My take on the latest CIS Top 10 including games up to and including Sunday, 17th January 2016.
#1 Ottawa (18-2, 8-0) (LW #3)… Gee-Gees outscored Carleton 11-2 in the final 5 minutes and got strong contributions from 4 veterans including fifth-year 6’1″ guard Mike L’Africain who exorcised demons from past Raven games with a solid effort, especially at crunch time including the game-winning shot in the final minute as Ottawa re-asserted themselves as the #1 team in the country with their first win at the Raven’s Nest since January 17th, 2006. Ottawa’s #1 ranking is sure to be tested this coming weekend with games at U of T on Friday and at Ryerson on Saturday.
#2 Carleton (12-2, 7-1) (LW #2)… Ravens went cold offensively down the stretch in last night’s loss to Ottawa, missing their final 8 shots and scoring just 2 points in the final 5 minutes. But looking deeper, there were other glaring issues: Carleton gave up 18 offensive rebounds and did not take care of the ball with their usual tidiness, staples of their long dominance over CIS opponents. Both key newcomers contributed strong offensive games as 6’2″ Kaza Keene (24 points) and 6’6″ Ryan Ejim (12 of 14 after halftime) played in their first Canal War game but Ejim had just one rebound as Ravens were soundly defeated on the glass 43-32 overall.
#3 McGill (13-2, 5-1) (LW #1)… After dominating RSEQ play and jumping out to a 5-0 start, Redmen came crashing down to earth last night with a decisive loss at Laval. While McGill continues to lead the RSEQ in fewest points per game allowed, opponents are shooting 39% from downtown against the Redmen, the worst 3 point fg defense in the conference. Redmen shooting woes in the second half were most evident last night as they went 6 for 19 from the free throw line and are just 16-76 (21%) from 3 in their past 3 games. McGill has a home-and-home with 4-4 Concordia this weekend beginning Thursday at the Bee Hive. Stingers just swept UQAM.
#4 Brock (15-1, 8-1) (LW#4)… Two comfortable wins at Laurier and at Waterloo keep the Badgers in the upper-echelon of these rankings. 6’5″ Dani Elgadi continues to impress with his play at both ends and coach Charles Kissi is trying to give the deeper part of his bench more meaningful minutes as Badgers prepare for a mid-February stretch that sees three consecutive games with Nationals contenders Ryerson (road), Ottawa and Carleton (both at home). Badgers have a light schedule over the next 2 weeks, playing only Wednesday night home games against reeling Western and improving Guelph.
#5 Ryerson (10-2, 6-1) (LW #5)… Arguably the hottest shooting team in the nation – Rams are 47 for 91 (52% !) as a team from downtown over their last 3 OUA games – Ryerson could be Canada’s most exciting offensive team, raining 3’s, getting out in transition and adding nightly to the highlight reel with ally-oop dunks and other acrobatics. 6’5″ Aaron Best is all the way back from his injury, 6’3″ Adika Peter-McNeilly continues to play at a First team all-star calibre and 6’7″ J.V. Mukama is electric off the bench for the Rams, who also welcomed impact 6’8″ post Kadeem Green back for the new year. Fans in Toronto should prepare for a tremendous weekend this coming Friday and Saturday as Rams host Carleton on Friday and uOttawa Gee-Gees on Saturday.
#6 Calgary (17-6, 10-3) (LW #7)… A sweep over hapless Brandon on the road kept the Dinos in top spot in Canada West and given UBC’s split at Manitoba, makes Calgary worthy of jumping one spot over the T-Birds. 6’4″ Thomas Cooper remains the focus on the offensive side while 6’6″ sophomore wing Lars Schlueter continues to grow as a dominant CW forward. Calgary meets last place Trinity Western this coming weekend.
#7 UBC (12-4, 9-3) (LW #6)… T-Birds bounced back for a reasonably comfortable road win at Manitoba last night to gain a split against the much-improved and contending Bisons. Birds shuffled their starting lineup, inserting 6’8″ Simon Fraser transfer Patrick Simon and 4th year Junior College transfer 6’2″ A.J. Holloway (Tacoma, WA) into the starting lineup, bringing 6’7″ Will Ondrik off the bench. UBC was without top-end rotation player 6’9″ David Wagner, 5th year forward who did not play. Birds host Regina (7-3 in Canada West, 8-8 overall), idle this week, for a pair of games this coming weekend in Vancouver.
#8 McMaster (11-3, 7-2) (LW #8)… A career offensive game for 6’7″ Connor Gilmore at Laurier on Saturday helped the Marauders to a pair of dominating wins against Waterloo and the Golden Hawks this week. Gilmore, the 2nd year stretch 4, went 8 for 10 from the 3 en route to 32 points as Mac won their sixth in a row – all double digit wins. Marauders return home to Burridge Gym this week to face Windsor (Wednesday night) and Western (Saturday afternoon) followed by a trip to Thunder Bay for a pair of games against Lakehead.
#9 UPEI (16-7, 8-2) (LW #9) With a pair of home wins against UPEI, Panthers took sole possession of first place in the AUS with 20 points. A career-high effort from 6’7″ Dut Dut on Friday and more help from the bench including contributions from 6’7″ Milorad Sedlarevic and 6’1″ Jake Kendrick from the three point line have helped off-set not having Lorenzo Parker in the lineup – the important reserve guard has not played since Panthers first-round win on January 1st at the Shoveller.
#10 Manitoba (12-9, 8-4), LW #10… After Friday’s big win over UBC, Bisons performance in the loss on Saturday was frankly somewhat-disappointing. Still, Manitoba is well within striking distance of top spot in the conference and have a decent remaining schedule (at Lethbridge, home to Regina, home-and-home with Winnipeg and then finish at last place Trinity Western) so not making the playoffs and potentially hosting a first round series would rank as a disappointment for this exciting group.
Lethbridge (11-6, 6-4) (LW #HM),
Dalhousie (13-5, 7-4) (LW #HM),
Thompson Rivers (11-2, 10-2) (LW: not ranked).