My take on the latest CIS Top 10 including games up to and including Sunday, 10th January 2016.
#1 McGill (12-1, 4-0) (LW #1)… A challenging road win at Queen’s this weekend in which Redmen led by 15 in the 4th quarter helped re-assert McGill as my top ranked team. McGill squeezed out a two point win at home over Laval in their final game before the break in what may have been their most sluggish effort of the season and Rouge et Or are Redmen’s next opponent on Thursday, fresh with two new rotation players and a re-energized 6’6″ Alexandre Leclerc, who is improving by the game. McGill’s depth continues to shine as 6’9″ Noah Daoust was impressive with 15 points in only 16 minutes off the bench against Queen’s.
#2 Carleton (12-1, 7-0) (LW #3)… Quality depth is also a key characteristic of the Ravens this season as Carleton prepares for their cross-town rivalry game against Ottawa with 6’6″ Ryan Ejim, 6’2″ Kaza Keene, 6’3″ Connor Wood and 6’5″ Guillaume Payen-Boucard all capable of being the featured offensive focus. This is also one of the most pure athletic teams as any Raven team in recent memory.
#3 Ottawa (17-2, 7-0) (LW #2)… A sluggish start a couple of days after Christmas in a decisive loss at Laval was corrected with two convincing wins against quality opponents Calgary and UNB. 6’3″ Caleb Agada remains arguably the best defender in Canada and 6’1″ Mike L’Africain hopes to end his career with a series of quality games against Carleton, beginning this Saturday.
#4 Brock (13-1, 6-1) (LW#4)… 6’5″ Dani Elgadi was strong again in what was a relatively easy victory over Windsor this past Saturday (although Lancers did cut it to 5 with a minute remaining). 5’11” Nolan MacKenzie had his best offensive performance in a big game as Badger off the bench. Brock travels to Laurier tomorrow night.
#5 Ryerson (8-2, 4-1) (LW #5)… Rams have not played for almost two months and re-start their season tonight in Boston against Harvard in a non-conference game followed by a quick turnaround tomorrow night at home against cross-town rival York Lions at Mattamy. Ryerson squeezed through the first half amid a series of injuries to key starters 6’5″ Aaron Best, 6’8″ Adam Vol (budding starter) and 6’8″ J.P. Kambola among others.
#6 UBC (11-3, 8-2) (LW #6)… Winners of 8 of their past 9 including last weekend’s sweep over Lethbridge in a pair of reasonably close games, T-Birds are hitting their stride using their quality depth going 9 deep at a minimum. UBC usually dominates the glass with their long, athletic stable of bigs but a concern is the sub-30% shooting from downtown. One of the best match-ups of the Canada West season happens this weekend in Winnipeg as the Birds face 7-3 Manitoba Bisons and their up-tempo, athletic side.
#7 Calgary (15-6, 8-3) (LW #7)… Dinos struggled after Christmas with a pair of losses against uOttawa and UNB before hammering an improving Laval team on their home court. Calgary also swept what remains a very good Sask Huskies team this past weekend. 6’4″ Thomas Cooper remains the focus on the offensive side while 6’6″ sophomore wing Lars Schlueter , who missed the UNB loss, has become a growing force including several dunks against the Huskies this past weekend. Calgary enters a less challenging part of their CW schedule with road games at cellar dwellers Brandon and Trinity Western the next two weekends.
#8 McMaster (9-3, 5-2) (LW HM)… The return of 6’7″ Connor Gilmore toward the end of the first half helped right-the-ship for what had been the reeling Marauders, who have now won 5 of their past 6 games. A pair of road games at Waterloo tomorrow night and at Laurier on Saturday afternoon kick off the second half for Mac.
#9 UPEI (14-7, 6-2) (LW #10) Panthers won decisively at home against a Saint Mary’s team that had edged them at the Shoveller and had defeated Dalhousie the Wednesday prior and now lead the AUS. 6’3″ Tyler Scott and 6’6″ Brad States make up one of the more explosive and dynamic offensive tandems in the country although defending and rebounding can be lacking with this group over long stretches, something that has yet to be tested to any great degree against a Top 5 type team. Panthers host 6-3 Acadia in Charlottetown for a pair of games this weekend.
#10 Manitoba (11-8, 7-3)… While the overall record is less than impressive for a Top 10 team, Bisons are rewarded for playing in and then winning a Holiday tournament and in convincing fashion, as 6’4″ Keith Omoerah appears to have shaken off the rust from two seasons away. Manitoba got a split in Victoria over the weekend against one of the more difficult teams to beat in their home gym as A.J. Basi continues to help stretch defenses, Bisons pair of bigs produce on the glass and Omoerah, Justus Alleyn and others push the tempo at any and every opportunity. This ranking will be severely tested this weekend at home against UBC.
Lethbridge (10-5, 5-3) (LW #9),
Dalhousie (12-4, 6-3) (LW #10).