Final 8 Seedings: A First “very early” look

Two more participants in next week’s Final 8 in Halifax were determined earlier this evening as #1 ranked Carleton Ravens squashed Windsor in Ottawa and Ryerson Rams won at Brock, bringing the total number of qualifiers to five including Canada West participants Alberta and Calgary plus host Acadia.

While it remains early and the “wild card” team will not be announced until Sunday night, we are going out on a limb that Brock Badgers will grab the “at large” bid, given our analysis of the criteria listed on Martin Timmerman’s wonderful site.  Badgers appear to be as certain of a selection as there has been in recent memory.

Assuming that is the case, here is one view of the potential seedings at this season’s Final 8 (going on the notion that top-seeds Carleton and Alberta will win their conference championships; certainly not a sure thing in either case but some assumptions have to be made).

#1 Carleton

#2 Alberta

#3 AUS or RSEQ champion

#4 RSEQ or AUS champion

#5 Calgary

#6 Ryerson

#7 Brock (wild card)

#8 AUS runner-up or Acadia


Sets up the following potential first round match-ups:

#1 Carleton vs. #8 AUS runner-up or Acadia

#2 Alberta vs. #7 Brock

#3 RSEQ or AUS champion vs. Ryerson

#4 AUS or RSEQ champion vs. Calgary.

There will be more clarity after Saturday’s games which will definitely determine RSEQ champion (Concordia or McGill) and the champions of the OUA and Canada West (conference champions must be seeded in the Top 6).  In the AUS, an Acadia victory on Saturday in one of two AUS semi-finals would determine both AUS Final 8 participants, although not the seeding.

Enjoy the games on the weekend and if you are on the fence as far as heading to Halifax, book your flights !


Leung ends slump, leads Redmen to decisive RSEQ semi-final victory

McGill 105, Bishop’s 67… 6’1″ fifth-year Jenning Leung, who began his McGill career as a walk-on and struggled throughout the second half of this season amid dealing with a hand injury sustained in early January, exploded for 29 points on 7-13 shooting including an 18 point third quarter when Redmen blew the game open.  Snubbed by multiple RSEQ All-Star selectors including this site, the native of the Philippines keyed a game-deciding 19-2 run in the first six minutes of the third quarter with 12 of his quarter-high 18 during the run.  McGill created five turnovers in the first 5 minutes of the third and 28 overall in the game, the fifth consecutive game that Gaiters had 20+ turnovers vs. McGill.  Bishop’s did stay in the game for much of the first half, down only 8 at halftime behind the solid offensive play of 5’11” Kevin Davis who had 11 of 17 before halftime but turned it over 8 times.  6’1″ RSEQ All-Star Alex Paquin added 14 points and 7 assists for McGill while 6’3″ freshman Sam Jenkins came off the bench to score 11 as did steady 6’7″ forward Francois Bourque as all twelve Redmen who dressed hit the score sheet.  McGill will host Concordia on Saturday afternoon (game time to be determined) for the right to represent Quebec at the Final 8 in Halifax next week after Stingers won their first playoff game in six seasons earlier tonight, defeating Laval at the BeeHive.

Concordia 72, Laval 63… 6’6″ Oliver Simon got free inside for 17 points while steady 6’1″ point guard Ricardo Monge added 14 points, 7 rebounds in 39 minutes as the Stingers advanced to the RSEQ championship game, holding off the athletic Rouge et Or in Montreal.  Stingers came out of the gate on fire, knocking down five first-half threes – including an early pair by 6’0″ Adrian Armstrong – recently inserted into the starting lineup by coach Rastko Popovic – that set the tone and allowed Concordia to take a comfortable lead into halftime.  But Rouge et Or had a second-half run in them, erasing a 12 point lead to rally to take their first lead of the game early in the fourth on a three by 6’5″ Alexandre Leclerc.  But Stingers promptly went on an 11-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back buckets from Monge and then Simon iced the game with a pair of clutch baskets in the final 4 minutes.  Concordia will look to win their first RSEQ championship since 2012 with a victory on Saturday at McGill.

Rams return to Final 8 with scrappy road win at Brock

Ryerson 69, Brock 63… The Rams continued their streak of Final 8 appearances with a gutty win at Brock to qualify for Halifax and put Badgers fate in the hands of the wild card committee for the second consecutive season.  Ryerson will travel to Carleton on Saturday for a Wilson Cup rematch with the Ravens.  The game took some observers back to the “bang bang” days of the mid-90’s NBA, “featuring” 49 fouls and multiple head-scratching calls throughout.

Rams broke open the game early in the second to lead by as many as 13, going to a 3-2 zone that challenged the Badgers from the perimeter and held off each and every Brock run that got the game back to within three on several occasions but never back to even.  Badgers shot just 4-18 from three and 28% overall from the floor for the game, exhibiting no consistent threat from the perimeter.

Brock did do a solid job limiting the looks for 6’5″ Manny Diressa by using at least five different defenders on him and double teaming or hard-hedging every ball screen to keep the All-Canadian candidate under control but in many cases Diressa was able to pass out of the traps to start solid ball movement that comfortably beat Brock defensive rotations, leading to several open threes, most important of which was in the final minute of the game by 6’5″ Filip Vujadinovic (16 points, 6 rebounds, 3-5 from three) to push a three-point lead to six at 64-58, sealing the game for all intents and purposes.  Vujadinovic earned his stripes inside, taking a souvenir under the right end from the numerous tussles under the rim that characterized this tough, aggressive affair, bouncing back large from what was a foul-plagued and injury-riddled OUA quarter-final game at uOttawa this past Saturday night.

6’7″ Dani Elgadi (20 points, 8 rebounds, 5 turnovers) did his best to keep Brock in it, however Badgers struggled from the perimeter, punctuated by 6’7″ Cassidy Ryan who picked up three early fouls and never got into the flow of the game, missing his first 11 shots and finishing with just 2 points while fellow 6’6″ forward Daniel Cayer had just 1 point and 2 rebounds in 32 minutes.

Rams were keyed by the solid work of 6’1″ Myles Charvis who had 15 points in 38 minutes and 6’0″ Roshane Roberts, who again saved his best for the fourth quarter, with a three from the left baseline – again off of strong ball movement started by a Brock hard hedge on Diressa – followed by a mid-range pull up jumper that kept the lead at 8 midway through the quarter.

While it was not the smoothest affair with little flow or offensive flair, Ryerson gutted out a solid road win, going 19 for 24 from the line and winning despite 21 turnovers including 8 from Diressa and 4 from 6’7″ J.V. Mukama, who played 39 minutes and grabbed 10 defensive rebounds but was generally uninspiring on the offensive end.

The other OUA semi-final was over early as Carleton led by 20+ in the first half en route to a 97-58 victory dominating inside with 6’9″ Eddie Ekiyor (14 points, 11 rebounds in just 19 minutes) and 17 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists from 6’0″ Yasiin Joseph.  Carleton out-rebounded the Lancers by a ridiculous 63-28 margin, building leads as large as 46 points by late in the third quarter.

Carleton hosts the Wilson Cup championship game on Saturday night against the Rams, with Final 8 seeding implications on the line.

Brock awaits the results of the wild card committee’s interpretation of the “at large” criteria with many across the country believing the Badgers are in a very solid position to earn the bid.

Tonight: RSEQ Semi-Finals in Montreal + RSEQ 2017-18 Honours List

Bishop’s Gaiters look to re-bottle the magic that help lead them to a rather-decisive early February win in Lennoxville over conference champions McGill – one of only two losses in league play sustained by the Redmen – as they look for the upset this evening at Love Competition Hall in one of two RSEQ semi-final games on tap.  Laval is also at Concordia this evening and the winners will meet on the home floor of the higher seed on Saturday with a berth at the Final 8 at stake.

While McGill won the other three games between the two teams handily by 22, 51 and 22, Gaiters won at home despite 23 turnovers by shooting 55% from the field while holding Redmen to just 8 for 39 from three.  6’1″ Alex Paquin has scored 29, 28 and 24 points in games against Bishop’s so controlling the American U. transfer will be key as will taking care of the ball against the Redmen press that has yielded 20+ Bishop’s turnovers in all four games.  Game time is 8 PM at McGill.

In the other semi-final, Concordia hosts Laval at 7 PM ET.  The teams split four games this season with Stingers clinching second last weekend with a decisive win at home.  In fact, Concordia won the final two games of the series by 23 and 12 points as Laval finished the season losing 6 of their final 8 games to somewhat-limp into the post-season.  Rouge et Or have the athletes to control the glass, especially on the offensive boards, an area that, when right, Laval dominates led by jumping jack 6’6″ Frantson Demonsthene.

Concordia is always difficult to play at home and when Stingers guard the ball and get stuff out of their press, they are tough.  Still, in the end, it may come down to how well Concordia shoots the ball – especially without 6’1″ lefty Nicky Noble in the lineup.  In the nine games that the sophomore sharp-shooter has been out of the Stingers rotation due to injury on 28 January, Concordia collectively has shot just 25.4% from three-point land.

RSEQ First Team All-Stars

6’2″ Dele Ogundokun, McGill… Numbers don’t provide the proper context of the sterling contributions to Redmen’s success of this defensive and energy leader who is trying to cap his Redmen career with a four RSEQ title in 5 seasons and a second consecutive All-Canadian selection.

6’1″ Alex Paquin, McGill… The American U. transfer provided Redmen with another dimension – an ability to break-down defenders off the dribble and create.  Paquin had some sterling offensive performances and has ramped up at both ends in the final six weeks of the season, finishing well ahead of everyone in the league at 43% shooting from downtown.

6’5″ Abdul Kamane, Bishop’s… RSEQ’s leading scorer who has led the Gaiters to their first playoff spot in his career, his ability to slash to the rim and attack when getting his shoulders square downhill makes him arguably the toughest match-up in the conference.

6’4″ Ken Beaulieu, Concordia… The athletic wing was Stingers top player throughout the season and he looks to bring Stingers their first playoff victory in five seasons and the first of his career.

6’6″ Frantson Demonsthene, Laval… Tremendous offensive rebounder and impact player up front for Rouge et Or who led the conference in rebounding at 9.4 rpg and field-goal percentage at 53.1% finished third in scoring at 13.1 ppg.

RSEQ Second Team All-Stars

6’7″ Joel Muamba, Laval (11.7 ppg/3.9 rpg); 6’0″ Ricardo Monge, Concordia (11.0 ppg/89% f.t.); 6’5″ David Belanger, Bishop’s (10.9 ppg/8.0 rpg); 6’7″ Francois Bourque, McGill (9.2 ppg/6.6 rpg); 6’6″ Ibrahima Sylla, UQAM (9.4 ppg/7.3 rpg).

Top Freshmen:

6’3″ Sam Jenkins, McGill (6.7 ppg/2.3 rpg, several starts); 6’1″ Nervins Demosthene, Bishop’s (9.2 ppg/5.0 rpg in 11 post-Holiday games/starts); 6’0″ Jeffrey Avril, UQAM (5.6 ppg).


OUA Final Four Tonight: Windsor at Carleton Preview

For the fourth time in five seasons, coach Chris Oliver leads his Windsor Lancers into the Wilson Cup Final Four, with a date tonight with long-time rival Dave Smart and #1 ranked Carleton Ravens with a spot at the U-Sports Final 8 going to this evening’s winner.

This will be the second meeting of the season between the two teams – both at the Raven’s Nest – after Carleton won 97-83 in October, scoring 57 points in the first half to lead by 13 and later by as many as 20+.  Ravens took advantage of a dominant front line with 24 offensive rebounds and a 53-32 edge on the glass as 6’9″ Eddie Ekiyor had 25 points and 13 rebounds.  The teams combined to shoot 69 threes in the game with Windsor getting their usual gritty effort from 5’10” Mike Rocca (21 points on 5-14 shooting from three).

When going well, Lancers play a wonderfully appealing brand of offensive basketball with multiple Euro concepts of floor spacing, finding match-ups and sharing the basketball without fail.  In recent weeks, Windsor has re-devoted themselves at the defensive end guarding the ball (Lancers have held most teams at or below 40% shooting recently) and, as was apparent on Saturday at Western, are much more aggressive and productive gang-rebounding at the defensive end.  However, Ravens front line presents an altogether different challenge with Ekiyor, 6’11” Cam Smythe and 6’7″ Mitch Jackson who has emerged as a legitimate finisher and impact forward in the Ravens rotation.

But Rocca remains the key to any Windsor success; expect 6’3″ Marcus Anderson, my choice for U-Sports Defensive Player-of-the-Year, to draw the task of keeping Rocca in front of him and, as importantly, finding him early in transition to prevent successful Windsor run-outs that many times result in an open look from three or a lay-up.  6’3″ Marcus Jones has finished his first season with the Lancers strong and is a threat breaking down defenders off the bounce and also in transition.  6’6″ Luke Allin, who has struggled since returning from an ankle injury and was just 1-8 vs. Western on Saturday, still has the potential by himself to shoot the Lancers into the Wilson Cup championship game on Saturday.  Expect Ravens defensive stalward and under-rated 6’4″ forward Mitch Wood to play a role trying to slow down either or both of Jones and Allin.  (Wood’s younger brother Lucas is a reserve with the Lancers who also should see some time tonight).

Carleton counters with arguably the deepest and most talented back-court in the country led by 6’1″ Yasiin Joseph and 6’1″ Munis Tutu.  No word on whether injured 5’11” Emman Owootoah will return from a hand injury that has kept him out since late January.  6’3″ Stanley Mayambo has emerged as an instant-offense type threat shooting threes off the bench for Carleton and Anderson is usually an after thought on most teams defensive scout but is a legitimate threat when left alone.

Expect a fast, up-tempo affair with Windsor wanting to get out in transition and spread the floor while Carleton is likely to establish their offense inside to start and adjust to how/when/if Windsor decides to send extra help inside.

Game is available on OUA.TV.

Tonight’s OUA Final Four Preview: Ryerson at Brock

Game Time:  7:30 PM ET at Bob Davis Gym in St. Catharines…  Windsor at Carleton game at 8 PM ET at the Raven’s Nest in Ottawa.

Brock has won both prior games against the Rams this season – 6’5″ Ammanuel Diressa did not play in either and, almost as importantly, 6’8″ Adam Voll missed the first game and played only 9 minutes in the league game due to injury.  In the exciting league game in Toronto before a capacity crowd of 1,285 at the MAC in November, Badgers got a career effort in a big spot from 6’7″ Cassidy Ryan (game-high 32 points) including six in OT to pull out a five point win.  The lefty D1 transfer picked up the slack after 6’7″ Dani Elgadi, 6’6″ Daniel Cayer and 6’5″ Johneil Simpson all fouled out for the Badgers.  Brock took advantage of two late missed free throws by 6’7″ J.V. Mukama with a chance to win the game in regulation.  Elgadi finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 5 turnovers in that game.

Earlier in the pre-season at the RBC Brock Classic tournament in St. Catharines, Elgadi went off for 31 points while Ryan added 21 in a 97-86 Badgers win during which the home team led by as many as 21 in the second half as Rams played without both Diressa and Voll.

Some of the keys to tonight’s game include:

  • Brock’s depth and experience especially at the guard spot vs. Rams fourth-and-fifth-year guys:  Badgers have relied on 5’11” Tyler Brown for 30+ minutes in big games and have seen steady progress from 6’1″ freshman Kascius Small-Martin who has matured rapidly and is feeling more confident in starting Brock’s offense in small spurts during games.  Ryerson counters with 6’1″ Myles Charvis and 6’0″ Roshane Roberts complementing Diressa and Mukama.  On paper, slight edge to Ryerson at the guard spots.
  • Do Badgers have shutdown defender for Diressa in the mould of Carleton’s 6’3″ Marcus Anderson or uOttawa’s 6’4″ Brandon Robinson, who held Diressa to just 4-16 shooting this past Saturday night.  Diressa usually demands special attention and it will be interesting to witness how Badgers coach Charles Kissi attacks Diressa defensively with Cayer and/or 6’6″ Johneil Simpson among the candidates to take on this difficult task.
  • Can Elgadi take over in a big game including staying out of foul trouble which has plagued him in several important late-season games over his career.  Elgadi is a much more adept passer out of double teams – almost too unselfish at times as some Badgers fans have discussed – and with it being highly-probable that tonight will be the final home game of his wonderful career, will he look more aggressively at getting his own?  And with 6’8″ Adam Voll likely to be his defensive shadow, can he dominate who is a very good, athletic and strong inside/out presence for Ryerson.
  • Can Rams 6’5″ lefty forward Filip Vujadinovic bounce back from a tough game at Ottawa when the impact lefty swing man sat for much of the first half with two early fouls and then took an elbow to the nose early in the third, having to plug one of his nostrils with gauze before he returned and never got in the flow of the game.
  • Will the re-emergence of Rams Mukama continue.  The potentially-explosive wing forward has generally had a tough season shooting the ball but made at least two difficult, important shots at big points in Saturday’s game and generally was much more fluid and impactful to Ryerson’s win.
  • How will Ryerson deal with Badgers strong, versatile and multi-scoring front line?  Voll and Vujadinovic will have their hands full defending but coach Roy Rana has masterfully changed defenses late in the year, sprinkling in some zone and plugging in 7’2″ rim protector Tanor Ngom intermittently.  Badgers finished 10th in three-point shooting percentage and 13th in the OUA in three-point shots made; Rams shot a poorer percentage but made the third most threes in the conference.

Expect an electric atmosphere – rumors of multiple busloads of Ryerson fans planning to attend – and a capacity crowd in a wonderful venue in what will very likely be a Final 8-esque game.  Game is available on OUA.TV beginning at 7:30 PM ET. OUA West 2017-18 Honours List

Dominated by the Brock Badgers, OUA West still had several notable individual performances across the division and the following is a formidable set of All-Stars and Freshmen:

OUA West First Team All-Stars

6’7″ Dani Elgadi, Brock (OUA West Player-of-the-Year)… The most impactful player on by far the best team in the division who added elite passing skills to his game – arguably becoming too unselfish at times – to author a 17.3 ppg/9.3 rpg/2.5 apg/1.7 bpg line that deserves merit as OUA West Player-of-the-Year.

6’6″ Nedim Hodzic, Waterloo… Although the Warriors faded down the stretch, especially defensively, Hodzic’s numbers are off the charts (23.1 points per game/1st in OUA West; 12.0 rebounds per game/1st in entire OUA) who was a double double machine, especially after the Holidays when the slashing forward had 7 games of 30+ points and 15+ rebounds per game, leading the young Warriors to the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13.

6’7″ Cassidy Ryan, Brock… At almost 17.0 ppg, Ryan was in the Top 10 in the division in scoring however his impact in big games – at Ryerson when he had a career-high 31 points to lead Badgers to an OT victory – and several others is what rates the D1 transfer as a 1st teamer.  An extremely difficult match-up who scores around the rim, in transition and beyond the three-point line, Ryan has a chance to push for a Player-of-the-Year honours before his career is said and done.

5’10” Mike Rocca, Windsor… Another sterling season for the diminutive spark-plug out of Sarnia who built himself into a great player after being shunned at a school he originally committed to.  Perfectly fit for a Lancers system that encourages creativity and proper offensive reads, Rocca has developed wonderful floor vision and can get to the rim and knock down deep threes with equal confidence.  Over and above the solid numbers (18.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 5.2 apg) Rocca’s tenacity taking charges, scrapping for loose balls and 50/50 plays are the hallmarks of the under-sized Lancers success this season – Windsor has advanced to their fourth Wilson Cup Final 4 in the past five seasons with Rocca playing a leadership role.

5’11” Tevaun Kokko, Laurier… One of the more explosive players in the entire country who led the way on one of the younger, more up-and-coming programs.  Kokko averaged 19.3 points per game along with 3.1 assists per game leading his emerging program in the backcourt, supported by a very young front line, taking Golden Hawks to the OUA quarter-finals.

OUA West Second Team

6’1″ David McCulloch, McMaster… Marauders late season surge to a playoff spot was led by the steady fourth-year guard out of Hamilton who averaged 18.8 points per game and had the ball in his hands for the majority of big games/decisions.

6’0″ Omar Shiddo, Western… Mustangs had a tremendous second half using a balanced attack but usually led by the explosive combo guard who had a string of four consecutive 20+ point games after the Holidays including 21-44 from three point land during a stretch as Western took hold of second place in the division.

6’1″ Ali Sow, Laurier… The only freshman to make this list, Sow made an immediate impact in the exciting Golden Hawks back-court, averaging 16.5 ppg while shooting 46% from the floor highlighted by a career-high 31 points in a four-point loss to first place Brock.

6’3″ Miles Seward, McMaster… Marauders resurgence was helped by the perimeter shooting of this juco transfer who averaged 19.1 ppg in Mac’s up tempo transition-oriented offensive style.

6’4″ Marko Kovac, Western… Another vital piece of Western’s surge to a second place finish who came alive after the Holidays with six 20+ point efforts including 29 vs. Waterloo, 27 at Algoma and 26 at Lakehead.  Averaged 14.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

OUA West All-Freshman Team:  

6’1″ Ali Sow, Laurier (OUA West Freshman-of-the-Year)

6’1″ Kascius Small-Martin, Brock

6’1″ Justin Malnerich, Waterloo

6’5″ Rasheed Weekes, Guelph

6’1″ Pedro Costa, Algoma
 OUA East 2017-18 Honours Lists

Although the OUA has a different format for announcing All-Stars:  the official list as soon to be announced by the league will have three teams (15 players) league (East + West) wide, being our usual accommodative selves – our read is that there is a high probability that the West teams would be more comfortable being a separate entity from the East (happy to be corrected in that regard if my assumption is incorrect) – we have decided to bestow honours to ten All-Stars in each of the two OUA divisions, beginning with OUA East in this post, as follows:

OUA First Team All-Stars

OUA East Player-of-the-Year 6’2″ Kadre Gray, Laurentian… Ridiculous numbers (24.4 ppg (1st in league), 8.0 rpg, 7.0 apg (1st), 51% fg%, 43.1% 3’s, 80.5% f.t. that were the catalyst behind Vees being in Top 10 all season and within a week of clinching second place in the division.  Gray’s injury for all intents and purposes killed Laurentian’s season (Vees were 2-3 without him; 19-5 with him) and he shapes up as a First Team All-Canadian in just his second season in Sudbury.

6’5″ Ammanuel Diressa, Ryerson… As noted here previously, Diressa is the best pure scorer in the country who can carry the Rams by himself and has done so in big spots, especially as a game-closer.  His game-tying three at the buzzer at home vs. Ottawa basically saved Ryerson’s season (Diressa finished with 41 points as Rams prevailed in OT) and earlier had a career-high and U-Sports season-high 50 points at home vs. York.  Rams are 15-4 with Diressa – he missed Ryerson’s two losses to Brock earlier in the season, their OT loss at RBC Brock Classic to Calgary and early regular season road set-back at Western.  Another strong All-Canadian candidate.

6’0″ Yasiin Joseph, Carleton… Emerging from a walk-on who waited two seasons just to get a uniform, Joseph has established himself as one of the best break-down guards in the country with a knack for getting in the lane and usually making great decisions.  Joseph was at his best at the end of big games this season including Carleton’s home win over Ryerson, at Brock.  Joseph led the well-balanced Ravens attack at 14.7 ppg plus almost 4 apg and while his numbers – and all Carleton players numbers – rarely compare to the best in the division, Joseph has been the main decision maker – especially down the stretch of games – for the undefeated and #1 ranked team in the country.

6’9 1/2″ Eddie Ekiyor, Carleton… A formidable presence at both ends up front for the #1 Ravens who has improved his offensive skill set, forcing defenses to either consider a double down or at least dig deeper and harder from the wing spot.  Ekiyor is an above-the-rim athlete who can intimidate/shot block and rebound at both ends.  He also runs the floor like a wing forward and has the most potential to over-achieve of any player in the country and is still just a sophomore.

6’4″ Brandon Robinson, Ottawa… The value to the Gee-Gees of this versatile wing was punctuated after the injury to point guard Sean Stoqua as Robinson had to handle much more of the offensive decision making as well as defend opponent’s top players each night.  Robinson was magnificent defensively this past Saturday night checking Ryerson’s Ammanuel Diressa and also ran the point and was Ottawa’s main offensive threat.

OUA East Second Team All-Stars

6’6″ Nelson (not William) Yengue, Laurentian… An undersized big with an explosive second jump, Yengue provided virtually all of the key inside play at both ends for Laurentian.  His work inside at uOttawa in January was the catalyst to Vees road victory over the Gee-Gees and, save for the seemingly-recurring bouts of foul trouble which frankly plagued him for much of his career, Yengue was the second best big man in the conference.

6’7″ Tanner Graham, Queen’s… A versatile offensive player who can score inside and from beyond the arc – albeit somewhat streaky – Graham established himself as one of the top players in the division, led by explosiveness and strength.  As a rim protector, Graham used his great timing and athleticism to lead the conference in blocked shots and kept the Gaels in many games against top teams this season.

6’3″ Reilly Reid, Toronto… Blues had a thin roster that was further hampered by injuries but Reid (14.0 ppg/6.0 rpg/2.4 apg) was able to lead this group to a fifth-place finish after Toronto was predicted by multiple outlets to finish out of the playoffs this season.

6’1″ Munis Tutu, Carleton… Although again the numbers don’t immediately jump out at you, Tutu worked his way into the decision making process with the Ravens and earned the confidence of coach Dave Smart and staff, teaming with Joseph to form the most potent back court – defensively and offensively – in the conference.

5’11” Jaz Bains, Queen’s & 6’4″ Marcus Lewis, Nipissing… tied for 10th.

OUA East All-Freshmen Selections

6’3″ Evan Shadkami, Toronto (OUA East Freshman-of-the-Year)

7’2″ Tanor Ngom, Ryerson

6’3″ Alex Muise, Ottawa

6’4″ Prince Kamunga, York

6’4″ Chase Tynes, Ottawa

OUA East Defensive Player-of-the-Year:  6’3″ Marcus Anderson AUS 2017-18 All-Star Awards

With the AUS tournament upon us, we present this season’s All-Stars and All-Freshman team, as follows:

First Team All-Stars

POY:  6’0″ Javon Masters, UNB… Led the Reds to a first-round bye as the leading scorer in the conference (24.5 ppg) adding 5.5 rpg, 5.9 apg while shooting 50% from the floor, 38% from three and 90% from the foul line.  Masters had six games of over 30 points during the AUS regular season with a season-high 39 against Saint Mary’s.  Tough to stop in transition when he gets downhill, Masters hopes to lead his team to their first AUS championship in several decades.

6’6″ Sven Stammberger, Dalhousie… A series of nagging injuries are likely the reason why this slick wing forward wasn’t more of a factor in the Player-of-the-Year discussion, especially with how well he started the season with 35 and 36 points in the first two games of the season.  Stammberger averaged 18.4 ppg, 8.2 rpg and shot 40% from three, 52% overall and 86% from the free throw line, leading the AUS #1 ranked and regular season champions Tigers.

6’10” Erik Nissen, Acadia… Another dominant season for the big lefty, averaging an 18.8 point/10.4 rebound double double for the regular season including a season-high 31 points against Saint Mary’s.  The key to Acadia’s hopes for an AUS crown.

6’3″ Kemar Alleyne, Saint Mary’s… After an injury-riddled first half, Alleyne has been the key for the Huskies down the stretch, riding a seven-game winning streak into the AUS tournament.

6’6″ Alex Carson, Dalhousie… While his overall numbers are maybe not 1st-Team-esque, the numerous games that his three-point shooting gave Dal large leads and the sheer volume of threes provides the impetus for this selection.

Second Team

6’6″ Nikita Kasongo, Saint Mary’s… Slowed down a bit in the second half but was a revelation and is likely a future AUS Player-of-the-Year candidate.

6’7″ Kevin Bercy, St. FX… Tailed off from last season’s MVP effort but remains the go-to guy and catalyst for any post-season championship aspirations for fifth-year laden X-Men.

6’2″ Daniel Gordon, Memorial… High volume shooter who kept Memorial in many games with this offense, finishing off a solid three-year career in St. John’s.

6’3″ Julius Antoine, St. FX… Had a solid offensive season for St. FX with several strong scoring performances.

6’3″ Ben Miller, Acadia… The numbers were not superlative however Miller remains a high IQ, cerebral lead guard and main decision maker for Axemen. AUS All-Freshman Team:  6’6″ Nikita Kasongo, Saint Mary’s (Freshman-of-the-Year); 6’3″ Keevan Veinot, Dalhousie; 6’1″ Xavier Ochu, Dalhousie; 6’7″ Ibrahima Doumbouya, UNB; 6’1″ Moshe Wadley, UPEI U-Sports men’s Top 10 after 24th February 2018 action

With U-Sports men’s Final 8 just about a week and a half away, three teams (Alberta, Calgary and host Acadia) have officially qualified for the tournament with five more spots in the four-day championship event still at stake:  AUS tournament champion (or runner-up if Acadia wins AUS tournament/decided either Saturday night or Sunday), RSEQ champion (determined this coming Saturday) and two spots from OUA (to be decided on Wednesday night) plus the seemingly-always-controversial “wild card/at large bid” to be announced next Sunday night.

In advance of this very exciting two week period, we present our current view of the Top 10 in the country.

#1 Carleton (30-0)… Ravens pulled away late in the third quarter for a tough win over a very well-prepared and energized Laurentian group playing without two starters in 6’2″ Kadre Gray, an All-Canadian candidate, and 6’3″ J.D. West.  Carleton’s depth and versatility has kept them undefeated ahead of Wednesday’s OUA semi-final at home against Windsor, where a win would help them qualify for their 16th consecutive Final 8 and 17th in the past 18 seasons.

#2 Alberta (27-1)… A quality sweep over a solid Lethbridge side firmly entrenches the Golden Bears at number two ahead of next weekend’s Canada West championship game in Edmonton against Calgary Dinos.  Although both teams have qualified for the Final 8, this game is very likely to impact seedings at the National tournament.

#3 Brock (25-3)… Badgers dominated Laurier last night at home breaking to a 53-14 lead by creating turnovers and getting a balanced offensive attack.  Brock’s first five are as good as any in the country and Badgers, shunned last season in the wild card, look to erase all doubts with a victory at home this Wednesday against a very good Ryerson Rams side.  Brock won at Ryerson in overtime before the holidays and also had a comfortable win at home over the Rams at the Brock RBC Classic in October.  Badgers have only lost once since the Holidays, a late season set-back at Windsor which, after Lancers decisive playoff win at Western that puts them one win away from a Nationals berth, is less detrimental in any wild card discussion.

#4 Calgary (25-5)… Dinos swept UBC this weekend and clinched their third consecutive trip to the Final 8; in fact Calgary won all four games against their Canada West rivals this season and the only blemishes on their record are a pair of losses to #2 Alberta (home-and-home), at Lethbridge in OT, at Brandon and, in the pre-season, an 82-70 loss to #3 Brock.  Dinos have a chance to improve their ranking on Saturday and avenge two earlier losses to the Golden Bears in the Canada West championship game in Edmonton on Saturday night.

#5 Dalhousie (26-5)… Tigers pulled away to capture the AUS pennant by a full eight points in the standings.  Dalhousie has three losses to Acadia, one to St. FX and one at Queen’s in Kingston in the pre-season.  Quality wins include a two-game sweep over UNB and a victory over Lethbridge in Kingston on a neutral court.  Tigers have won five of their last six games and are 14-3 in their past 17 games.

#6 McGill (19-4)… Redmen again have proven to be the class of the RSEQ but still need to take care of an improved Bishop’s side and, if they win the semi-final, contend with either Concordia or Laval in Saturday’s championship game.  Redmen have won 18 of their past 20 games including a quality non-conference win at home against Ottawa.  McGill’s other two losses came in early October at the Calgary Cup against the host Dinos and Acadia Axemen.

#7 Ryerson (20-8)… Rams are hitting their stride as 6’5″ Ammanuel Diressa continues to show he is the best pure scorer in the country and 6’8″ Adam Voll, an underrated piece up front who has suffered through an injury plagued season, returns to top form.  As well, 6’7″ J.V. Mukama has had what for him has been an ordinary season but the slick wing forward was instrumental in last night’s win at uOttawa and appears on track to finish the season strong.  Ryerson has won 9 of their past 10 after a three-game losing streak on the road to start the second half.  Early season losses included loss at Brock (non-conference and in OT), two point loss to Calgary – both of which were without Diressa – and a loss at Western in Diressa’s first game back.  This is a different team when all pieces are healthy and is led by a player who can win games virtually by himself.

#8 UBC (24-5)… T-Birds have been eliminated from Canada West playoff action after a two-game sweep in Calgary including a Game One blowout at the hands of the Dinos.  UBC did shake off a second tough start in Game Two to make a game of it but went 0-4 against Calgary this season.  Their only other loss was in OT at Lethbridge.  UBC’s best non-conference win was by two points over Western at the Saskatchewan pre-season tournament.  Other than their games against Calgary and Lethbridge, the combined records of the other 14 teams representing the other 23 wins in UBC’s season is 146-233 (.385) with only four of those teams having records of .500 or better (Western 18-11 – eliminated in OUA quarter-final, Manitoba 16-12 swept by UBC in CW quarter-final, UVic 17-14 lost in CW “play-in” round, Regina 16-15 lost in CW quarter-final).  T-Birds await this week’s results with the hope that a wild card possibility remains.

#9 UNB (24-6)… Led by the all-time leading scorer in U-Sports history, 6’0″ Javon Masters, the Reds finished second in the AUS, receiving a first round bye at this weekend’s conference tournament in Halifax where they look to win their first post-season game in the Masters era.  UNB had their chances for an AUS regular season pennant vanish with Friday’s rather decisive home loss to Dalhousie, a team they were swept by in AUS regular season play.  V-Reds have dominated Saint Mary’s, winning all four AUS regular season games plus a pre-season win over the Huskies at UNB’s Eric Garland tournament.  Other than Saint Mary’s, Reds have just one other win over a team with an above .500 record (Acadia).  Reds losses have come to Dalhousie twice, at Acadia by 12, at home to Memorial (5-21) 105-92, at Toronto (17-14) and at York (7-25).  V-Reds are a combined 15-0 against Cape Breton, UPEI, Bishop’s, Guelph, Laval and Queen’s.

#10 Ottawa (24-8)… Gee-Gees are likely resigned to the fact that their season ended after last night’s tough loss at home to Ryerson when uOttawa, the worst free throw shooting team in the nation, shot just 12-24 from the stripe including 2 for 9 in the second half.  However, uOttawa did hang in against the Rams, one of the best teams in the country (now that they are healthy) despite being thin with experience in the back court after 5’11” Sean Stoqua went down with a severe knee injury.  Stoqua plans to have surgery within the next month and Ottawa hopes to have him back for the second half of next season if all goes well.