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 ….

 

East to West, West to East

 

 

Tournaments bring some intriguing inter-league play

Early returns as we head into October play ... For all of the other 46 U-Sports teams, it is ‘reassuring’ to see that the Carleton Ravens appear to be back to familiar territory. (13 of the last 15 National titles have been won by Carleton!)  The Ravens, despite a scare in their Friday opener with Concordia (82-79 last 2 minute win), did sweep 3 games in the Guy Vetrie Memorial in Victoria.

Javon Masters, UNB, ‘Fillin’ it up’! photo – UNB Athletics

There are challengers, of course, and we will have to let more games play out this month before we anoint the Blackbirds.  In thee AUS … UNB wins their own Eric Garland Tournament over Saint Marys, UQAM, and Cape Breton, with the highlight being Javon Masters’ 45 point outburst vs the Capers.  Atlantic observers suggest it may be St. FX taking a run this season, but it’s usually a free-for-all, so we hold fire for a few weeks.

Ryerson Rams ace, Ammanuel Diressa

In the OUA and other points East, for detailed analysis readers would be best served by referencing Mark Wacyck’s excellent coverage in his  CanHoops.ca      Ottawa looks good in an 85-70 road win over Bishops,  while both Ryerson and Brock are poised to show their strength, and Windsor has a fair string of wins going.  In the ‘Q’ , Laval may be right in the mix, as they start well in a pair of road wins in Ontario (at Laurier, McMaster).  The Stingers followed their tight loss to Carleton with strong wins over both Guelph and Victoria McGill plays in Calgary this week, and they must be regarded as the Q favourites until someone knocks them off.

Now for Canada WestLethbridge is a 101-71 winner at home vs UNBC,

Dejon Burdeaux, Lethbridge lead guard

and the ‘Horns are sporting a ‘post-free’ line-up with some fresh new talent to make them one of the teams to watch in Canada West.  The Timberwolves played 3 games on the weekend, with a split at Mt. Royal on Fri/Saturday.

One of the biggest stories in the West has to be the changing roster for the Saskatchewan Huskies.  The ‘Dogs hammer Briercrest College in their traditional warm-up last Thursday, but they do not have ‘All-League’ star Shane Osayande, guard Chan De Ciman, forward Mack Burns, nor swingman, Jaylan Morgan.  More to come … (we still await the release of team rosters for many of the 17 teams.)

4th year guard, Jordan Charles, is back for the Vikes.

UBC-O had a close one at McMaster, then not so much with Toronto and WesternWinnipeg lost 2 competitive games at Lakehead, but the Wesmen have a core of solid returnees.  The UVic Vikes have a number of new faces, but they are a ‘work in progress’, as are most Canada West teams over the next few weeks.  Too early to tell, but Alberta, UBC, Calgary, and Lethbridge appear to be the most obvious contenders.

 

 

The schedule this week-  What a great weekend  of inter-League play ! 

Calgary Dinos host Acadia, McGill, and McMaster this weekend in one of several inter-league tournaments.

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

Friday, Oct 6      –  Calgary Cup … Calgary Acadia,  McMaster  McGill

Lethbridge at Medicine Hat Coll, at U of M … Manitoba  Algoma, Winnipeg Laurentian,  at UBC Invitational …  UBC  Bishops, Alberta Waterloo

Concordia hosts in Montreal … Stingers vs Regina,  York Dalhousie

Cape Breton’s Fall Classic – Capers vs St. FX, UPEI   SAIT (Calgary)

Saturday  , Oct 7 –   at UC …  Calgary  McMaster, Acadia McGill , at UBC … T-Birds  Waterloo,  Alberta  Bishops, in Winnipeg … Wesmen  Algoma , Manitoba  Laurentian,  in Montreal … Concordia  Dalhousie, Regina  York. at Cape Breton … Capers  UPEI , St. FX  SAIT  ,   Also … Saskatchewan at Ryerson  ,  Lethbridge vs Medicine Hat,  Trinity Western and UBC-O

Sunday , Oct 8 –   Victoria vs Waterloo,   at CBU … Capers  SAIT, St. FX  UPEI,  at Concordia … Stingers  York,  Regina  Dalhousie

Final 4 ‘Wide Open’ – Friday Semi-Finals

 

 

Berths in U-Sports Nationals Up for Grabs

One win away.  For the 4 teams in this week’s Final 4, their clearest focus may well be the one major step they have to take to get to the National Championship tournament in Halifax on March 9-12.   Win Friday, and you’re in.

This makes for as intense a game as they will have played all year.  The host Calgary Dinos won last year’s Canada West Final, and went on to reach the championship game vs Carleton last March in Vancouver.  The largely veteran Dinos are aiming for a repeat appearance, but will have a real tussle with the Manitoba Bisons. The Herd have not played in a National Final 8 Championship since 1985, and they are aching to seize this opportunity.

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have had fairly recent runs to a Nationals Tournament, with Alberta in 2014 and Saskatchewan in both 2014 and 2015.  The Bears and Huskies split their regular season series in Saskatoon in early February, and their Friday tip-off at 3 pm will continue a fierce rivalry .

5th year Huskies forward, Trevor Severinski, hopes to find some magic against the Golden Bears                  Photo – Huskies Athletics

# 9 Saskatchewan Huskies  vs #8  Alberta Golden Bears –  Saskatchewan are worried about the Bears’ ability to put up points, and Alberta’s staff will be devising strategies to defend the post combo of Shayne Osayande and Matt Forbes.  The 3 point shot could obviously be a difference maker, as it has been for Canada West’s best long-range shooting team, U of A,  much of the regular season.

The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye shoots 41.5% from 3 point range, and he’s the 5th best of the GB’s shooters from outside the arc ! (Gueye is 12th in CW, and, of course, he has a few other skills to bring to the party.)  Austin Waddoups 46.8%, Andre Kelly 44.7%, Geoff Pippus 42.6%, and Ivan Ikomey 42.2%.  Hot.  And the Bears still have the inside threat of all-star post man, Brody Clarke.

The Huskies Osayande can take over a game.  He’s a walking, leaping, shot-blocking, double-double.  And his muscular ‘mate,  Forbes, has that 5th year zeal as he steps on the stage for one of his last performances. The ‘Dogs may live and die with the 2 -way games of their guard corps, Lawrence Moore, Jaylan Morgan, and Alex Unruh.  Getting Morgan back is vital to their cause, as is the rejuvenation of the offensive threat posed by ‘small forward’, Trevor Severinski.  This 5th year shooter has found his shooting eye at just the right time.

This is a ‘street fight’ kind of game, which we see as a toss-up.  Shake hands and go to a neutral corner.   It’s a matinee game time of 3 pm .   Canada West TV

Calgary’s Mitch Ligertwood should be a key figure vs the Bisons.                   Photo- David Moll – UC Athletics

#5 Calgary Dinos  vs  Manitoba Bisons –  The Bisons come off a 2 game road sweep of the previously 25-1 UBC Thunderbirds.  They should be on a ‘Wanted Poster’ !  Armed and dangerous !  The 4 pillars of this team, Ilarion Bonhomme, A.J. Basi, Keith Omoerah, and Justus Alleyn averaged 33.5 minutes apiece, and tallied 88% of the Herd’s points in Vancouver.

Bonhomme is most dangerous as a penetrator, and Alleyn has been their ‘drop dead’ scorer for most of the season.  Omoerah is a multi-faceted weapon, with his rebounding, scoring, and leadership.  Basi has been a streaky shooter, but has a knack at crunch time.  The Dinos will know that they can’t give him too much free room.  Off the bench Coach Kirby Schepp utilizes veterans Malik Irwin and Joey Nitychoruk along with all-rookie forward  James Wagner.

Calgary will be playing a variety of ‘small ball’, very likely.  Mitch Ligertwood had a strong series in the post against TRU, and he has the experience from last year’s Final 4 to inspire his efforts.  The ‘overall team effort’ is the key factor, according to Coach Dan Vanhooren, and he looks to the defensive skills of perimeter  players led by ultra-quick David Kapinga,  shooting guard Thomas Cooper, and his side-kicks, the gritty Jhony Verrone, the spidery, energetic, Mambi Diawara, and skilled rookie, Max Eisle.

Veterans Dallas Karch and Jasdeep Gill are 5th year players who are wanting to go out as winners, and they have both shown an ability to make an impact.  This match-up produced a split on the season’s opening weekend at UC;  we should expect a rousing affair, and quite possibly a ‘down-to-the-wire’ finish.           8 pm on Canada West TV

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In the East –    

Carleton’s Connor Wood, OUA Player of the Year.
photo – Ottawa Citizen

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 has  #1 Carleton vs  #4 Brock at 4:50 Eastern time , and #3 Ottawa vs #2 Ryerson  7:50  from Carleton U. in Ottawa   Both on  OUA TV   The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.   For more detail, check in with Mark Wacyk’s comprehensive  CANhoops.ca  blog, with great OUA coverage.

Atlantic  –   The festive annual tradition of the Atlantic Tournament at the Halifax Scotia Bank Centre will tip-off on Friday with the two Quarter-Finals –  Acadia vs  Memorial  at 6:30  Atlantic time , and  St. Mary’s vs  St. FX  at 8:30.  Both of these games are available live on AUS TV    .   Friday’s winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)  with the championship final going Sunday at 4:30.   Dalhousie will be the host team for the U-Sports Nationals.

Quebec –   Top seeded McGill will host the RSEQ Tournament in Montreal starting Friday as well  – The Redmen meet  4 seed, Laval, in one game, and Concordia plays UQAM in an all-Montreal affair in the other semi.  The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

 

Overtime –

  • There is some heated discussion surrounding the one ‘At-Large or ‘Wild-card’ spot in the March 9-12,  U-Sports Final 8 Nationals  to be awarded by a Coaches Committee after play this Sunday.  We wrongly suggested that Canada West has a rule that only Final 4 teams can be considered.  Apparently not, so UBC is able to receive consideration, despite having lost 2 straight to Manitoba in CW Quarter-Finals.  Who knows how this will go?  The results this weekend will be a big factor, of course.  It seems to suggest in the U-Sports Final 8 Selection Criteria  that teams advancing further down the play-off trail be placed in a category 1 ‘cluster’ of teams for consideration.  This is one of the sections which lends more subjectivity to the exercise.
  •  Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren, on his feelings about 4th year guard, David Kapinga’s absence from the CW all-star list.   “Vanhooren was pleased with Kapinga’s performance, calling him an “unrecognized all-star.”  “It’s a shame that a player with that level of talent doesn’t get recognized by our league in that fashion,” he said. “I think that he’s clearly one of the better players in the league and he showed that in the fourth quarter (in last Friday’s win over TRU) . He’s an all-star in my mind.”   From a story in UC’s student newspaper, The Gauntlet. 
  • Forward Lars Schleuter is side-lined for the Dinos

  • Two significant absences last week as their teams qualified for the  Final 4  were  Jaylan Morgan of Saskatchewan  and Lars Schleuter of Calgary.   Huskies Coach Barry Rawlyk suggests, “ He’s worked hard to recover, and made significant progress, so  we are expecting Morgan to be back in the line-up for the Semi-Final Friday vs Alberta.”  Schleuter, however, doesn’t expect to be in action this week for the Dinos, and he said “It’s tough to watch from the sidelines, but I have confidence in my teammates this week”.

 

 

 

Winnipeg Teams to Meet in Semi

 

Justus Alleyn will lead the Bisons in their semi-final vs Winnipeg.

Justus Alleyn will lead the Bisons in their semi-final vs Winnipeg.  photo  UM Athletics

Semi-Finals Set in Winnipeg –

Lakehead  72  Brandon  64 –  The Thunderwolves advance to the semi-finals of the Wesmen Classic as they beat Brandon, despite trailing by 2 at the half.  Kache Kopec led Lakehead with 17 points (5 treys).  Henry Tan and  Brandon Persad each had 15. The Bobcats’ Earl Thompson Jr put up a 23 point/13 rebound double. Lakehead meets Acadia in the one semi final.  Box Score

Acadia 84  MacEwan 82  –  Up 8 at the half, the Griffins MacEwan  were out-scored 50-40 by the Axemen in the second half. the Axemen’s Kyle Arsenault hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to crush Mac’s hopes. GMU out-rebounded Acadia 52-36, but scored just 5/10 free throws to 16/25 for the Axemen. AU’s Arsenault  had a game high 27 points, including 6 from beyond the arc, and Erik Nissen had 17 points/ 8 rebounds.
MacEwan had 5 players in double-digits led by Keith Gerdes’s 18 points/ 9 boards.      Box Score

Winnipeg  74  NAIT 63 – Jamar Farley led the Wesmen with 15 points , with William Sesay adding 13 points and nine rebounds. The Wesmen led 41-26 at the half, and held off a 3rd quarter NAIT run to secure their spot in the All-Winnipeg semi-final vs the Bisons.  Box Score
Manitoba  87 Lethbridge 77 –  The Herd got out front early on and stayed there for the full 40 minutes; Justus Alleyn led Manitoba with a game high 22 points, and Keith Omoerah had 21, while Wyatt Anders of the Bisons nabbed a game-high 15 rebounds. Rob Olsen led Lethbridge with 19 points, and Brandon Brine 15. Box Score  


Ranked teams Go Down at the  Laval Tourney –
 New Brunswick 87  #7 Calgary 85  –   Close, high-scoring affair, as the Dinos couldn’t quite match the Reds in the  final 2 minutes , as the the Laval Tournament tips – off.  12 UNB treys vs only 5 for Calgary, plus 20 Dinos turnovers to 14 by the Reds hurt the UC chances.  Javon Masters scored 24 to lead UNB, while  Thomas Cooper had a game-high 27 for Calgary.

Laval registers big upset over #1 Ottawa.

Laval registers big upset over #1 Ottawa.

Laval 87  #1 Ottawa  77 –  Shocker !  The Rouge et Or claim a big upset win, as a 21-10 2nd quarter dooms the cold-shooting  (33% FG) Gee-Gees.  Laval, in contrast, hits 49%, and scores 15/27 free throws vs 1/6 for UO. Karl Belanger leads Laval with  23 points, and Alexandre Leclerc adds 17 plus 8 rebs. Mike L’African is high man for Ottawa with 21 points. Not predicted by anyone, and this will get the ‘experts’’ attention!
 >>Calgary meets Ottawa and Laval plays UNB in Quebec City on Tuesday.


In the U.S.-logo_handler
Biola U. (CA)  55    Alberta  43 –  A cool shooting touch from both teams as the Eagles’ defense dominates . Brody Clark scores 17 points and claims 11 rebs. for the Bears, who were just 30% from the floor as a team. Box Score
‘ Future College’ 114  Regina   112 –  no stats … a ‘defensive struggle’ !


 

Overtime –

  • Fans on Vancouver Island can see the Victoria Vikes in 2 games this week at the Carsa Centre – Tuesday, the 29th at 2 pm vs Simon Fraser … then, Thursday, the 31st at 1 pm the Vs welcome Coach Peter Guarasci and his UBC-O Heat.  Admission to both games is by a donation  to the food bank.

Wesmen Tourney, A True Classic

 

 

A popular semi-final

A popular semi-final for next Tuesday night would match the hometown Manitoba Bisons and the Winnipeg Wesmen.             photo –  Wesmen Athletics

The 49th Annual Winnipeg Wesmen Classic – Dec. 28-30

Who says Winnipeg is no fun in Winter? !  Hard -core hoops fans can take in the longest running university tournament in Canada, the Wesmen Classic, which runs next Monday-Wednesday, December 28-30.  Started as ‘The Golden Boy’ Tournament  in 1967 by the first Wesmen Coach, Vic Pruden, the name changed in 1977 to link it more closely with the U. of Winnipeg, and it has become a huge community highlight. The 8 – team University Tournament is the feature event, but there is much more for Winnipeg’s basketball followers at UW as part of the Holiday ‘hoop-fest’.wesmen5 copy

Athletic Director, Dave Crook, (who coached the Ws to a pair of ‘Classic’ titles) and his UW  Athletics staff are very busy, as they also host an 8 – team  High School Varsity tournament and a 16 – team Jr. Varsity tournament at their downtown campus as well.  The JVs competed on Dec. 11/12, and the finals go on Dec. 27. The HS Varsity play goes  from the 27th-30th, with their semi-finals and finals ‘rubbing shoulders’ with the CIS games at the Duckworth Centre. All results are available at www.wesmen.ca .

Here are the two halves of the draw, with games on opening night, Monday, Dec. 28 … Winnipeg looks to beat NAIT, and face the Lethbridge – Manitoba winner in one bracket.  On the other side,  Brandon hopes to improve on their record when they meet Lakehead, and MacEwan has a challenge with Acadia, who travel all the way from Wolfville, NS. (The Axemen are the busiest team in the CIS over the holidays, as they fly back home in time to play in the Shoveller Memorial as well.)

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Check out the biggest basketball party in Western Canada in this complete Wesmen Classic Media Guide. Some extras – ‘Santa’s High Flyin’ Slam Jam’ – one player from each university team … High school players are in the ‘Top Gun Shoot-out’, a 3-pt shooting contest. Every game in the University Classic will be web-cast on Canada West TV.

 

Overtime –

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  • The Rod and Joan Shoveller Memorial Tournament, hosted by the Dalhousie Tigers in Halifax is another annual 8-team event, this year running Jan. 1-3.   Competing teams are Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, UPEI, St. FX, Acadia, Concordia (Montreal), and Mt. St. Vincent. Details from Dal Sports
  • RTEmagicC_logo-Rouge-et-Or_pngThe Laval Rouge et Or Tournoi  is a 4- team round-robin tourney with the hosts, Laval, along with the  #7 Calgary Dinos, #1 Ottawa Gee-Gees, and the New Brunswick Reds – Dec. 28-30 at the Centre PEPS in the Quebec City suburb .
    (There is no web-cast of these games from Quebec).
  • The Trinity Western Spartans got in some pre-Christmas action down in Hootie-2Klamath Falls, Southern Oregon.  Sparties vs Oregon Tech – game one on Dec. 22 –  90-77 in favour of the  Oregon Tech Hustlin’ Owls … for TWU, Lucas Mannes (Chilliwack, B.C.) had 32 points and 10 rebounds, Kelvin Smith (Los Angeles) with 14 points and six rebounds.  In game 2 on Dec. 23, the Owls dominated in a 75-43 drubbing, as Tech Coach, Danny Miles, credits his ‘Hustlin’ Owls defense, which held the Spartans to just 29% from the floor.
    (Thanks to TWU’s Scott Stewart, Sports Information Director,for the recaps).
  • A good look around the CIS at the half-way mark of the season from North Pole Hoops’ Charles Blouin-Gascon, with comment on the continued fine play of Carleton and Ottawa, the emergence of McGill as a #3 ranked team from the’Q’, and Calgary’s Thomas Cooper as the top newcomer in Canada this year.

CIS Standings – East to West

CIS Standings From the Atlantic to the Pacific-

We are finishing up semester 1 exams in schools across the country, and most teams have had somewhat limited work-out / practice schedules.  For action prior to that break, we take a  look at the league standings for the different conferences and divisions around the CIS.  They show a variety of scheduling, and an occasionally complicated (Atlantic – 4 point games ?) way of determining standings.

Jevon Masters and the UNB Reds are 'in the mix' as they chase an AUS title.

Jevon Masters and the UNB Reds are ‘in the mix’ as they chase an AUS title.                                       photo – UNB Athletics

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As per usual in the AUS, we have a mix of results, with the expectation that home court and injury status may be as important as any other factors. One of the oddities in the Maritimes is that they do not have as many ‘traveling refs’, and therefore, there is the perception of particular difficulty in winning as a visitor in some gyms. (PEI and Memorial seem to be the least ‘welcoming’ venues for the away squads.)  One team emerges in March … but who can pick a favourite at this stage?

 


Daniel Ogundokun and the McGill Redmen are the class of the 'Q' at the break.

Dele Ogundokun and the McGill Redmen are the class of the ‘Q’ at the break.                              photo – McGill Athletics

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The ‘Q’, our ’boutique league’ of the CIS,  has a 12 game regular season, and a tidy little play-off round of a one game 2 vs 3 semi, with the winner playing #1 for the Cup. Stranger things have happened, but this season looks to have the McGill Redmen as the dominant team. No one else has beaten Ottawa !  So we pencil McGill into the 1 RSEQ slot in the CIS Final 8 in Vancouver.


 

OUA Rules – Until They Don’t

Caleb Agada leads a powerful #1 ranked Ottawa team. Photo - UO Athleics

Caleb Agada leads a powerful #1 ranked Ottawa team.                       Photo – UO Athleics

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Ottawa and Carleton are favoured to play for the OUA title, and the CIS Championship in March. They may well do this, and it would surprise us if they weren’t ranked 1 and 2 entering the OUA playoffs. We’re not sure they’re as good as last year’s squads, however.

 

 

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The surprise team in the OUA may be the Queen’s Golden Gaels, who look like a  contender at this stage. But, Queen’s has yet to play some of the tougher teams, including  Ryerson, who will be there in the playoffs, with both York and Toronto scrambling for the last spot.

 

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Until they lost at Queen’s the Brock Badgers looked like one of the hot teams.  It would appear to be them or their close rivals, the McMaster Marauders, who should be on top at season’s end in this group. Lakehead and Guelph can fight it out for the 3rd playoff spot.

 

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The standings are a bit confusing in the West, with all 3 top teams having consistency issues.  There is also the tougher schedule played by Western (losses to both the Ravens and the Gee-Gees). Look for Western and Windsor to be 1 and 2, with Laurier beating their cross-area rivals, Waterloo, for the 3rd playoff spot.

 


Jordan Jensen-Whyte and his UBC teammates will be at home for the CIS Final 8.

Jordan Jensen-Whyte and his UBC teammates will be at home for the CIS Final 8.                           Photo – UBC Athletics

 

Canada West Playoffs a ‘Torture Test’ –

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Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 1.18.24 PMJust as a reminder, this is what’s ahead for the 17 school, 2 Division Canada West.  It’s the longest and most involved playoff structure in the country.  We are assuming that UBC, the CIS host in March, plus 2 other playoff ‘survivors’ will be in that Final 8 on March 17-20 in Vancouver.

7 Pioneer Division teams and 3 Explorer teams are in …
Week 1 Play in Series (Best 2 of 3) at higher seed, with Series 1: P6 (#9) @ E3 (#8)
Series 2 is  P7 (#10) @ P5 (#7).
Week 2  are the 1/4 Finals (best 2 of 3, of course)  … A) Winner of Series 1 @ P1 (#1)
B) Winner of Series 2 @ E1 (#2), C) P4 (#6) @ P2 (#3), D) E2 (#5) @ P3 (#4)
Week 3  we get the CW Final 4 at the home of the highest seed.

More on Canada West’s post- Christmas schedule and expectations later ….


Overtime –

TWU copy

  • We have a pair of pre-Christmas games for Trinity Western, as they travel to Klamath Falls, Oregon to play a pair with the Oregon Tech Owls on Dec. 22 and 23. After the New Year , the Spartans host the NW Indian College (Bellingham, WA).

 

  • Recruiting is in full swing, with high school / club / college players in action across the country.  Of course, it’s also a pursuit of talented, dependable import players, who might vault a CIS school up into immediate contention. Since the move by the CIS to allow 3 imports in the line-up, Canada West, in particular, has seen an influx of foreign players. Quickly, who are the top 3 new import players in the League this season?  More in a future post on the import quota and it’s effect on ‘local’ recruiting.

 

 

Top 2 Teams Play in Calgary

 

Can Phil Barndt and his Dinos teammates get the best of the visiting UVic Vikes ?

Can Phil Barndt and his Dinos teammates get the best of the visiting UVic Vikes ?

 

The # 6 Ranked Vikes are at # 10 Calgary in This Week’s Feature Series

It’s hard to pick a favourite in the Pioneer Division in Canada West as , each week, we get ‘upsets’, hard-fought split series, and unpredictable results.  No team has convinced us that they’re clearly number 1.  (That’s with apologies to the 12-0 Explorer leaders, the Fraser Valley Cascades –  they just don’t have the same level of competition).

Victoria are a 1/2 game behind Calgary going into the weekend, and the Vikes seem to be the team  that CIS coaches suspect might come out on top out West when the dust settles in March.  Calgary had a strong 1st half of the season, but now face a ‘Murderers Row’ of teams to finish the schedule –  UVic, at UBC, 1 at home vs Alberta, then at Saskatchewan.  Rugged.  The Dinos will get the full treatment from a perennially stingy Vikes defense, and have to respond with an exceptional effort to get results this Friday/Saturday.

We have Canada West games starting  Thursday – 

Winnipeg Wesmen (6-6) at Brandon Bobcats (1-13) – This is the opener of their home and home series this week, with the 2nd game Saturday in Winnipeg.  Fresh off an intense weekend at Victoria, the Ws need to keep their focus against the lowly ‘Cats.  These

Brandon's Kenonte Ramsay -  photo by MacKenzie Berry

Brandon’s Kenonte Ramsay – photo by MacKenzie Berry

provincial rivalry games somehow draw out more motivation, and can produce improbable results. Saying that, we note that Winnipeg has won 10 of the last 12 meetings.  The Wesmen have Jelane Pryce scoring 17 ppg, and Travis Krahn seems to have found the range recently in this last semester of his 5th year. Brandon shot it well at UBC, but turnovers and a rebounding deficit torpedoed their chances.  The Bobcats’ 5th year import guard, Kenonte Ramsay (16 ppg) has been stellar of late.

Friday –

Vikes big man, Chris McLaughlin

Vikes big man, Chris McLaughlin                              Photo – Ali Lee, UVic

#6 Victoria Vikes (9-3) at #10 Calgary Dinos (10-3) –  Last January the Vikes pummeled the Dinos 92-64, and UVic has won  4 of the last 5 games between these teams.  This series may decide top spot in the Division, but the top 4 or 5 teams are so close now, that it may not, either.  (Thanks for that vague analysis!)  Calgary’s inside defense will be examined by Victoria’s aim of getting the ball to 6-10, Chris McLaughlin (19 ppg, 10 rebs).  Matt Letkeman and Phil Barndt’s ability to stay out of foul trouble could be key to the Dinos fortunes here.  Marcus Tibbs should be back for the Vikes, and he will help their attack.  How will Calgary fare on offense against the Vikes tenacious D ?

#8 Saskatchewan Huskies (8-4) at Manitoba Bisons (9-5) – Is Manitoba a contender this season ?  We think so, but they’ll have to prove it against a Saskatchewan team that’s beaten the Herd  10 of the last 11 times out !  The Bisons may have the strength inside to fend off Matt Forbes, Conner Burns and company … Manitoba’s Wyatt Anders is 2nd in CW rebounding at 10.2 rebs/pg, and he gets help from Alfreeman Flowers (6.4 rpg), and Jon Alexander (5.5 rpg).  Ben Baker is the ace for Saskatchewan , with his 7.8 rebs from the guard spot.  We would bet the games are in the 80s, and we may well get a split.

Alberta Golden Bears (7-6)  at Regina Cougars (7-7) –  The Bears and Cougars are in the ‘pack of chasers’ in the Division race at this point, and both teams will dream of a sweep to help them move upstairs.  Regina has won just 1 of 5 games vs Alberta in 3 seasons, and despite the home court, they go in as ‘under-Cougars’.   The Bears, the defending Canada West champs,  have the experience (Ken Otieno, Mamadou Gueye, Joel Friesen, Youssef Ouahrig), and a recent tradition of winning, but have been up and down this campaign.  The Cougars, with the League’s scoring leader , Jonathan Tull (20.2 ppg), along with younger brother Brandon (15 ppg), and Travis Sylvestre (13 ppg), are a more confident team, and may give U of A all they want, and more.

UBC Thunderbirds (7-5) at Trinity Western Spartans (1-11) –  The Spartans come off a bye week and step right into the path of a fast-moving freight in the form of the surging T-Birds, who’ve won 6 in a row, and have their eyes on further glory.  Could TWU catch UBC looking ahead to ‘bigger, more dangerous prey’ ?  Perhaps, but the disparity in recent form may be far too great to make a difference.  Tommy Nixon, Conor Morgan, Brylle Kamen, and Jordan Jensen-Whyte have this Thunderbirds team playing like some of their better teams of the past.  Trinity hasn’t shown that they have enough support for Justin Bakuteka, and their defense will have trouble containing the ‘Birds.

Explorer Division  –

UNBC's relentless forward, Devin McMurtry, will be a tough match-up for Mt. Royal.

UNBC’s relentless forward, Devin McMurtry, will be a tough match-up for Mt. Royal.                       photo-  UNBC Athletics

UNBC Timberwolves (5-7) at Mt. Royal Cougars (6-6) –  Here are 2 teams fighting for the 3rd and final playoff spot (10th seed in CW) in the Division.  The Cougars have home court, and come off 2 wins at UBC-O, and they may have found their offensive mojo.  “We shared the ball better last week … we got (or chose) better shots”, says Coach Marc Dobell. They also got a super weekend from their ‘Little – Big Man’, James Lefebvre, who posted 44 pts / 14 rebounds in the 2 games;  Lefebvre’s challenge this week will be to combat the power of the ‘Wolves big post man, Francko Kouagnia (15.7 ppg / 6.6 rebs).  UNBC also has the brawn of Devin McMurtry (8.5 rebs), and MRU has to get all hands on deck to do battle on the boards.

MacEwan Griffins (4-8) at Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack (7-5) –  TRU forward, Josh Wolfram, will be getting a lot of attention from the Griffins defense, with his League -best 10.7 rebounds and 19.3 ppg.  Mac’s Ryan May and company will have their hands full.  One of Canada West’s under-rated players is Reese Pribilsky, the 4th year Wolf Pack point man from Victoria’s Oak Bay HS; Pribilsky averages 11 ppg, 4.2 assists, and has a 2.0 asst/turnover ratio. MacEwan counters with another relatively anonymous character in Denzel James, a 3rd year, 6-2 wing from Edmonton, who  scores 18 ppg, delivers 2.8 assists, and 1.4 steals.

Okanagan Heat (2-10) at #7 Fraser Valley Cascades (12-0) –  The spirit may be willing for the Heat, but they are up against a buzz-saw here with the Cascades on their home court.  UFV are an experienced crew, with Manny Dulay, Kevon Parchment, Jasper Moedt and their predecessors  having reached the Canada West Final Four the past 3 seasons. UBC-O are the youngest team in the League, and, even with a possible rookie of the year – Aldrich Berrios at point guard – the Heat can’t match the Cascades. Okanagan will hope to get a strong team performance and keep it close.

Lethbridge gets a bye this week

Saturday in Canada West –

Pioneer – Victoria at Calgary, Brandon  at Winnipeg, Saskatchewan at Manitoba, Alberta at Regina, UBC at Trinity Western

Explorer – UNBC at Mt. Royal, UBC-O at Fraser Valley, MacEwan at Thompson Rivers

 

CIS Scores From the East –  

Tues –  Cape Breton 83  St. FX  65

Weds –  Guelph 92  Waterloo 60,  Acadia 72  Saint Marys 62

Tonight we have … a downtown Montreal affair with UQAM at Concordia.

Friday’s  ‘Big Games in the East ‘ – 

The Reds are the top team in the Atlantic.

The Reds are the top team in the Atlantic.

A 4 pt game in the AUS as #9 UNB hosts the inconsistent CBU Capers

Bishops is at Laval in the ‘Q’ (They play a Fri/Sat home and home. )

#2 Carleton is on the road at #5 Windsor, while #3 Ryerson plays a cross-town game against an up and coming York Yeoman team, and #1 Ottawa is in London to play a very tough Western Mustangs crew.

Saturday –  It’s Carleton at Western and Ottawa at Windsor in key OUA contests, while UPEI plays at UNB in the Atlantic.