  Who better to skewer our old buddy Shields than former coaching rivals Don Horwood (U. Alberta), Jerry Hemmings (Brandon), and Ken Olynyk (Lethbridge) ?  The Vikes Hall of Fame Coach will also get ‘greetings’ from from former Vikes players including Robbie Parris, Gerald Kazanowski, and fiery mascot Jim ‘Mother’ Hubbard.  More details in this Times-Colonist story from Cleve Dheensaw.

 

 

 

These 7 Teams Look to Move Up in Canada West

 

 

Brandon Tull will be a senior leader for the Regina Cougars.      photo – Arthur Ward

 Regina – The Cougars go 9-11 and are good at their best, but are troubled by injuries in the 2nd semester.  Coach Steve Burrows will enter his 5th year at the helm, and faces the task of ‘renewing’ a roster which loses 3 veteran mainstays.  Travis Sylvestre, Stephen Shields, and Matt Augustine graduate, and more size will be crucial in the recruiting project.  The Cougs have dependable vets returning in Brandon Tull, Alex Igual, and Brian Ofori.  Burrows looks to the younger Hillis bothers, Ben and Samuel, and rookie star, Johneil Johnson to pick up some of the slack.  An infusion of talent, especially in the bigs, will be necessary if UR is to move up.

Thompson Rivers –   Coach Scott Clark loses a ‘franchise player’ in import forward, Volodymyr Iegorov, who graduates this Spring.  Clark could anticipate that challenge, but the veteran bench boss also has his rookie stand-out, Trent Monkman,  transferring to Victoria. The Wolf Pack, 8-12,  have been a play-off team in recent years, and Clark has worked successfully to develop his young talent. This coming season will test his resolve once more.  The Orange returnees include import guard, Derek Rhodes, strong forward, Luke Morris, guard, Michael Rouault, and scrappy point man, Madhu McConnell.  TRU will also be looking for some size in the recruiting process, and certainly more depth for this young group.

MRU’s import star, Josh Ross,  returns for his 5th year        Photo – Cougars Athletics

Mt. Royal –  The ‘Blue Cougars’ face a familiar challenge, as Coach Marc Dobell sees 2 big post men, Brett Layton, and Ray Goff leaving the roster along with 5th year guard, Derek Wolf .  Layton is wanting to start Law School, and Goff has had very tough nagging leg injuries, and is graduating early next year.  MRU does return guards Glen Yang, Noah Lewis, and Craig Martin along with import  scoring leader, Josh Ross, Ryan Cunningham, and forward, Nick Tancon.  Coach Dobell is waiting to announce his signees, and has not quite finished the process.  We do understand that L.J. Hegwood is looking to transfer in from SAIT, and that McNally HS (Calgary) star, 6-7 Diew Moses, may be headed to the Cougars as well.

MacEwan –  There will be significant change with the Griffins, as they say goodbye to Denzel James, Thomas Jereniuk, Cole Aikens, Keith Gerdes, and Tyler Wise as 5th year grads.  Thadius Galvez, their outstanding lead guard, is also on the move, and Coach Eric Magdanz is left with a major recruiting task.  Returnees Ryan Coleman, Harrison Lane, Adonis Montfort -Palomino, Ali Raza, and Atlas St. Paul-Butler will be counted on next Fall. The Griffs have younger players like British import, Jake Notice, along with 3rd year guard,  Tarik Scott, coming off an injury rehab, and a local red-shirt freshman, Deonte Doslov-Doctor.  Recent signees include Lincoln Anderson, a 6-3 guard from Cardston, AB, who comes off a 2 year Mormon  church mission, and 6-8, Ben Niles, from Kamloops (Valleyview Sr Sec).  Coach Magdanz is also excited about Dustin Gatski  (Westlock, AB), a 6-4 transfer after  1 year of Junior College in Wyoming, and Moreau Amadou  a 6-4 wing from   Sir Winston Churchill, Calgary.

Marcus MacKay will carry a big scoring load for the Timberwolves.

UNBC –  Starting last season at 4-4 last Fall, The T’Wolves struggled through 12 straight losses to finish at 4-16, well out of play-off contention.  They lose their slick guard, Rhys Elliot, along with Elliott Rowe, and Sam Zhang to graduation. Coach Todd Jordan will be looking to add some size and more punch to his roster this Spring and Summer.  The UNBC returnees should include big shooting guard, Marcus MacKay, lead guard, James Agyeman, Vaggelis Loukas, an active forward, and Anthony Hokanson, who is a skilled wing man.   Adam Pahl, a  6-6 wing from Okotoks (Foothills HS) , AB was announced in January, and he comes with high hopes.  Volodymyr Pluzhnikov, is a ‘tough-minded’ guard coming off the red-shirt list, and Jordan has a few more prospects he hopes to sign in the next few weeks.  “We need to get bigger, and to make big improvements in our rebounding”, says the 5th year Head man.

Trinity Western –  The Spartans, 3-17 last season, do not graduate any 5th years, and Coach Aaron Muhic suggests that his returnee list should include all of his current roster players. We have mentioned veteran guard, Tyus Allen, who is rehabbing his injured knee, but who will not be ready until at least the Fall of 2018.  The Spartans will return  import guard, Pogos Trunyan, their high scorer (15 ppg), along with 6-10 post Patrick Vandervelden (13 ppg/7.2 rebs), and Vartan Tanielian, a 12 ppg scorer at wing. Among his younger contributors will be guards Max Viitala, and Josiah Meppelink.  TWU have not announced any new signees or transfers.

UBC-Okanagan –  After an 8-12 record in 2015-16, the Heat cooled off to just 2-18 last season.  Coach Peter Guarasci, in his 5th year, loses guard Mitch Goodwin to graduation.  But, he also has 7 other roster players (Cam Friesen, Randy Jernidier, Ryan Morck, Austin Penrose, Buster Truss, David Manshreck, and Davide Ciancio) who will not return, which obviouly leaves a daunting task of recuiting this Spring. Aldrich Berrios, his high-scoring (17.6 ppg) guard is back for his 4th year, along with back-court rookies, Matt Lafontaine, and Tristan Matthews.  Noma Obeseki, an athletic small forward,  will be entering his 3rd year.  Owen Keyes, a 6’9” Kelowna Sr Sec. stand-out has already signed, and looks like a strong prospect. Jake Stokker, Penticton Sr. Sec  is another big man signee , details in this story from Kelowna Capital News 

_________________________________________________________________________

Overtime –

  • Mason Foreman, a 6-7 forward from Winnipeg, who most recently attended Athlete Institute Prep just outside Toronto, has signed with the Calgary Dinos for next Fall.  Mason’s father is Jeff Foreman, who was a 3-time CIS All-Canadian with the Winnipeg Wesmen (Great Plains Athletic Conference)  in 1992, ’93, and ’94. ( In 1994, Jeff was CIS Player of the Year, and he was also a member of the Canadian national team.)
  •  UVic will, later this week, induct two former basketball stars into their Vikes Hall of Fame. Spencer McKay , was a dominating post man for Vikes teams of the late 1980s – early 1990s, and Carol Turney-Loos, was a key to their 1980 National title.   More details in this Oak Bay News article   

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.

____________________________________________________________________________

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.

_______________________________________________________________________

 _______________________________________________________________________

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

______________________________________________________________________

 

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.

 

 

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   

 ___________________________________________________________________________

 

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

_________________________________________________________________________

Canada West  play-off grid – Sunday

Buenos Noches !

 

 

 

 

Home Teams Win on the Prairies

 

 

Regina captures a key game over TRU in the play-off race 

All 3 home teams won their Friday games at Prairie venues, with the Regina Cougars solidifying a claim on a play-off spot.  Calgary has slim hopes for a most favourable RPI placement, while Manitoba barely slides by a competitive MRU side.

Brandon Tull leads Regina to a clutch home win on Friday.                               photo – UR Athletics

at Regina 81  Thompson Rivers 54 –  The Green Cougars come out very aggressively, and stifle the TRU offense, turning the Wolves over a devastating 25 times. Brandon Tull is finishing his 5th year in good fashion, with 20 pts/ 10 rebs as Regina climbs to 8-11, tied with the ‘Pack. TRU’s big men, Luke Morris (15 pts/ 13 boards) and Volodymyr Iegorov (11 pts/ 10 rebs) both register a double-double, but the Pack are only 28% as a team from the floor tonight.  Box Score  Sat  at 8 pm

 at Victoria 86 Winnipeg 78 –  The Vikes (8-11) put together a most impressive 2nd half,  scoring 56 points to pull away from the Wesmen, who had a 39-30 lead after the opening 20.  Cleaner ball-handling and better rebounding from Victoria make a difference , and the home side hit 48% from the floor, with 12 treys to 10 for UW.  The season-long scoring leader for UVic, Grant Sitton rolls along with 25 points, while Scott Kellum continues his sharp  rookie season with 21 pts/ 5 assts.  Winnipeg, who drop to 12-7, have Sean Tarver scoring 22 pts, and Narcisse Ambanza hits 19 pts/ 5 rebs.  Box Score   Sat  7 pm

Thomas Coopers’ 27 points helps Calgary down MacEwan.  photo – David Moll -UC

at #6 Calgary 101 MacEwan 74 –  It is slow to catch fire tonight, but the UC offense clicks for 59 points in the final 20 minutes,  as Dinos defenders harass Mac’s ball-handlers for 25 turnovers. Thomas Cooper leads Calgary (15-4) with 27 pts/ 6 rebs, while Mambi Diawara shines with his 18 points/ 8 rebs/ 6 steals, as UC hits 53% from the floor. The Griffs (7-12) get some sharp-shooting from their tall, slim forward, Keith Gerdes, as his 20 pts come mainly from 5/6 from beyond the arc. The slick swing-man, Thadius Galvez counts 18 points/ 6 rebs. , but the Griffins cannot match the Dinos torrid pace on Friday.    Box Score  Sat  7 pm

at Manitoba 72  Mt Royal 71 –  The Bisons escape by the tips of their horns, as MRU storms from behind in the 3rd quarter, and leads for much of the 4th.  A free throw from Justus Alleyn of the Herd, with no time left on the clock, decides the issue for UM.  Missed free throws cost the Cougars, as they are 9/22 from the stripe, and the visitors cannot take advantage of a 19-10 turnover advantage over their hosts. Alleyn has 16 for Manitoba (11-8), and Keith Omoerah posts a double of 12 pts/ 11 boards.  Brett Layton doubles for the Cougars, with 17 points/ 12 rebs, and Josh Ross adds 14 plus 9 rebs/ 4 asst  Box Score    Sat 6 pm

#9 Saskatchewan 89 at UNBC 59  –  The Huskies maul the over-matched T’Wolves, as U of S hits 53% from the floor, 12/28 from outside the 3 point arc, and pound the glass for a 36-17 rebound advantage. Import guard, Lawrence Moore has a good shooting night for Saskatchewan, going 7/9 from the floor, and he adds 6 assts/ 7 steals. Jaylan Morgan tosses in 18 points for the ‘Dogs, who move up to 13-6 on the season.  UNBC fall to 4-15, as their high scorer is Rhys Elliott with 18 points.    Box Score   Sat   7 pm

#2 UBC  87 at  Trinity Western  67 –  It’s a 2 point game at the half, but it’s 26-9 UBC  in the 3rd frame, then 53 points in the 2nd half, which finish off the Spartans.  The teams combine almost equally for 41 turnovers in a fairly ragged contest. Jordan Jensen-Whyte leads the ‘Birds (18-1) with 18 points/ 6 assts, and rookie Isaiah Familia hits for 17 points, as he sees 29 minutes of play.  Trinity Western (3-16) have Josiah Allison counting 17 points, and Pogos Trunyan has 14, with 5 rebs/ 4 assists.  Box Score   Sat  at 7 pm

Fraser Valley 87 at UBC-O 72 –  Okanagan has it tied at 40 with the favoured Cascades at the half, but a 30-10 outburst by the visitors takes the air out of the home side.  52% from the field for UFV, as Manny Dulay scores 21, including 4/8 from outside.  Andrew Morris adds 17 off the bench, as Fraser Valley climbs to 10-9. UBC-O get 19 points/ 8 rebs/ 4 assts from Aldrich Berrios, and 13 points from rookie Matt Lafontaine, but they fall to 2-17.  Box Score   Sat at 7 pm

___________________________________________________________________________

In the East – 

Quebec – #8  McGill 99  UQAM  73

#1 Carleton 93  Queens 50, # 4 Ryerson 87  Toronto 73,  Lakehead 63  Guelph 62, #3 Ottawa 70  York 69, Nipissing 82 Laurentian 78, #5 Brock 72  Algoma 55

__________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime –

  • Tough travel conditions along the #1 through the Fraser Valley, and all the way up the Coquihalla to the Okanagan forced the UFV teams to wait until Friday morning before heading East for their games at UBC-O.  Sports Communications Director, Dan Kinvig tells us the Cascades Women’s and Men’s teams called to say they arrived at 4 pm.   That’s a short turnaround for the Women’s team who tipped off a 6 pm.
  • “We control our own destiny,” Vikes coach Craig Beaucamp said.“It’s very simple. We need to win. It’s not really that complicated. Sometimes you talk about must-win situations and it’s just a figure of speech. It’s reality for us. We have to have our best effort this weekend.”   From a Victoria Times-Colonist story by Cleve Dheensaw

All the Chips on the Table in These 2 Series

 

 

Two Key Series To Watch –

Regina’s Alex Igual will be a key figure in the series vs TRU            photo-  Regina Athletics

 

Thompson Rivers  (8-10) at Regina  (7-11) –  A sweep would be ‘party time’ for either squad, and guarantee a ply-off berth, and a split would allow TRU to move on, but potentially put Regina in a mathematical calculation for the last spot.  Regina have wins over Saskatchewan and Calgary, but lost to some non-playoff teams.  The Cougars have suffered through some key injuries to 5th year guard, Aaron McGowan, and 5th year post, Stephen Shields, neither of whom have been available down the 2nd semester stretch.  They are the more experienced crew in this match-up, and may have the leaders to get them a couple of big home wins.  TRU has lone senior, Volodymyr Iegorov, but also tough vets like 4th year Luke Morris, and 3rd year Mike Rouault.  Younger players like guardsTrent Monkman and Madhu McConnell are being asked to step up and make an impact.

Winnipeg (12-6)  at Victoria (7-11) –  The results here are crucial for the Vikes, as they try and grab a post-season spot, but will also effect the future of several other squads (Regina, TRU, MRU, MacEwan)  potentially.  Winnipeg will be guarding, somewhat, against complacency, or maybe just looking a week ahead to 1st round play-offs.  Both these teams are relatively young, with 1 graduating player each –  high scorer, Grant Sitton for the Vikes, and skilled guard,  Jamar Farley for the Ws.   Winnipeg has more depth on the perimeter, and ‘play small’ with big Ryan Oirbans surrounded by guards.  The Vikes Sitton is a 6-8 scoring machine, who is dangerous inside and out, and rookie guard Scott Kellum has been playing very well of late.  UVic has to have at least 1 win, and the Wesmen will look to tune up for an anticipated home play-off date.

_________________________________________________________________________

Scores from the East –

 Waterloo 96 at Western Ont 77 – There was a day  … quite some time ago … when Coach Don McCrae’s Warriors won 67%  of their ‘CIS’ games between 1971 and 1992.   Waterloo , under 2nd year Coach Justin Gunther are now threatening to make the OUA play-offs, after years of struggle.  They are 7-11, after going 1-19 last season.

at Windsor (11-9)  89 Laurier (10-10)  86 –   There are 2 sides to a dramatic, game- winning half-court  shot, such as the one the Lancers’ Mike Rocca tossed in last night in Windsor.  The winners are hugging, laughing, whooping, and pinching themselves.  The Hawks are left with the dazed stares, and a permanent mental scar.  (Do we over-state?)  Maybe, for some.  But, sadly, the losing can be every bit or more memorable than the winning.

Tonight Quebec – UQAM  at  #8 McGill

___________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime –

5th year UBC-O all-time scoring leader, Mitch Goodwin

  •   Mitch Goodwin, 6-2 shooting guard at UBC-O, unfortunately spent most of the 2nd half of his 5th year watching from the sidelines.  Goodwin, who is the school’s all-time leader in games played (93), and points scored (1204), struggled with injuries later in his career, and was forced to stop playing all together in mid-January. Goodwin, the former Kelowna High School star, and fellow 5th year vet, Cam Friesen, a 6-4 forward from Abbotsford, will be honoured at a Senior Night ceremony prior to UBC-O’s home game vs Fraser Valley on Saturday.   (From Cary Mellon, UBC-O Sports Information Director)
  • We have a flurry of comments following our last 2 posts, most of which relate to the new League structure, and the vicissitudes (twists and turns) of the broad-stroke RPI solution.  One of our favourite contributors / coaches, ‘Tyler from The Herd’ clarifies in one response to  the question, ‘Could UBC have been 20-0, and still not been 1st?’  Tyler tells us , “Absolutely. If we use the default settings on the RPI calculator, UBC would still be the #2 seed with a 0.6118 RPI, behind Alberta’s 0.6210 at 15-5.”    Beauty!
  • Another fan notes, emphatically, that UBC did, in fact , lose a game … to Saskatchewan, 95-78, on January 6, in Saskatoon.  So, let’s not get ahead of ourselves with a coronation of the T’Birds prior to the play-offs being completed.  After all … the Huskies lost to Regina, UFV, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Alberta.  We could go on, but the point is … on any given night, the result is in some doubt.
  • Carter Millar, 6-4 rookie forward , Regina Cougars, on what it’s like to play in Canada West,  “I love it,” he says. “The skill level (in Canada West basketball) is insane. It’s probably the most exciting thing that I’ve ever been a part of and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to have this opportunity. I’ve wanted to do this ever since I started watching basketball as a kid,” he says. “You play at halftime (of Cougars games) in the games in grade 4 or 5 and it’s, ‘Who are those guys? I want to be that guy when I grow up.’    From ROB VANSTONE, REGINA LEADER-POST, REGINA LEADER~POST
  • As the old TV ads from NCAA sport pointed out, university basketball players will be turning pro in something other than hoops.  The 5th year celebrations happening all through February at U-Sports schools are about the many achievements of these young people.  They include academic honours, career development, and the positive experience of being a team member.  Our very best to all 5th year student athletes.  The very best to all of you !

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

 ___________________________________________________________________________

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

___________________________________________________________________________

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).

 

____________________________________________________________________________

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.