AUS: A rare Friday night where all 8 teams are idle on the final weekend of the AUS first half.
RSEQ: Laval (4-8, 2-1) at UQAM (7-4, 2-1)… Rouge et Or are slowing getting back to full strength now that instant offense off the bench 6’1″ Vladimir Thomas is back. Laval will have to contend with Citadins outstanding back court which includes 6’2″ lefty Greishe Clerjuste, 6’0″ Charles Miller, an outstanding perimeter shooter and 6’1″ freshman Misi Boye. Expect Coach Nate Philippe to think about putting one of his athletic wings, maybe 6’5″ Ibrahim Sylla or 6’4″ Christopher Doumpa or both on 6’5″ Alexandre Leclerc, arguably Rouge et Or’s toughest matchup. Inside, the continued improved play of Laval’s 6’10” Marc Andre-Fortin may portend more time for the D1 transfer, especially given the potential match-up with Citadins 6’10” Yassin Debache, which portends some rim-meeting activity. Clerjuste averaged over 22 ppg in last season’s four meetings between the two teams as Citadins took 3 of 4 on the year. Expect another final-possession-type game in what is the most balanced conference in the nation.
OUA: In what has been a quirky OUA schedule to date – some teams have played as many as six regular season games to date – two of the top teams in the country are just now embarking on games 2 and 3 all away from home as Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees travel north this weekend for games at Nipissing and Laurentian. Both Lakers and Voyageurs are much improved although apparently not yet at a level at which each can win on the road against a probable playoff team – both teams were swept in Toronto last weekend against U of T Varsity Blues and #8 Ryerson Rams. Tonight’s schedule has a definitive “northern” skew as all 4 games take place in what most would consider Northern Ontario. This evening in Sudbury, #3 Ottawa (7-1, 1-0) faces Laurentian (3-6, 2-2) and no doubt Head Coach James Derouin and staff are engineering their “d” to control 6’2″ Kadre Gray, who was held in check for the majority of the game when it mattered last Saturday against Ryerson. However expect Gray to be a different player within the confines of historic Ben Avery Gymnasium where strange, magical things can happen when a Voyageur catches fire. Ottawa has won the past 7 in a row against Laurentian and 24 of the past 26 between the two schools.. #1 Carleton (7-0, 1-0) travel to Nipissing (5-8, 1-3) where ex-Raven 6’8″ Justin Shaver will face off against his former program where he spent a couple of seasons… In the Soo, #8 Ryerson (6-2, 4-0) face Algoma (1-8, 1-4) with Rams getting healthier by the day as evident by their domination at home last weekend vs. Nipissing and Laurentian. Rams are a perfect 5-0 against Thunderbirds since Algoma entered the OUA… Finally in Thunder Bay, reeling Lakehead (3-10, 1-4) hopes to start making some perimeter shots with some consistency, hosting Queen’s Gaels (5-6, 3-1). Gaels have taken 3 of the past 4 against Thunderwolves including last season’s eight point win in Kingston. All games begin at 8 PM ET.
Canada West: A full slate of games in CW tonight highlighted by #9 Alberta (11-2, 6-0) travelling to Winnipeg to face the high-potential Manitoba Bisons (4-7, 2-4). Bisons record is somewhat-deceiving in light of their top-heavy schedule which includes four road games at #4 Calgary and at #2 UBC, generally regarded as the top two programs in Canada West. Bisons went 1-3 in those four including a win at Calgary and a last-minute loss this past Saturday in Vancouver against the T-Birds. Bisons may be the toughest regular season test yet for the Golden Bears, who have swept UNBC on the road and Brandon and Thompson Rivers at home thus far… Traditional rivals #2 UBC (10-0, 4-0) and UVic (7-7, 2-4) meet in Victoria for the first of two home-and-home (Friday/Sunday) affairs with Vikes coming off a split in Edmonton against MacEwan Griffins after a pair of home losses to Calgary two weeks ago that were rarely in doubt. UBC broke a five-game losing streak to the Vikes last season with a pair of victories in this traditional B.C. rivalry.