CIS Top 10 for 21 Feb 2016

#1 Ottawa (25-4, 15-2) (LW #2)… With a pair of easy wins against Laurier and Waterloo and games remaining at Nipissing and at Laurentian, Gee-Gees are likely to enter the playoffs as either the #2 or #1 seed in the OUA, depending upon how the RPI shakes out.  Presently, using “what if” analysis available on Martin Timmerman’s wonderful site (my analysis only), Ottawa would get #1 seed and be in a position to host OUA Final Four if Guelph is able to overtake Lakehead for third place in the OUA Central.

#2 Ryerson (19-3, 15-2) (LW #1)…  Rams had their 11 game winning streak broken in a shocker at Guelph on Wednesday evening, falling behind by 20, before coming back to take the lead and then faltering at the end.  6’7″ J.V. Mukama, arguably the most complete player Rams have had since Christmas, did not travel with the team to Guelph or on Saturday when Rams rebounded to thrash Lakehead.  Interim Coach Patrick Tatham, in what should be regarded as an honorable ploy with the long-term growth of his student/athlete at the forefront, has decided to allow Mukama to play only home games until Tatham is comfortable that Mukama’s focus on academics is in order.  Ryerson finishes this coming weekend at Queen’s and at York and needs a pair of victories to retain hopes of a top seed in the RPI-based OUA seeding.  As mentioned above, in most scenarios we could ascertain, Rams need Lakehead to finish ahead of Guelph for third place in the OUA Central to obtain OUA #1 seed.

#3 Carleton (19-4, 14-3) (LW #3)… Ravens hammered both opponents from Kitchener/Waterloo this weekend and are firmly entrenched in third spot in OUA seeding.  Against Waterloo which was a 40 point game at halftime, all 12 Ravens got into meaningful action.  After this weekend’s games at Laurentian and Nipissing, Carleton will prepare to host a quarter-final playoff game a week from this coming Saturday.  At this point, if all higher seeds win, Ravens would host #6 seed.

#4 Calgary (24-6, 17-3) (LW #4)…   Dinos came back on the road to win at Alberta on Saturday and now own the nation’s longest league winning streak at 13 in a row and counting.  Post Matt Letkanen had a strong offensive effort with a pair of throw-downs against the Golden Bears.  Dinos and Bears could meet again if Alberta knocks off MacEwan in next weekend’s one of two Canada West “play-in” series in a Battle of Edmonton.

#5 UBC (19-5, 16-4) (LW #5)…   Thunderbirds sweep over Winnipeg at home this past weekend clinched 2nd spot in the Pioneer and sets UBC up with a quarter-final home series against Lethbridge Pronghorns, 4th in the Pioneer.  Horns have a First Team CW candidate in 6’6″ Brandon Brine but lost 6’1″ Dejon Burdeaux, their crafty U.S. guard to an ankle injury this weekend – he will have 2 weeks to recover.  UBC retains the automatic host bid for the Nationals but has sites set on another Canada West playoff crown.

#6 Manitoba (19-10, 15-5) (LW #6)  Bisons were idle and also get next weekend off before hosting Explorer #2 Fraser Valley in a Best-of-3 in Winnipeg – the first such home playoff series for the program in many (?) years.  A two-week lay-off may not be the best tonic for a red-hot team that has won 7 consecutive and 16 of their past 19.  Still Manitoba is arguably deepest team of athletic talent in the conference although this is likely to be tested against Cascades, who have a short rotation but plenty of playoff-hardened veterans led by conference all-star candidate Kevon Parchment.

#7  Brock (19-5, 12-5) (LW#8)…  Badgers re-gained some lost confidence on Saturday, handily defeating visiting Nipissing after struggling to defeat 6-16 Laurentian in OT on Friday in a game that Voyageurs had the ball on the final possession of regulation gunning for the win.  Still, despite struggles over the past month, Badgers remain in a strong position to gain #4 seed in the OUA which guarantees a first-round bye and home quarter-final playoff game.  This Wednesday’s showdown with McMaster at the Meridian Center, likely to attract a crowd of over 4,000, will very likely decide that #4 seed.  A win would also clinch the OUA Central division regular season crown after the Badgers missed the playoffs last season.  Brock then travels to Guelph on Saturday to close out their regular season.

#8 McMaster (16-6, 12-5) (LW #9)… After a pair of easy wins against Nipissing and Laurentian, Marauders hold their own destiny for #4 seed in the OUA; analysis seems to show that under most circumstances, a win at Brock on Wednesday would guarantee Marauders that prized #4 seed.  This would also likely vault McMaster into a wild card discussion and make Friday’s game at Guelph important to maintain that wild card possibility.  Mac is out to avenge an earlier home loss to Brock before Christmas in a game that sophomore 6’7″ forward Connor Gilmore was injured early.

#9 Dalhousie (19-7, 13-6) (LW #7)  It may be a bit harsh to drop Tigers two spots from last week’s rankings however the lacklustre loss at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday showed that Dal, given their comparative lack of consistent offense – has to defend and rebound for 40 minutes to be thought of as a team that can win a game or two (or more) at the Nationals.  Tigers did bounce back wonderfully last night, locking up a first round bye at the AUS tournament, with a comeback effort against UPEI as their bench, led by 3 freshmen, shot the Panthers out of their zone, as Tigers finished the game with a collective 10 for 16 shooting effort from downtown over the last 25 minutes of the game to win going away.

#10 McGill (18-5, 10-4) (LW #10)  An unlikely comeback win at Laval, in which Redmen rallied from 23 down late in the third, may have masked some major scoring issues for McGill, especially when 6’1″ Jenning Leung is out of the lineup.  But 6’5″ fifth-year point forward Vincent Dufort  and 6’8 sophomore Noah Daoust, one of the more underrated scoring bigs in the country, rallied the Redmen to clinch their 4th consecutive RSEQ regular season crown.  McGill is home to Bishop’s next Saturday with the Gaiters needing a victory to keep their faint playoff hopes alive and then Redmen complete their regular season at home vs.UQAM.  McGill hosts the conference tournament RSEQ Final Four at Love Competition Hall on March 11th and 12th for the first time.

Honorable Mention:  

Thompson Rivers (17-4, 16-4) (LW: #7)  WolfPack get a first round bye in the Canada West playoffs before hosting either Winnipeg or Regina in a quarter-final Best-of-3 at Kamloops.

Advertisements Top 10 for 14 February 2016

#1 Ryerson (18-2, 14-1) (LW #1)…  Rams have now won 11 in a row after this afternoon’s win over U of T at the Enercare Center in front of a packed house.  With the most quality depth in the nation, Ryerson can run top-end players two deep at all 5 spots and only need to win their final 4 games – all on the road – to maintain this ranking and, apparently, take the #1 seed in the RPI-structured OUA playoff bracket.  Rye finishes at Guelph (this Wednesday), at Lakehead (Friday) and then next weekend at Queen’s and at York.

#2 Ottawa (23-4, 13-2) (LW #2)… Gee-Gees let a big, second-half lead get away at McMaster on Friday night and were the less-energized team down the stretch.  This past weekend saw the return of 6’3″ Caleb Agada, who looked a step slow coming off a severe ankle injury and was saddled with foul trouble in both games.  Talk of an OUA Player-of-the-Year candidacy for 6’1″ Mike L’Africain is very reasonable – the fifth-year point guard had his third 30+ point game of the season in Saturday’s win at Brock while underrated 6’6″ wing forward Matt Plunkett again delivered several big second-half 3’s to allow Ottawa to pull away.  Gee-Gees host Waterloo and Laurier this coming weekend at home with Saturday being Senior’s night.

#3 Carleton (17-4, 12-3) (LW #3)… After a tough 3-3 stretch that included a difficult win at home over Queen’s, there were whispers of slippage into non-home-playoff game territory however Carleton recovered very nicely this weekend with a pair of workmanlike double digit road wins at Top 10 Brock and McMaster.  Ravens continue to consistently play harder than their opponents on every possession and, while this team is arguably the least talented in the last 15 or so seasons, Ravens are slowly starting to get solid contributions from deeper in their bench as 6’6″ Mitchell Wood was very good on Saturday against Mac and 6’2″ guard Stanley Mayambo is starting to deliver quality offense off the bench.

#4 Calgary (23-6, 16-3) (LW #4)…   Dinos swept Regina, the first game before about 3,000 fans on Thursday night which could be a prelude to the Canada West Final 4 which Dinos would be in a position to host with a victory next Saturday night in Edmonton against Alberta Golden Bears, who just qualified for the post-season.  6’5″ Thomas Cooper had another pair of high scoring games vs. Cougars and is one of the favorites for Canada West Player-of-the-Year.  Calgary has the nation’s longest league winning streak at 12 in a row and counting.

#5 UBC (17-5, 14-4) (LW #5)…   With a pair of wins at Brandon, T-Birds are 8-2 after the Holidays and look to clinch 2nd spot in the Pioneer with a sweep at home this coming weekend vs. Winnipeg.  UBC retains the automatic host bid for the Nationals but wants to keep the pressure on Calgary to host CW Final 4.

#6 Manitoba (19-10, 15-5) (LW #8)  Another red-hot team that has won 7 consecutive and 16 of their past 19 including Wesmen Classic championship, Bisons are riding the multi-talented play of 6’5″ Keith Omoerah who has played himself into the Canada West First team all-star discussion.  Manitoba is also finally getting consistent quality minutes from 6’6″ Jonathan Alexander who has been inserted into the starting lineup.  This could be the most deepest team of athletic talent in the Pioneer – Bisons will host a Canada West quarter-final playoff series for the first time in a couple of decades.

#7 Dalhousie (18-6, 12-5) (LW #9)  Tigers struggled in parts of their win over Cape Breton but continue to win with defense and rebounding, led by 5’11” Ritchie Kanza-Mata who has elevated his play guarding/creating turnovers and has been much more aggressive with his offense, playing his way into the AUS First team all-star discussion.  Dal has a first-place showdown this Saturday at home against UPEI Panthers with both teams looking to lock-up a first round bye at the AUS Final 6 tournament.

#8  Brock (17-5, 10-5) (LW#6)… Reality hit the Badgers over the past 10 or so days with 3 double digit losses against the #1, #2 and #3 seeded teams in the country.  Coach Charles Kissi has been attempting to develop some depth however it was clear that after his first 5, the talent level isn’t yet what is required to contend at this point.  While 6’5″ Dani Elgadi struggled all weekend against Carleton and Ottawa, the Badgers got a break-out game from 6’0″ freshman point guard Tyler Brown, who has assumed the starting pg role with great confidence and production, scoring 28 points on 12 for 19 shooting while going head-to-head against 5th year senior guard Mike L’Africain of the Gee-Gees.  Badgers get a chance to re-gain some confidence , hosting Nipissing and Laurentian this weekend followed by a Wednesday, February 24th rivalry game at the Meridian Center against McMaster when Brock hopes to clinch the OUA Central division regular season crown.

#9 McMaster (14-6, 10-5) (LW #10)… Behind the tremendous exploits of 6’6″ Troy Joseph and 6’4″ Leon Alexander, the Marauders had arguably the strongest win in the era of those two by coming back from 18 down in the second half to defeat #2 Ottawa.  Mac proved that, at home at least, they can be viewed as a legitimate playoff-calibre team that has a reasonable chance to compete for the Nationals.  Marauders were unable to match the intensity of #3  Carleton the following night, bowing by double digits but the Ottawa win provides the opportunity to push into #4 OUA ranking and a home playoff game in the quarter-finals.

#10 McGill (17-5, 9-4) (LW HM)  Despite some injuries, quality depth and a return to more typical McGill defending and rebounding helped push Redmen to their fourth victory in five games, a tough road win at Concordia.  6’5″ fifth-year point forward Vincent Dufort has emerged as the offensive leader and key decision maker down the stretch for McGill and is playing his way into the First team all-star discussion while the return of tough, consistent 6’7″ reigning POY Francois Bourque provides McGill with strength and tenacity around the rim.  McGill is back in first place and holds their own destiny to capture what would be their fourth consecutive RSEQ regular season title – needing 2 wins in their final 3 games (at Laval, home to Bishop’s, home to UQAM).  The conference tournament is being held at Love Competition Hall for the first time.

Honorable Mention:  

UPEI (20-11, 12-6)  Winding up a 10-1 season at home, Panthers still have hopes of finishing first in the AUS when they visit Dalhousie on Saturday; both teams are tied atop the conference with 34 points.

Thompson Rivers (15-4, 14-4) (LW: #7)  Two road losses to Fraser Valley makes even this ranking precarious.

Lakehead (18-9, 9-6) with a chance to move higher when they host #1 Ryerson this Friday in Thunder Bay.