Canada West leaders square – off in Vancouver this weekend
The UBC Thunderbirds (9-1) have ‘lured’ the 11-1 Alberta Golden Bears into War Memorial Gym for a top – 2 showdown this weekend. Both teams have visions of claiming the top spot, and a sweep by either would be tremendous.
These teams both score very well, and shoot it around 46% from the field. The Bears are the bigger threats from 3 pt. range, with Austin Waddoups, Geoff Pippus, and Ivan Ikomey all in the top 5 long range snipers in CW. U of A also has an exceptional rebounding team, and the T’Birds will see the board battle as a focus for this match-up. The Bears own a 5 – 3 edge over the ‘Birds in games played over the past 3 seasons.
Who to look for? UBC – Conor Morgan – CW top scorer @ 25.3 ppg , Jordan Jensen-Whyte, 5th year guard, 13.3 ppg, who is a big game performer, and 5th year defensive stopper, Will Ondrik (10.6 ppg), who’s shooting 49% FG.
Alberta – Austin Waddoups is a feisty, confident lead guard who’s over 50% from anywhere on the floor! Brody Clarke is a skilled big man, scoring 15 ppg/ 7.5 rebs. and Mamadou Gueye averages 16 ppg/ 7 boards.
The 6th man comparison is intriguing, with former T-Bird, Geoff Pippus, a big scoring threat for the Bears, and young Taylor Browne giving UBC a spark in his 19 mins/game. We have to call it a toss-up, and expect a split in 2 very tight games. A sweep either way is a likely ‘game-changer’ for a League finish.
‘Horns and Huskies in a swing series at Lethbridge
Here are 2 teams looking to contend, and the 8-4 Pronghorns want to use home floor to distance themselves from Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, and Regina. But either in Saskatoon or S. Alberta, over the last 4 seasons Saskatchewan and Lethbridge have split their annual 2 game set evenly.
The ‘Horns ‘king-pin’ is 4th year import guard, Dejon Burdeaux (Oakland, CA), a 2-way leader who shoots 53% from the floor, scores 15 ppg, shares 4.5 assists, grabs 5.5 rebounds, and steals it 3.7 times a game. UL’s other weapons include import guard, Elliott Sentance, a premier scorer (19.6 ppg, 3rd in CW), who claims 7.3 rebs/game, and Zac Overwater, a 6-8 wing (13.2 ppg) from Lethbridge.
The Sled Dogs (6-4) respond with a powerful inside game, led by the dynamic Shane Osayande, a 6-6, 4th year forward (Toronto), who averages a double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. A healthy Matt Forbes (12 ppg/8 rebs), a 5th year bruiser, helps the Huskies with their team +10 rebound margin, and is upping his scoring totals. Speedy guards, Alex Unruh Saskatoon), and Chan De Ciman (Regina) get perimeter help from Jaylan Morgan, a 6-5 swingman, and 6-3 import addition Lawrence Moore.
Why would we expect anything but a split here? Two good teams, rounding into form will make for a dynamite series in the ‘Bridge Town’.
More Canada West action –
Two Winnipeg teams on the road this week –
> The 8-4 Winnipeg Wesmen, led by guards Denzel Lynch-Blair, William Sesay, and Sean Tarver head to Kamloops to play the TRU Wolf Pack (6-6). The ‘Pack have an 8-2 record over the Wesmen in games since 2008. Thompson Rivers big men Volodymyr Iegorov and Luke Morris will challenge the Ws, and we feel a split may be in the cards.
> Closer to home base, the Manitoba Bisons (4-6) start their 2nd half at the Regina Cougars (6-4), with the Herd anxious to fulfill the promise of a veteran team coming off a big Wesmen Classic win. Alex Igual and the Cougars will have to be at their best against Keith Omoerah and the Bisons.
> Mt. Royal Cougars (5-5) fly to Prince George, BC to face the UNBC Timberwolves (4-8), and MRU are looking to bounce back from a home loss to Brandon. This series will feature ‘Wolves shooters Rhys Elliott and Marcus MacKay against Cougars forwards Brett Layton and Josh Ross. Neither team will be satisfied with anything but a sweep.
> Victoria Vikes (3-7) at UBC-O Heat (2-10) – UVic’s backs are against the wall. Any play-off hopes for Grant Sitton and the Vikes cannot allow under-dog heroics from the Heat guard pair of Mitch Goodwin and Aldrich Berrios.
> Another Prairie match-up has the 4-8 Brandon Bobcats at home against the veteran 3-9 MacEwan Griffins. Brandon is showing new life, with 2nd year guard, ‘Pookie’ Saunders stepping up to complement high scorer Tyvon Cooper and stellar forward, Earl Thompson Jr. The Griffs’ Thadius Galvez, Denzel James, and 5th year forward, Keith Gerdes will keep it interesting.
Scores from the East –
Ontario – at #10 McMaster 85 Laurier 54, at Windsor 85 Western Ont. 78
- UFV’s Adam Friesen, on his team’s focus going into their road series at #5 U. Calgary. “We know we’re facing a really good team, but we hope to come in excited and loose,” Friesen said. “This is going to be a great opportunity to test ourselves and get better. We want to see if we can compete for all 40 minutes harder than we ever have this season, because if we don’t, it’s going to be a long night.” (From Dan Kinvig – UFV Athletics)
- Conor Morgan video – 5th year star looks to lift T-Birds … from high school prodigy to pro prospect for UBC’s outstanding 6-9 forward.