Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Best of three format taxes teams.... by Wayne Thomas

This weekend marks the beginning of the unique Canada West Basketball playoff schedule with the semi-final rounds in all three divisions, and the advancing teams, having already played a 22 or 23 game schedule, will have to be mentally and physically ready to survive the next three weeks. Whereas Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic Leagues play single knock-out games to decide playoff winners, Canada West teams beat the tar out of each other in best of three series in divisional semis and finals prior to the Final Four Tournament, this after playing the longest schedule of any of the CIS' four leagues. Luck with injuries and dealing with the fatigue of the long season has a lot to do with the results of the playoffs.

Final Canada West Standings
Great Plains

1. Brandon ... 20-2
2. Regina ... 10-12 Semi- Final ... Winnipeg at Regina
3. Winnipeg ... 9-13
4. Manitoba ... 6-16
1. Calgary ... 18-4
2. Alberta ... 16-6 Semi-Final ... Saskatchewan at Alberta
3. Saskatchewan ... 12-10
4. Lethbridge ... 2-20
1. UBC ... 18-5
2. Victoria ... 14-9 Semi-Final #3 Simon Fraser at #2 Victoria
3. Simon Fraser ... 12-11 Semi-Final #4 Fraser Valley at #1 UBC
4. Fraser Valley ... 11-12
5. Trinity Western ... 7-16
6. Thompson R. ... 2-21

Semi-Final Playoff Predictions ...
at Edmonton ... Bears are on a roll, and should reverse last season's home Finals loss against the Huskies. This is not a sure thing, as Saskatchewan's 5 seniors are desperate to go out as winners. Steele and Bates provide winning margin for Alberta.

at Regina ... Cougars home court should give them the edge on Winnipeg. Williams, Schubach, Wright will best the Wesmen, whose Mr. Everything, Erfan Nasajpour, is coming off an injury.

at Victoria ... only home court to recommend the defensive conscious Vikes ... their playoff experience should trump the wildly inconsistent Clan, whose posts could give Victoria fits.

at Vancouver ... UBC has the depth, and, with Dyck back and healthy, they should brush the Cascades aside ...'Birds are 3-0 with the Valley on the year (6-0 since FV joined Canada West), by an average of 16 pts.

This should set up Divisional Finals (Feb. 22-24) as follows ...
Regina at Brandon , Alberta at Calgary, Victoria at UBC

Notes ...
> Stan Peters, who was fired from his Head Coaching position at Trinity Western at mid-season, has filed a wrongful dismissal suit with the B.C. Supreme Court. In his claim Peters cites the 'highly unusual' timing of his release from a CIS school, and that the University has made 'unfounded allegations' of poor performance issues. The 47 year old Peters had coached at Trinity for 8 1/2 years, and he characterizes the actions of the University as 'callous, and insensitive' and without cause or appropriate notice. The Coaching job at Trinity Western went to former Dino player ('70s) and long-time Fraser Valley Coach, Pat Lee.

> Malaspina University College of Nanaimo, B.C. has applied for membership in the Canada West Universities Sports Conference, and the decision on their bid will be made in June of 2009 with the school possibly joining Canada West in 2010-11. Officials at the Vancouver Island school, which currently competes in the B.C. Colleges League, admit they will have to have a 'huge cash infusion ' to upgrade facilities, and to meet the travel, recruiting, and scholarship demands of becoming competitive in Canada West.

> In their latest 'Totem Poll ' (#10) , David Larkins and Jeremy Sawatzky, two 'gods walking among mere mortals', as they describe themselves, pick 3 Central Division teams in the top 5 of their Canada West Poll this week ... these two media guys have a real love for CIS Hoops, and do a great job of writing and pod-casting in an irreverent manner ... Totem Poll #10

The Huskies, Bears, and Dinos are all hopeful of winning the Division, then hosting the Final Four. Saskatchewan has eliminated the Golden Bears in both of the past two playoff seasons and they could do it again this coming weekend in Edmonton, if they get hot.

> Ross Bekkering, the Dinos' 6'8", 3rd year post, who led the Canada West in rebounding is practicing this week after having missed the Dinos last 5 games with an ankle injury. Ross, who averaged 11.5 rebounds and 12.2 pts. per game this Canada West season, joins Saskatchewan's Andrew Spagrud ( 20.9 pts., 10.7 rebs.) as the only two players to average a double-double this year.

> Adam 'The Fan' Kleitsch would encourage you fans waiting for the Dinos Final series Feb. 22-24 to take in the Women's Dinos in Semi-Final action this weekend at 'The Jack' at 6:00 pm Friday and Saturday vs. Saskatchewan. If necessary, the 3rd game would be played at noon Sunday. Another alternative would be the MRC Cougars and SAIT Trojans in their home and home games to finish off the ACAC regular season ... at MRC at 8:30 pm Friday, and at SAIT at 7:00 pm Saturday.

>Divisional Final Schedule ... the Dinos host the Alberta-Saskatchewan winner next weekend (22nd-24th) ... the games would be Friday and Saturday at 7:00 pm, and Sunday at 2:00 pm, if necessary.

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