RSEQ playoff picture clearer after Concordia, Laval victories


Despite there still remaining two more weekends of the regular season play, RSEQ standings are well set with the four playoff teams long since decided with the only remaining mystery is which of Concordia or Laval will finish second and gain the important home court advantage in their semi-final clash later this month.

Laval erased all doubts as to the battle for fourth place last night with an 89-67 whipping of Bishop’s in Lennoxville as 6’1″ Yoann Folquet went 5-7 from three point land to lead the way with 23 points and 6’7″ Joel Muamba dominated with 23 points and 8 rebounds.  The loss leaves Bishop’s (5-9) firmly in fourth place and Gaiters will travel to McGill for one of two RSEQ semi-finals – Bishop’s meets the Redmen this Saturday and completes their regular season next Friday night at home against Concordia in a game that is likely to be important to the Stingers as they try to hold on to second place.

Stingers held off pesky UQAM 66-58 as the teams combined to shoot 8-32 (25%) from the three-point line.  Concordia (9-5) has two games remaining including the regular season finale at home against Laval (7-6) next Saturday night.  Rouge et Or have three games remaining:  Sunday at home vs. UQAM, next Thursday at home vs. first-place McGill and then at Concordia.  Laval leads the season series against Concordia two games to one, but still practically needing a sweep in their final three games including a win over the Stingers OR getting some help from Bishop’s next Friday night as Gaiters host the Stingers.

Two more games this weekend:

Saturday night:  Bishop’s at McGill 6 PM ET

Sunday afternoon:  UQAM at Laval 3 PM ET

RSEQ Standings

McGill 11-2

Concordia 9-5

Laval 7-6

Bishop’s 5-9

UQAM 2-12

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UBC, Lethbridge dominate in CW Q-F openers


Both Canada West quarter-final openers turned into routes last night, especially in Lethbridge as the Pronghorns got off to a quick start to lead by 22 after the first quarter in a 115-68 hammering of Regina Cougars in the first game of their Best-of-3.  The attached article includes comments from Lethbridge coach Mike Hansen acknowledging that Regina’s 10 hour drive through inclement weather and their subsequent late arrival may have contributed to the weak start.  The two teams meet again today.  6’8″ Zac Overwater and 6’1″ Dejon Burdeaux, slowly returning to full strength after a prolonged injury, helped Lethbridge with 24 and 22 points respectively.  Regina had swept the ‘Horns in the regular season prior to the Holiday break.

In Vancouver, UBC pulled away in the second half for a 106-74 victory over Manitoba.  6’3″ Justus Alleyn, who finished as Canada West’s leading scorer in the regular season at 24.1 ppg, finished with just 8 points including 1-9 from downtown.  Alleyn missed his first 13 shots from the floor and did not make his first field goal until early in the fourth quarter when the game was already well decided.  T-Birds got 21 points and 11 rebounds from 6’9″ Conor Morgan, who recall was saddled with a impact ankle injury during the playoffs as Manitoba swept UBC.  The teams meet again this afternoon in Vancover.

Steve Ewan of Vancouver Province provides a UBC playoff preview plus a story by the incomparable Howard Tsumura on his Varsity Letters site about UBC’s Phil Jalalpoor.

Thursday night U-Sports: Gaiters try to keep 3rd place hopes alive with home date vs. Laval


Coming off a solid 80-74 road victory at Laval on Sunday that officially clinched their first RSEQ playoff spot in three seasons, Bishop’s Gaiters optimistically retain a glimmer of hope of a third-place finish in the league as they host Rouge-et-Or tonight (Thursday) in Lennoxville.  ** THIS IS THE MAKE-UP GAME AFTER TUESDAY’S GAME WAS POSTPONED DUE TO A POWER ISSUE ON THE BISHOP’S CAMPUS **

We have also updated the tie-breaker scenarios for Bishop’s chances to catch Laval for third spot.  Our abacus required oiling with our prior shot at the math which was incorrect.

Bishop’s (5-8) trails their guests tonight by 1 1/2 games in what will be the fourth and final game of their season series.  Laval took the first two games by a combined +25 point spread before 6’5″ Abdul Kamane‘s 30 points on Sunday gave Gaiters their first win of the season against Laval.

To accomplish the difficult task of finishing third, the now-healthy Bishop’s squad will, in all practicality need to win out including tonight and then home against McGill and at Concordia to get to 8-8 and hope that Laval will lose at least two more games over and above tonight – unless Bishop’s can capture tonight’s game by more than 19 points.

In other regular season games tonight, two of the top teams in the AUS tangle in Wolfville with Dalhousie Tigers visiting Acadia.  A Tigers victory would strengthen their hold on a first-round bye at the AUS tournament.

Concordia tries to move closer to clinching second place and a semi-final home game in the “Q” with a road match at last-place UQAM.  Citadins have already been eliminated from the RSEQ post-season.

Canada West Quarter-Final Playoffs begin this afternoon at UBC


Canada West playoff hit full swing this afternoon in Vancouver in a rematch of last season’s Manitoba/UBC series that Bisons took in two straight, somewhat-shocking games.  Note the starting time of this afternoon’s game:  4 PM PT/7 PM ET at War Memorial in Vancouver.  Regina is at Lethbridge tonight also beginning at 7 PM PT/9 PM ET.

On Friday afternoon, CW top-ranked Alberta Golden Bears face UNBC Timberwolves while later on Friday Calgary Dinos host Saskatchewan.

All series are “Best-of-3”.

TODAY/TONIGHT:

#7 Manitoba at #3 UBC… A rematch of last season’s major upset when Bisons swept T-Birds right in War Memorial.  UBC is deep, talented, has veteran guards led by 6’2″ Phil Jalalpoor (17.7 ppg) and arguably a Moser candidate in 6’9″ Conor Morgan.  Bisons have pushed through an injury-riddled season but have lost their best veteran post player in 6’7″ Joey Nitychoruk (shoulder) although Manitoba did received a solid game from 6’6″ Cameron O’Hara in their “play-in” round victory over Brandon this past Friday night.  6’3″ Justus Alleyn is a First Team Canada West All-Star candidate and, frankly, it will take a herculean effort from the fifth-year wing plus 6’7″ James Wagner and 6’1″ point guard Rashawn Browne for Manitoba to pull the upset.  The teams did not meet in the regular season and in games against common opponents, T-Birds are 11-1 against just 7-5 for ‘toba.  Most recent comparable is likely UVic, which UBC dominated on the final weekend of the season winning by 26 in Victoria and then by 41 at home.  Vikes had swept Manitoba in Winnipeg in mid-January although Wagner was still out with an injury (he has since returned) and Nitychoruk was lost for the season with a shoulder injury just 6 minutes into the first game against the Vikes.  First game of the series is 4 PM PT/7 PM ET on Thursday.

#5 Regina at #4 Lethbridge… Cougars come into the series with the confidence of handing the Pronghorns their first two losses of the Canada West regular season prior to the Holidays after Lethbridge began the season at 8-0 and garnered U-Sports Top 10 votes.  Regina is well balanced with six players averaging between 9 and 14 points per game with an athletic group that lacks a formidable presence inside and thus plays to their strengths.  Playing at home, Cougars forced 25 Horns turnovers to claim a two point win on the first night and bounced back for the sweep as 6’4″ Brian Ofori was the star with 28 points and 14 rebounds.  Key to Lethbridge is the health of 6’1″ Dejon Burdeaux who missed virtually the entire second half of the regular season but did return to play sparingly on the final weekend of the season against Alberta.  6’8″ Zac Overwater has evolved into an all-conference type capable of carrying the Horns:  witness his 49 point effort in Lethbridge’s exciting home OT victory against UBC plus 29 vs. Calgary, 25 vs. Manitoba, 24 vs. Alberta and two other 30+ point games at Thompson Rivers and vs. Fraser Valley.  First game is 7 PM MT/9 PM ET on Thursday.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON/EVENING:

#11 UNBC at #1 Alberta… Golden Bears have but one loss all season and host the upstart Timberwolves in the first game of the season between the two teams that did not meet in the regular season.  UNBC comes off a gutty win at Winnipeg last weekend in the “play-in” round.  In common opponents, Bears are 11-1 against just 7-5 for UNBC however the Timberwolves are rounding into form with 6’5″ Jovan Leamy helping to lead the way.  First game is 3 PM MT/5 PM ET on Friday.  Edmonton Examiner provides a quick recap of Golden Bears season and a game preview.

#8 Saskatchewan at #2 Calgary… Two long-time rivals meet at the Jack for the first time this season; Dinos swept Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in early December winning easily 92-77 on the first night and then getting 33 points from 6’6″ Mambi Diawara to pull away 77-68 after the game was tied with about 9 minutes left.  Huskies did not have 6’2″ J.T. Robinson in the lineup for those games however the status of 6’6″ Joseph Barker for Friday’s game is also uncertain after the impact forward was injured two weeks ago.  First game is 8 PM MT/10 PM ET on Friday.

Badgers pound Mustangs in London (video included)


Brock 92, Western 51… Badgers established the tone defensively from virtually the opening tip, taking Mustangs out of their offense and scoring virtually at will, breaking to a 29-5 lead in the first nine minutes in a road route in London on Western’s Senior’s Night.  After Western’s 6’4″ Marko Kovac started the game with a three, Brock scored the next 13 points and later capped a 29-2 run with five consecutive threes, making 10 of their first 13 shots of the game overall.  6’5″ Johneil Simpson led the way with 27 points including 5-10 from three in a game that was over early.  Western coach Brad Campbell lamented his team’s inability to match Brock’s energy and defensive intensity in this video from Western sports

Brock finished at Windsor on Saturday while Mustangs travel to Guelph to close their regular season after Gryphons won at home 100-86 over Waterloo last night.

Seniors Night at Western as top 2 teams in OUA West meet


Brock at Western… The two hottest teams in the OUA West clash this evening with unfortunately little on the line other than Badgers wanting to maintain their grip on a potential wild-card spot – both teams are firmly in the top two spots in the standings and have a combined 20-2 record since the Holidays with Badgers undefeated since then.  The teams met way back on 25 October on the opening night of the season with Badgers claiming an easy 83-58 victory as Brock shot 54% from the field, holding Mustangs to just 28%.  Tonight is Senior’s Night in London and 6’5″ Cam Morris, 6’3″ Jedson Tavernier and 6’1″ Henry Tan will be honored prior to the game.

Waterloo at Guelph… U-Sports basketball guru Martin Timmerman supplied the detailed collateral on the playoff permutations and combinations earlier this week confirming that Warriors have clinched a playoff spot while Gryphons were officially eliminated with their loss Sunday at Laurier.  This is the second game in less than a week between these two teams with Waterloo pulling away last Friday night at home for an 87-76 victory that for all intents and purposes sealed Gryphons playoff fate.  6’6″ Nedim Hodzic went off for 31 points and 16 rebounds in that game and in the past 13 games since the Holidays, the sophomore forward is averaging 25.0 ppg/10.4 rpg with 10 double-doubles and seven games of 30 or more points with a season-high of 37 vs. Windsor.

Power issues postpone last night’s Bishop’s/Laval game in Lennoxville


Last night’s Laval at Bishop’s game was cancelled due a scheduled power interruption by Hydro Quebec.

A make-up date has not been announced.

We are also being told that the entire Bishop’s campus last power just after 7:30 am yesterday.  The cause was a high voltage power wire crimp connector that broke on a line that then fell to the ground, and instead of tripping a breaker, continued arcing on the ground and eventually caught fire.

Hydro temporarily re-routed power to everyone affected, and our power was restored around 10:30 am.  Subsequently, Hydro Quebec proceeded to change the wire and crimp connector, but in and around game time, power had to be briefly interrupted in order to restore everyone back onto the main line, undoing the re-routing they did this morning.

Thursday night U-Sports: Gaiters try to keep 3rd place hopes alive with home date vs. Laval


Coming off a solid 80-74 road victory at Laval on Sunday that officially clinched their first RSEQ playoff spot in three seasons, Bishop’s Gaiters optimistically retain a glimmer of hope of a third-place finish in the league as they host Rouge-et-Or tonight (Thursday) in Lennoxville.  ** THIS IS THE MAKE-UP GAME AFTER TUESDAY’S GAME WAS POSTPONED DUE TO A POWER ISSUE ON THE BISHOP’S CAMPUS **

We have also updated the tie-breaker scenarios for Bishop’s chances to catch Laval for third spot.  Our abacus required oiling with our prior shot at the math which was incorrect.

Bishop’s (5-8) trails their guests tonight by 1 1/2 games in what will be the fourth and final game of their season series.  Laval took the first two games by a combined +25 point spread before 6’5″ Abdul Kamane‘s 30 points on Sunday gave Gaiters their first win of the season against Laval.

To accomplish the difficult task of finishing third, the now-healthy Bishop’s squad will, in all practicality need to win out including tonight and then home against McGill and at Concordia to get to 8-8 and hope that Laval will lose at least two more games over and above tonight – unless Bishop’s can capture tonight’s game by more than 19 points.

In other regular season games tonight, two of the top teams in the AUS tangle in Wolfville with Dalhousie Tigers visiting Acadia.  A Tigers victory would strengthen their hold on a first-round bye at the AUS tournament.

Concordia tries to move closer to clinching second place and a semi-final home game in the “Q” with a road match at last-place UQAM.  Citadins have already been eliminated from the RSEQ post-season.

Canada West 2017-18 Pre-Season Coaches Poll Revisit: Pretty good job !


Arguably one of the more accurate forecasts in recent memory especially for a league of such size.  Coaches collectively predicted 11 of the 12 playoff teams – only missing UNBC (they had Fraser Valley in the playoff in the forecast) PLUS predicted the Top 3 and bottom 3 correctly.  This is the only conference that this site did not try to forecast; clearly the coaches did a terrific job.

2017 CW men’s basketball pre-season coaches poll

Place / Team / Points (First-place votes) ACTUAL FINISH IN PARENTHESIS

  1. Alberta / 254 (14)  (#1 ALBERTA 19-1)
  2. UBC / 242 (3)  (#2 UBC 17-3)
  3. Calgary / 223 (#3 CALGARY 16-4)
  4. Lethbridge / 208 (#4 LETHBRIDGE 12-8)
  5. Winnipeg / 170 (#5 MANITOBA 12-8)
  6. Regina / 169 (#6 REGINA 11-9)
  7. Victoria / 162 (#7 THOMPSON RIVERS 11-9)
  8. Manitoba / 152 (#8 WINNPEG 10-10)
  9. Brandon / 138 (#9 UNBC 10-10)
  10. Thompson Rivers / 133 (#10 SASKATCHEWAN 10-10)
  11. Saskatchewan / 115 (#11 VICTORIA 10-10)
  12. Fraser Valley / 95 (#12 BRANDON 9-11)
  13. Mount Royal / 81 (#13 MOUNT ROYAL 8-12)
  14. UNBC / 67 (#14 FRASER VALLEY 5-15)
  15. MacEwan / 47 (#15 MACEWAN 5-15)
  16. UBC Okanagan / 29 (#16 UBC-O 3-17)
  17. Trinity Western / 27 (#17 TRINITY WESTERN 2-18)

U-Sports All-Canadian “Watch List” Review and 2017-18 Selections


The third in our series of look backs at pre-season forecasts:  this will be our final players-centric view – the All-Canadian “Watch List” we published in October, in which we captured our take on the players across the country who in the pre-season had a high probability of being considered for All-Canadian status this season overlaid with our present view of conference/division MVP’s and other candidates.

Looking back at AUS Pre-Season All-Canadian “Watch List” (in alphabetical order)… 6’2″ Kemar Alleyne, Saint Mary’s; 6’7″ Kevin Bercy, St. FX; 6’2″ Daniel Gordon, Memorial; 5’11” Javon Masters, UNB; 6’3″ Ben Miller, Acadia; 6’9″ Erik Nissen, Acadia; 6’6″ Sven Stammberger, Dalhousie.

AUS 2017-18 MVP/All-Canadian candidates:  Probably the most well-balanced league in the country with competitive games virtually every night and, justifiably, multiple Player-of-the-Year/All-Canadian candidates.  Despite the balance across much of the conference, especially given the success of the Varsity Reds in the standings (UNB is firmly in the running for the AUS regular season pennant), it is clear from our perspective that 6’0″ Javon Masters has fashioned a Player-of-the-Year-type season and thus All-Canadian status.  Masters (26.1 ppg/1st in AUS; 2nd in assists in AUS) became the all-time leading scorer in both AUS and U-Sports regular season history, adding 6.3 rpg and 5.4 apg while shooting 51% from the floor/39% from three and 90% from the free throw line.  With six games of 30+ points including a season-high 39 in a recent victory over Saint Mary’s, Masters has carried the Reds on his back as he looks to close his career with thus-far-elusive AUS tournament success.  Dalhousie’s 6’6″ forward Sven Stammberger looked like the odds-on favorite in the first half of the season but the slick forward has been saddled with some nagging injuries.  Still Stammberger averages 18.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.8 apg while shooting 53% from the floor/42.3% from three.  The fifth-year wing forward scored 35 and 36 points in his first two games of the AUS regular season and has ten games of 20+ points as Tigers go for the four-peat.  Acadia’s 6’11” lefty post Erik Nissen again has fashioned a dominant season as the best pure post player in the conference this season, averaging 18.9 points (6th in AUS) and an AUS-leading 10.4 rpg.  Defending AUS MVP 6’7″ Kevin Bercy has not matched last season’s dominant effort but remains a 1st team-esque player while 6’6″ Nikita Kasongo (19.2 ppg) is also in the discussion for a First Team All-Star spot.

Looking back at RSEQ Pre-season All-Canadian “Watch List” (in alphabetical order)… 6’5″ Ken Beaulieu, Concordia; 6’2″ Greishe Clerjuste, UQAM; 6’5″ Abdul Kamane, Bishops; 6’1″ Jonathan Koud, Concordia; 6’5″ Alexandre Leclerc, Laval; 6’1″ Jenning Leung, McGill; 6’2″ Dele Ogundokun, McGill.

RSEQ 2017-18 MVP/All-Canadian candidates:  Although the individual stats are not eye-popping, once again McGill’s 6’2″ Dele Ogondokun has been the best overall player for the best team in the conference.  Ordinarily tasked with defending the opposition’s best players, the fifth-year wing guard from Hamilton, ON again has dominated when it matters and, as has been the norm throughout his career, stuffing the stats sheets:  Dele is third in scoring (14.0 ppg), sixth in rebounding (6.5 rpg), second in steals, ninth in assists and fourth in three-point field goal percentage.  Teammate 6’1″ Alex Paquin, the transfer from NCAA Division 1 American U., took some time to re-adjust to playing major minutes as well as the Redmen system but has exploded especially in the second half, averaging 14.2 ppg (2nd in RSEQ), tied for second in assists and third in three-point percentage.  More importantly, Paquin gives McGill a legitimate break-down guy off the bounce who can create defensive rotations consistently.  6’5″ Abdul Kamane leads the Q in scoring at 21.6 ppg as Gaiters qualify for the playoffs for the first time in the slashing wing’s career.  6’4″ Ken Beaulieu had solid numbers for 8-5 Stingers while Laval’s 6’6″ Frantson Demosthene is among the league’s leading scorers (13.5 ppg/4th in RSEQ) and leading rebounder (9.1), arguably the top producer for Laval (6-6).

Looking back at the pre-season OUA All-Canadian “Watch List” (in alphabetical order)… 6’5″ Ammanuel Diressa, Ryerson; 6’9″ Eddie Ekiyor, Carleton; 6’7″ Dani Elgadi, Brock; 6’2″ Kadre Gray, Laurentian; 5’10” Tevaun Kokko, Laurier; 6’2″ David McCulloch, McMaster; 5’10” Emmanuel Owootoah, Carleton; 6’9″ Jean Pierre-Charles, Ottawa; 5’11” Mike Rocca, Windsor.

OUA East 2017-18 MVP/All-Canadian candidates:  Probably the most difficult selection in the country given the numerous dominant efforts by several deserving candidates – indeed in my opinion there are at least two Moser Award candidate in the division.  At the risk of inducing memories of the wonderful Rolling Stones ballad from 1967 “Sittin’ on a Fence” , my choice for OUA East co-MVP’s are Ryerson’s incomparable 6’5″ Manny Diressa (22.6 ppg including a 50 point game) and Laurentian’s 6’2″ Kadre Gray (24.4 ppg/OUA leading scorer).  The two candidates meet this Saturday night in Toronto on the final night of the season with a second-place bye potentially on the line and, possibly, evidence to push me off the fence in either direction.  Others who have authored tremendous seasons worthy of some consideration include Carleton’s 6’1″ Yasiin Joseph and 6’9 1/2″ Eddie Ekiyor.

OUA West 2017-18 MVP/All-Canadian candidates:  This division was, in a word, “dominated” and in at least two dimensions: by the OUA East in head-to-head play and in the second half by the Brock Badgers who remain unbeaten against division foes heading into the final week of the season.  Given Brock’s dominance, my choice for this division’s MVP is fifth-year forward 6’7″ Dani Elgadi (17.7 ppg).  Fellow Brock forward 6’7″ Cassidy Ryan has had big performances in important spots while without a doubt 6’6″ sophomore Nedim Hodzic (23.5 ppg/11.9 rpg; both first in OUA West) has the offensive numbers to warrant consideration.

Looking back at the pre-season CANADA WEST All-Canadian “Watch List” (in alphabetical order)… 6’3″ Justus Alleyn, Manitoba; 6’1″ Dejan Bordeaux, Lethbridge; 6’7″ Brody Clarke, Alberta; 6’5″ Mambi Diawara, Calgary; 6’7″ Mamadou Gueye, Alberta; 5’11” David Kapinga, Calgary; 6’3″ Mason Loewen, Victoria; 6’4″ Denzel Lynch-Blair, Winnipeg; 6’2″ Lawrence Moore, Saskatchewan; 6’9″ Conor Morgan, UBC.

Canada West 2017-18 MVP/All-Canadian candidates:  Another difficult selection again given the numerous dominant efforts by several deserving candidates.  Admittedly I am not in a position to make a definitive choice however the following players should merit consideration (in no particular order):  Manitoba’s 6’3″ Justus Alleyn (24.1 ppg), Saskatchewan’s 6’3″ Lawrence Moore (24.0 ppg), UBC’s 6’9″ Conor Morgan (23.9 ppg/9.7 rpg), Calgary’s 6’6″ Mambi Diawara (22.0 ppg), Alberta’s 6’7″ Brody Clarke (14.9 ppg/8.7 rpg) and 6’7″ Mamadou Gueye (14.8 ppg).  Prior to his injury, Lethbridge’s 6’1″ Dejon Burdeaux (19.3 ppg) was on path for a 1st Team All-Canada West selection at a minimum and a possible All-Canadian and in my opinion is also worthy of mention.