As predicted in at least one AUS pre-season forecast, parity is the norm thus far in the AUS as at present there is a four-way tie for first place: UPEI (6-2), Dal & Acadia (6-3) and UNB (5-4) all are deadlocked with 16 points – for those not familiar with the unique regular season structure, many AUS games are worth 4 points (some are worth 2 points).
Nonetheless, this weekend should provide more clarity, beginning with Acadia’s second consecutive weekend on the road in Charlottetown against the Panthers. Expect an energetic battle up front as 6’8″ Erik Nissen, the hero of Sunday’s win at MUN with a last second putback, to work against 6’6″ Bradley States. Acadia will look to limit transition opportunities for AUS leading scorer Tyler Scott. 6’3″ Ben Miller is the main offensive decision maker for the Axemen.
In other games, two of the more dedicated defensive teams in the conference meet in Fredericton as Dal Tigers, who give up only 70 points per game on average, meet UNB Varsity Reds, 3rd in points allowed in the AUS. V-Reds remain without valuable 6’7″ forward Nicola Mandic but did bring in after the holidays 6’7″ Ravaughn Gayle, originally from Scarborough Jean Vanier via Tyler (TX.) Junior College in 2013-14 and Central Arizona Juco, where he averaged 5.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in about 12 mpg last season. Reds have an explosive backcourt but have been hampered by an inability to rebound – UNB has the worst rebounding margin in the conference at -7.4 per game.
Memorial Sea-Hawks (4-6) travel to Halifax to meet Saint Mary’s, which has only played 8 games thus far. Huskies sit in 7th place in the conference and come off a decisive loss at UPEI last weekend while MUN was shocked with a buzzer-beating basket this past Sunday, unable to complete the sweep at home against Acadia.
UPEI 6-2, 16 pts
Dalhousie 6-3, 16 pts
Acadia 6-3, 16 pts
UNB 5-4, 16 pts
Cape Breton 5-5, 14 pts
Memorial 4-6, 10 pts
Saint Mary’s 3-5, 6 pts
St. FX, 1-8, 2 pts.