Thursday, 15 March 2007

CIS Final 8 Quarter-Final Previews + All-Canadian Announcements

The CIS released its annual list of major award winners and All-Canadians earlier today. See below for CISHOOPS.CA's predictions as well. The announcement about the major award winners can be found by clicking here

Articles from this morning's newspapers across the country:

Neate Sager's most recent piece on "Out in Left Field" blog centers on the young coaches entering the CIS in recent years Transition Game Among Coaches

David Larkins from Brandon Sun's blog "The Point After" has some thoughts from Halifax Beginning of the End

Mary Caton of the Windsor Star provides a look at the Lancers point guard Corey Boswell, a defensive specialist from Detroit Boswell Adds Depth, Energy

William Houston of the Globe & Mail provides a view of March Madness on both sides of the border and shows that viewership numbers are closer than one might immediately think Score Catches Serious Case of March Madness

Wayne Kondro has the scoop on tonight's Mike Moser Award winner and for only the sixth time in the history of Canadian university basketball, there will be a repeat winner Ravens star Canada's best a second time: Jeanty to receive Moser Award

The, Quebec's largest English weekly newspaper has a nice piece of N.D.G. residents who play for the Concordia Stingers Stingers one of Canada's best

Article in Toronto Star about high schooler Andrew Nicholson in which he pays tribute to Canadian universities and the education system Professor on Hardwood

Quarter-Final #1: No. 1 Concordia (22-2) vs. No. 8 St.Mary's (16-17) Expect this game to be a stark contrast in styles as the deeper, more athletic Stingers, who generally look to push the tempo at every turn meet the upstart Huskies, who have been getting it done with a short bench and deliberate, turnover-limiting pace. The Stingers backcourt allows them to push up on the ball and push the ball in transition as 6'1" sophomore Damian Buckley (pictured) ordinarily goes coast to coast to get to the rim or find open shooters in transition while older brother 6'3" third-year Dwayne Buckley checks the opponent's top scorer and can finish on the break. Laval had some success when limiting transition and forcing the Stingers to run half-court offense but then 6'1" fifth-year post Patrick Perrotte, the "Q"'s MVP gets more involved, usually successfully. St. Mary's will have to stay home on 6'3" fifth-year sharp-shooter Ben Sormonte, who lit up Laval, going 7 for 8 from 3 point land, but can also get to the rim to keep close outs honest. 6'7" Jamal Gallier provides strength and rebounding up front and the Stingers lose little when they go to the bench for 6'1" third-year wing Andre Johnny, another gazelle in the open floor and 6'3" freshman forward Sebastien Martin. Although Concordia usually went ten deep in league play, it will be interesting to see how much John Dore uses his 8th, 9th and 10th men in a close game. The Huskies, who play their starting five virtually the entire game when not in foul trouble, teetered through 3 tough AUS tournament games, leaving top players in despite early foul trouble and relying on tremendous production from 6'2" Mark McLaughlin, who averaged 21.7 ppg in the AUS tournament, plus improved efforts from 6'5" Ike Uchegbu, who authored a pair of monster offensive efforts, including 27 pionts/11 rebounds vs. UPEI until running into serious foul trouble in the finals and 6'6" Clint Bateman, who was the star down the stretch against Cape Breton in the semis, going 4 for 7 from 3 for 19 points. St. Mary's will look to control the tempo so the work of underrated fourth-year point guard Mark Ross (pictured), who played every minute of every game (125 minutes including overtime in the title game), and managed an assist to turnover ratio of 2 1/2 to 1, averaging 7.3 assists per game over the 3 games against only 3 turnovers/game and added 11 steals. Ross was the major reason why the Huskies averaged only 10.7 turnovers throughout the tournament. St. Mary's football quarterback Eric Glavic, who would have been well recruited as a basketball player had he not declared his intentions to play football, was brought onto the team in January and has provided solid support off the bench, playing 29 minutes in the championship game when Uchegbu battled foul trouble. If Concordia gets out and runs and gets the Huskies into early foul trouble, this game could be over in a hurry. However, the longer Ross, McLaughlin and Co. can stay in the game, the more confidence St. Mary's gains and the better their chances. CISHOOPS.CA PREDICTION Concordia 77, St. Mary's 63 with the Stingers pulling away in the last 10 minutes of play.

Quarter-Final #2: No. 4 Brandon vs. No. 5 Windsor In a battle of second-year coaches who completely turned around their programs in a matter of months, Friday's second quarter-final provides intrigue if only because both teams are a bit of an unknown quantity when playing away from their home gyms. The Bobcats will play their first meaningful game away from home virtually all season or at least since the finals of the Wesmen Classic just after Christmas when they were handled with relative ease by hometown Winnipeg. Meanwhile, the Lancers come off a big victory at home against Carleton but have yet to have a signature road victory, winning all 3 playoff games in the friendly confines of the St. Denis Center. The Bobcats are much like Concordia as they enjoy a higher tempo game and will push up on teams defensively and typically deny the first pass while Windsor, after a late season slump, has returned to their lane-stuffing, one-and-done defensive ways under Coach Chris Oliver. Both teams have plenty of offensive firepower with Windsor's 6'5" Kevin Kloostra, who can stretch defenses from beyond the arc and can post up smaller opponents on the blocks and Brandon's 6'3" Dany Charlery, who is a great finisher in transition and loves to get to the rim. Both teams have solid leaders at the point although Windsor has a little more depth at this important position with 6'2" Ryan Steer (pictured) and 6'0" Corey Boswell, one of the better ball defenders in Canada, matching up against 6'1" fourth-year veteran Yul Michel (pictured), Canada West's defensive Player-of-the-year. Both Boswell and Michel are likely to guard the ball from end-line to end-line. The versatile Steer is a tremendous decision maker in transition who can create and knock down his own shot. The battle inside will be of contrasting styles and talents as Brandon's front line is much longer and athletic with 6'9" Yuri Whyms and 6'7" Stevens Marcelin, who combined to average an amazing 16.3 rebounds per game in Brandon's four playoff games, while Windsor's front court of 6'8" Greg Surmacz, 6'6" Greg Allin and 6'6" Rich Allin gets it done with a combination of finesse and strength. Brandon boasts a pair of long-range shooters who usually are the recipients of open looks off draw and kicks from drives by Michel and Charlery as 6'0" Chad Jacobsen, who hit 5-6 3's in game one of the Great Plains division championship, and 5'10" Taylor Cherris-Wilding, keep teams honest from the perimeter. Expect Windsor to find Kloostra early and often as Brandon will have to show that they have a defensive matchup with the size and ability to limit Kloostra's looks. Windsor will have to control the tempo and convert defensively as the Bobcats bigs will likely look to beat their somewhat-slower checks down the floor in transition. CIS HOOPS.CA PREDICTION: Windsor 72, Brandon 64 as the Bobcats have a difficult time with the talented Kloostra.

Quarter-Final #3: No. 2 UBC vs. No. 7 Ottawa The T-Birds raised their level of play on the defensive end down the stretch, holding teams to 39% shooting in the playoffs and outrebounding their opponents by a +9 rebounding margin. Given the offensive firepower UBC brings to the table, the T-Birds may be playing as well as any team in tournament currently. The Gee-Gees love to pressure the ball and double team ball screens, looking for easy scores off turnovers and looking to wear teams down late to break away. UBC's strength offensively is in the backcourt with 6'4" Casey Archibald, Canada West MVP, who averages 22 ppg in the playoffs, 2 points above his 19.9 ppg average all season while 6'3" sharpshooter Chris Dyck (pictured) can stroke it from 3 and also get to the rim. Expect Archibald and Dyck to log the majority of the minutes in the backcourt with freshman 6'1" freshman Alex Murphy spelling both for short stretches. Defensively, UBC will have to deal with 6'4" First Team OUA East all-star Josh Gibson-Bascombe and his ability to create in transition and shoot over people from long range. As well, 5'11" fifth-year guard Alex McLeod is a valiant ball defender and is likely to have to check Dyck. All 4 key guards can knock shots down and get to the rim. UBC's steady 6'2" fifth-year Adam Friesen usually shares time with the more athletic 6'3" Jason Birring at the wing and the two combined for about 14 ppg from the 3 spot this season. The Gee-Gees start 6'3" Sean Peter, (pictured) who has extended his offensive game further out onto the perimeter this season while still being able to get to the rim and use his strength to battle inside on the offensive glass. The late-season emergence of 6'3" Donnie Gibson, a sophomore, has allowed coach Dave DeAveiro to offer another long-range shooter from the wing. Up front, each team has enough quality to play four players as UBC's 6'8" Bryson Kool, who has averaged over 30 minutes per game in the playoffs and upped his season averages by 4 points and 2 rebounds per game is the T-Birds main threat, complemented by 6'7 Matt Racher in the starting lineup. Ottawa's athletic pair of 6'5" forwards, fifth-year seniors Curtis Shakespeare and Jermaine Campbell have solid perimeter skills and can take advantage of one-on-one matchups in the low block. Down the stretch, the Gee-Gees have lost very little when 6'9" Dax Dessureault, the former starter, and emerging 6'5" David Labentowicz, a scrappy, underrated post have come in and UBC offers the same with 6'6" freshman Brent Malish and 6'9" fifth-year center Cody Berg. This could be the most evenly-matched game in the quarter-finals as both teams are deep across all positions, have big times players, defend and rebound and have won big games all season. CIS HOOPS.CA PREDICTION: UBC 69, Ottawa 66 as Canada West Player-of-the-Year Casey Archibald makes big plays down the stretch to lead the T-Birds.

Quarter-Final #4: No. 3 Carleton vs. No. 6 Acadia According to Ravens star guard Ozvaldo Jeanty, the Ravens hit "rock bottom" last weekend in their Wilson Cup loss at Windsor and if history tells us anything, Carleton under coach Dave Smart usually rebounds well after such an outing. However, in the athletic Axemen, the Ravens face an opponent with more size and speed up front with 6'4" Luckern Dieu and 6'8" Achiul Lual and the AUS Player-of-the-Year in Paolo Santana. As has been stated here almost ad nauseum, the Ravens, when right, defend and rebound better than any team in the CIS. Last weekend, it took a scorching hot shooting effort from the Lancers (14 for 23, 60.9%) from three point land in their home gym to hand the Ravens only their fourth loss of the season. Acadia's main bombers from downtown are 6'1" Peter Leighton, the recipient of many opens looks off draw and kicks from Santana, 6'2" Jordan Sheriko, who, after an injury-plagued season, had three solid games off the bench in the AUS tournament for Acadia, and 6'5" Shawn Berry, the sixth man who can stretch defenses and shoot over people on the perimeter. Carleton's ability to guard the ball, especially with Santana, will be key - expect both 6'4" Ryan Bell (pictured) and Jeanty to take turns checking the AUS MVP. After a lacklustre 2 1/2 playoff games by his standards, Jeanty came alive late in the Wilson Cup to give Carleton a chance to win and thus far in his career, Halifax has been his town. 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp has not shot the ball with his normal consistency but he may have been Carleton's best player as freshman the last time he played in the Metro Center. Although 6'3" Stu Turnbull has taken advantage of solid matchups in recent games and 6'3" Jean-Emmanuel Jean-Marie returned to his consistent self after suffering through illness in early February, Carleton's success lies in the hands of Jeanty and Doornekamp. Bell has also watched his consistency shooting the ball fall off but as a defender, on or off the ball, he has few rivals and he has hit big shots many times in his career. Coach Smart will look for a favorable matchup with 6'7" Kevin McCleery who has all the moves on the low block but can get caught out of position defensively against quicker opponents and can get into foul trouble as a result. This may be the right game to see doses of 6'5" Daron Leonard in the rotation given his athleticism and instincts around the rim offensively. The Axemen have gone only 7 deep throughout the AUS playoffs, putting major minutes on Dieu and Lual, who need to be active on the offensive glass for Acadia to stay in the game, while the Ravens can go deep into their bench depending upon the matchups. CISHOOPS.CA PREDICTION: Carleton 76, Acadia 59 with the Ravens ability to guard the ball and make Acadia's shooters score with a hand in their face being the key.

ALL-CANADIAN & OTHER MAJOR AWARD ANNOUNCEMENTS TONIGHT The annual awards night to celebrate CIS men's basketball will go in Halifax tonight. Here are the nominees for each of the awards and honours and CISHOOPS.CA predictions for the winners:

Paulo Santana Acadia
Patrick Perrotte Concordia
Osvaldo Jeanty Carleton
Casey Archibald U.B.C.
Predicted Winner: Osvaldo Jeanty, Carleton

Christian Upshaw St. F. X.
Jean-Francois Beaulieu Laval
Boris Bakovic Ryerson
Jeff Lukomski Regina
Predicted Winner: J.F. Beaulieu-Maheux, Laval

Garry Gallimore St F X
Dwayne Buckley Concordia
Martin Ajayi McMaster
Yul Michel Brandon
Predicted Winner: Garry Gallimore, St. FX

Les Berry Acadia
John Dore Concordia
Dave DeAveiro Ottawa
Barnaby Craddock Brandon
Predicted Winner: Barnaby Craddock, Brandon

Andrew Kraus Acadia
Matthew Thornhill McGill
Andy Wedemire Western
Kamar Burke Thompson Rivers
Predicted 5th member of All-Rookie team: Andrew Wedemire, Western

First Team
Osvaldo Jeanty Carleton
Casey Archibald U.B.C.
Patrick Perrotte Concordia
Paulo Santana Acadia
Brad Rootes Brock
Second Team
Andrew Spagrud Saskatchewan
J.P. Morin Laval
Eric Breland Cape Breton
Efran Nasajpour Winnipeg
Martin Ajayi McMaster

A couple of links to the CIS site officially announcing the availability of live! Final 8 webcasting CIS Final 8: All games available through on-line videocast, TV and their tournament preview Ravens, Jeanty Drive for Five

1 comment:

Chad said...

Congratulations to Barnaby Craddock, but as I've said before I think Les Berry deserved the coach of the year award.

Brandon's record is impressive, but they were a .500 team last year and they won a whole bunch of games in a mediocre division. Berry took a program that was a total disaster three years ago and led them from the basement last season to the AUS championship.