Basi Latest to Go ‘Euro-Pro’

 

 

AJ Basi to Play Pro in Britain

Bisons’ grad, Amarjit Basi, will play in Newcastle, Britain.

The dream of a very young Amarjit Basi was to play basketball at a high level.  The 5th year graduated captain of the Manitoba Bisons has been moving on to a higher level since he was 9 and 10 years old.  After helping the Bisons, under Coach Kirby Schepp, to the 2017 U-Sport Nationals in Halifax, Basi, a slick ball-handler and deady outside shooter, recently signed with Newcastle in the British Div. 1 professional ranks.  (Story in the Winnipeg Free Press).

He joins many Canada West grads who are continuing their playing days with professional teams in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.  We wish AJ the best in Britain, and the same to UVic’s Grant Sitton (Slovakia), Calgary’s Thomas Cooper (Germany), and  Thompson River’s Josh Wolfram (Czech Republic).

 

New Canada West Campaign Prompts Logo Changes

The ‘New Canada West’ re-brand is yet another change  for what started as the Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and this is a whole League promotion to launch a new marketing effort.  The details of this new branding are itemized here at their new web-site.

As the League moves forward, so do several schools, with new logos for their teams.  On our  header you will see the up-dated looks for the Brandon Bobcats and the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.  We have also included the new logos for both the Mt. Royal Cougars and the UNBC Timberwolves in this story.

 

One of the most important things the League and it’s schools can do is to make a yearly effort to increase their appeal to potential fans.  University sports may deserve a bigger presence in mainline media than they currently receive, but it is encumbent upon the League and individual schools to become more active in capturing that market.

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NCAA vs U-Sports Scores   –

Hofstra (Div 1 – NY) 88 at McGill 76, Hofstra 99 at UQAM 87, Hofstra 110

at Bishops  51, Hofstra 85  at UQAM  62,   Siena (NY- Div 1) 79  at McGill 71

St. Francis (Brooklyn -Div 1)  75 at Concordia 66, Carleton 73  Siena  66,

McGill 80  St. Francis 67, Ottawa  80  Ramapo College (Div 3 – NJ)

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 Overtime – 

 

  •  Lethbridge signs highly-rated Edmonton guard, Awak Piom, at 6-5 , (Harry Ainlay High School), he was instrumental in helping the Titans win  back-to-back provincial championships in 2014 and 2015  Details from U of L

 

  • Nice story in the Kenora Miner and News about the U. Winnipeg Women’s Team, on a team-building weekend reaching out to young players in Kenora , Ontario   These community connections are an important part of every Canada West program!

 

 

Win over Chinese Taipei for Canada

 

 

 Canada 98  Chinese Taipei  61

Canada dominates the home side in front of a big crowd in this ‘consolation -side match.  Kaza Kajami-Keane and Connor Wood , both Carleton Ravens vets, played strong games in leading Canada’s offense. Kaajami-Keane notched a game-high 25 points, adding 6 assists and 4 steals at the other end.  Wood tallied 15 points on hot (5/9) shooting from 3 point ranged, and passed for 9 assists.  UBC’s Jordan Jensen – Whyte scored 13 points, and all 11 Canadian players dressed hit the score-sheet and played  at least 12 minutes.

Canada’s defense harassed the Taipei ball-handlers as Calgary’s David Kapinga had 5 steals and Kajami-Keane had 4.  UBC’s Conor Morgan was rested again, with his ankle injury, while Manitoba’s Justus Alleyn, UNB’s Javon Masters, and UC’s Kapinga were in the mix after sitting in the Germany game.

The championship quarter-finals featured close , competitive games, with the U.S out-gunning Israel 111-107, Latvia edging Germany 78-76, Lithuania nipping Argentina 72-70, and Serbia getting by Finland 85-84.   Canada plays the Czech Republic on Monday, then has one last game on Tuesday as Basketball competition closes out.   Box Score 

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NCAA vs U-Sports Scores   –

Friday – Carleton 70 Northeastern U (Div 1-Boston)  66

Saturday – Northeastern  77 Bishops 61

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Overtime – 

New brands for several schools in Canada West, along with a re-vamp of the new look for the League itself.  Here’s Mt. Royal Cougars fresh , furry face –

Alberta Claims Big Win Over Montana State

 

 

Bears Shoot Their Way to Impressive Win 

The Alberta Golden Bears made a ‘Summer statement’ with a  decisive 97-72 win over the touring Montana State Bobcats in Calgary on Sunday afternoon.  Bookend 26-12  opening and closing quarters sealed this win for the reigning Canada West champs, and handed the Bobcats (NCAA Div. 1 – Big Sky Conference) their only loss in 4 games in Canada.

Lyndon Annetts is hot from the outside in Bears win over MSU.  photo – U of A Athletics

The Bears shot the ball very well, and that improvement over their Friday night loss was a major factor … 49% from the floor vs 41% for MSU, and 74% (17/23) from the free throw line.  The veteran – laden U of A line-up had 4 players in double figures, led by 3rd year post man, Brody Clarke, with 24 pts/9 rebs, and 18 points on 6/9 from 3 point range by wing man, Lyndon Annetts.  2 other starters, Mamadou Gueye and Austin Waddoups, tallied 14 apiece.

These Summer games may just be exhibition tilts, but they can reveal the potential for the upcoming season.  MSU had played 4 games in 4 days, and chose to rest or limit a few of their top players, but let’s not discount a strong showing by an obviouly deep Alberta team.  Coach Barnaby Craddock has another definite contender for League honours this season.   Box Score

 

Scores from other Sunday games –

at Brock 85  Jacksonville (FL)  95

Binghamton (NY)  74  Toronto 61

Some upcoming games this week – McGill is in Costa Rica to play Kent State (OH), Lamar (TX) , and 2 games vs Texas – El Paso.  Carleton travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Vanderbilt (TN)  of the SEC (2 games), N. Colorado (Big Sky), and James Madison (PA).  Brock is also in the USVI  to play those same 3 teams.  Trinity Western is at home for a single game on Wednesday vs Saint Martins , a Div 2 NCAA school from Lacey, WA.

 

Overtime –

  • The Manitoba Bisons announced the signing of Riki Zimbakov, a 6-1 guard from John Taylor Collegiate in Winnipeg.
  • Marc Dobell, Head Coach at  Mt. Royal, was disappointed earlier this summer upon learning that talented recruit Diew Moses (Calgary, Bishop McNally) failed to qualify academically, and will not be with the Cougars after all.
  • The Calgary Dinos have reportedly signed 6-1 guard, Angelo Mbituyamana (Calgary – Bishop O’Byrne).  ““We like Angelo’s quickness, pace of play, and ability to get defensive touches”, said Head Coach Dan Vanhooren.

 

 

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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 

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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.

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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.

 

 

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 !

 

 

 

 

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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 !