Previewing Friday’s games across the country

5 PM ET:

Alberta (23-10) vs Saskatchewan (20-7) (Canada West semi-final #1)… 3 PM Mountain time; Neutral site game at Jack Simpson Gym at University of Calgary.  These teams met during the first weekend in February in Saskatoon with Golden Bears winning comfortably in the first game before Huskies squeezed out a last second win in the second game after Alberta held a double digit lead for much of the fourth quarter – 6’6″ Matt Forbes knocked in the game-winning free throw with just 8 seconds remaining to claim the split.  Alberta shot 13-27 from 3 in their victory and played a tight road game with just 4 turnovers and 83% from the line.  Huskies dominated the glass both nights with Forbes and 6’6″ Shane Osayande leading the way – Bears all-star forward 6’7″ Brody Clarke battled foul trouble in both prior games.  Expect 7’0″ Brett Roughead to play a role tomorrow afternoon to help in the paint – Bears usually drop into a zone with the big guy in the game.  Sask has played the entire second half of the season without injured 6’3″ starter Chan DeCiman (shoulder injury) and Huskies 6’4″ starting forward Jaylan Morgan missed the second of two this past weekend against Winnipeg with an injury.  Maybe the most notable part of this game will be the match-up at the point with Huskies 6’2″ Lawrence Moore (Chicago, IL) against Bears CW all-star guard Austin Waddoups, who played a big role in winning the national junior college championship last season, adding to his big game pedigree.  Alberta wins if they:  control the glass, don’t turn it over and make shots.  Saskatchewan wins if they:  win the battle in the paint and Moore outplays Waddoups.  Winner qualifies for Final 8; loser plays Bronze medal game – both on Saturday.

Brock (21-5) at Carleton (26-0) (OUA Wilson Cup semi-final #1)… Ravens, as #1 OUA seed, host Badgers at Raven’s Nest.  Carleton won in November, also at the Raven’s Nest, 80-68 in the only other meeting between the two teams this season as Ravens had 4 players in double figures and Brock’s 6’7″ Dani Elgadi struggled the entire evening with foul trouble (three in the first half; played only 15 minutes total).  Carleton that night had their hands full with rapidly-improving 6’5″ wing Johneil Simpson who came out scorching in the second half with numerous mid-range jumpers and takes to the rim.  Expect 6’4″ Marcus Anderson to be assigned with checking one of the more dynamic rhythm scorers in the nation in Simpson.  Carleton’s 6’10” freshman center Eddie Ekiyor has taken on a much more prominent role in the Ravens rotation, entering the starting lineup and providing rim protection and rebounding at both ends.  A potential match-up with Elgadi could be interesting, especially given Elgadi’s ability to knock down mid-range “j’s”.  Brock’s young back court led by 5’11” Tyler Brown and 6’1″ Michael Asemoto will be challenged by OUA POY 6’4″ Connor Wood and 1st team all-star 6’2″ Kaza Kajami-Keane.  Lefty 6’7″ forward Cassidy Ryan also poses potential match-up issues for Carleton’s front line given his face-up skill set.  The match-up pits the two hottest teams in the country with Brock having won 11 straight while Ravens are undefeated vs. U-Sport teams at 26 consecutive wins and counting.  Carleton wins if Ekiyor and 6’6″ Ryan Ejim keep Elgadi in check, Anderson does a solid job on Simpson and Ravens experienced back court gets the best of the Badgers.  Brock comes up with what would be regarded as a big upset if Badgers make perimeter shots (virtually always required if Carleton is to be defeated), Brock limits second chances on the glass and Simpson – who was also huge in Badgers win over Ryerson at the Meridian Center – plays like the nightmare match-up he has the potential to be.  Winner qualifies for Final 8; loser plays in OUA Bronze Medal game – both on Saturday.

5:30 PM ET:

Acadia (12-17) vs Memorial (16-13) (AUS tournament quarter-final at Scotiabank Center in Halifax)... 6:30 PM Atlantic time.  After not playing against each other all season long, Seahawks and Axemen met twice this past weekend with little on the line (both had already qualified for the AUS tournament and both were eliminated from the race for 1st and 2nd place).  The teams split the games in Wolfville and, with very likely little new stuff revealed, tomorrow’s game should provide a tremendous match-up in the paint with MUN’s 6’9″ Vasilije Curcic and Acadia’s 6’9″ lefty Erik Nissen, who had an All-Star season (AUS should announce their awards on Friday).  Expect the game to be won or lost at the guard spots where Acadia has 6’3″ Ben Miller, the high IQ point guard who makes the Axemen go matching up with 6’0″ Davion Parnsalu.  Memorial, which has underrated depth and athleticism at the wing spots, features a potential difference maker off the bench in 6’2″ Daniel Gordon, the instant offense sixth man who can carry a team when going well.  Memorial will have to account for 6’0″ Nick DePalma and his long-range shooting.  Winner advances to Saturday’s AUS semi-final vs. AUS #1 Dalhousie.  Loser is eliminated.

6:30 PM ET:

McGill (19-5) vs Laval (8-18) (RSEQ semi-final at Centre Pierre-Charbonneau in Montreal)… Redmen captured their 5th consecutive RSEQ regular season pennant, going 3-1 in games against Laval including a pair of wins at Ste. Foy, most recently last week 62-45 in another drag-’em-out affair between two of the better defensive teams in the country.  Laval has struggled mightily at the offensive end, scoring a league-low 63 ppg and shooting just 29% from three.  McGill will be without starting 6’1″ freshman point guard Kendrick Jolin, out with a shoulder injury but has a solid group of vets including RSEQ POY 6’2″ Dele Ogundokun.  Laval has depth, athleticism and the potential to explode offensively, led by 6’5″ Alexandre Leclerc who has struggled with an ankle injury and 6’1″ Karl Demers-Belanger, in his fifth and final season..  Laval wins if they make shots and score inside while Redmen win if they continue to run their offense with spacing and precision and rebound. Winner advances to Saturday’s RSEQ championship game.  Loser is eliminated.

7:30 PM ET:

Saint Mary’s (21-9) vs St.FX (14-18) (AUS tournament quarter-final at Scotiabank Center in Halifax)… 8:30 PM Atlantic time.  St. FX limped to the finish line, losing 8 of their final 10 games but one of those victories was a character road win at the beginning of February at Homberg Center against the Huskies when 6’8″ Cameron Walker hit a baseline j from about 12 feet with about 15 seconds remaining to break a tie.  In fact, X-Men won both AUS regular season meetings against SMU including a 10 point win in Antigonish before Christmas as Huskies have struggled to keep potential AUS MVP 6’8″ Kevin Bercy under control.  Bercy averaged 24 points and 13.5 rebounds against the Huskies in the two victories.  Saint Mary’s will look to pressure X’s guards where some believe Huskies have an advantage with their depth and quality led by 5’11” 1st team all-star candidate Marquis Clayton, who averaged 7 assists in the two games.  Winner advances to Saturday’s AUS semi-final vs. AUS #2 UNB.  Loser is eliminated.

8 PM ET:

Ottawa (26-4) vs Ryerson (20-4) (OUA Wilson Cup semi-final #2)… Neutral site game at Raven’s Nest in Ottawa.  These teams met just two weeks ago also in Ottawa at Montpetit Hall in an overtime thriller won by Ryerson that 6’4″ Ammanuel Diressa and 6’3″ Adika Peter-McNeilly were instrumental in.  Gee-Gees fought back from a late 6 point deficit – almost overcoming woeful 7 for 19 effort from the free throw line in the second half – to take a late 2 point lead on a pair of clutch free-throws by 5’11” Calvin Epistola, who showed he is ready to contribute meaningful minutes in this type of game as a sophomore.  But McNeilly, in a controversial call, was fouled on a take to the rim and made no mistake tying the game and then taking over in OT.  Note that Ottawa played the final 3 quarters without 6’3″ OUA Defensive Player-of-the-Year Caleb Agada, who played the first half with a deep bone bruise.  Agada appeared to be at full strength last weekend as the Gee-Gees defeated Laurentian to qualify for the Wilson Cup Final 4.  Ryerson wins if Gee-Gees can’t keep Diressa and/or McNeilly in check, 6’8″ Adam Voll holds his own or gets the better of Ottawa’s imposing front line led by 6’9″ Jean Pierre-Charles and Rams keep Ottawa off the three-point line.  Ottawa wins if Agada comes back with an All-Canadian effort at both ends, Gee-Gees bigs dominate (and make their free throws) and/or Ottawa shoots more than 40% from downtown.   Winner qualifies for Final 8; loser plays in OUA Bronze Medal game – both on Saturday.

8:30 PM ET:

Concordia (17-9) vs UQAM (13-14) (RSEQ semi-final at Centre Pierre-Charbonneau in Montreal)…  Stingers took 3 of 4 in the regular season against the young Citadins and the key could be who makes shots in a game that will be played in an arena in which neither team has played.  6’4″ Ken Beaulieu continues to be the key for Concordia while 6’2″ lefty Greishe Clerjuste must have a big game for Citadins to compete.  Winner advances to Saturday’s RSEQ championship game.  Loser is eliminated.

10 PM ET:

Manitoba (21-11) at Calgary (23-4) (Canada West semi-final #1)… 8 PM Mountain time.  Dinos host Canada West Final 4 at Jack Simpson Gym as the top seed in the conference based on RPI.  This will be the third game of the season at the Jack between these two teams after Bisons won 85-81 on the first night of the season, taking the lead early, going up by as many as 16 in the second half and then holding on for the win.  Dinos followed the next night by taking an early lead and romping.  Calgary’s CW 1st team all-star 6’4″ Thomas Cooper averaged 28.5 ppg in the two meetings and the high-volume wing looks to again be the offensive focus, especially since Dinos are very likely to be without 6’6″ three-point shooting threat Lars Schlueter who was in a walking cast last weekend.  Schlueter scored 12 points in each of the two games against the Bisons.  Manitoba, which is one of the hottest teams in the nation (winners of 15 of their past 17 games overall) are likely to turn to 6’4″ Keith Omoerah and potentially others (6’3″ Justus Alleyn) to check the dynamic Cooper.  Thompson Rivers stayed in their games with Calgary using a zone defense however Manitoba is an athletic group that uses their “d” as part of playing a higher tempo – it will interesting to see how Bisons challenge Calgary, a team that thrives in transition, to play a more half-court, set-oriented offense.  6’0″ A.J. Basi (6-10 3’s) and Alleyne (perfect 4 for 4) were on fire in the Bisons win, part of Manitoba’s 10-19 from three effort.  Bisons are likely to win if Cooper is held to below 40% shooting, Basi stretches the floor and Bisons keep turnovers to a minimum while Calgary is likely to be victorious if Dinos can score in transition and get perimeter scoring from 5’11” David Kapinga, veteran Jasdeep Gill and impact newcomer Mambi Diawara among others.  Winner qualifies for Final 8; loser plays Bronze medal game – both on Saturday.


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