Thursday, 6 March 2008

Peter Yannopoulos QSSF Preview


Concordia at Laval

Well folks, the time has come for Quebec to crown its champion. How fitting it is to have the two most dominant programs of the last decade going head to head Friday night in Quebec city. Jacques Paiement's Rouge et Or have been almost unbeatable since January, and are coming off a convincing blowout victory in the semi's over McGill. Concordia on the other hand had to come from behind and defeat a tough Uqam squad at home. John Dore's Stingers have battled injuries all season long, and are without their 2nd superstar in Dwayne Buckley, out with a severe knee injury. However, Concordia has shown character and resilience this season, battling Uqam and McGill for 2nd place and ultimately coming through and reaching the final.

Last year the final was at Concordia, and as I was sitting in the stands and looking at Laval's team, I thought they had a chance of winning. Even though Concordia was the #1 team in the country, led by veterans Pat Perrotte, Ben Sormonte and the Buckley brothers, I saw the Rouge et Or with JP Morin and his supporting cast with a legitimate chance of upsetting the Stingers. Boy was I ever wrong on that day. Morin was timid, he kept shooting jumpers instead of taking it inside and Laval got blown away by the Stingers that day. Well I'm sure that Coach Paiement has reminded his players of that game all week, especially to Mr. Morin, who has the opportunity to avenge that loss and lead his team to the Nationals. I've watched Morin play ever since his 1st cegep game 8 years ago, and heading into tomorrow's final, this could possibly be the last collegiate game of his career. I don't think he wants it to end this way, especially not in front of his fans. Morin has had a monster season, an All Canadian type season and i don't know how Concordia can stop him.

Concordia has a player named Damian Buckley, and when your talking about the best point guards in Canada, his name should be at the top of the list. He can score, he can distribute, he can rebound, he can steal the ball at any second and he makes big plays when it the last 3 minutes of the game. You can bet that if this game is close, Buckley will have the ball in his hands every time down the court. Buckley never talks, hardly shows any emotion, but he has the will to win.

Morin vs Buckley is the headline, and look for both of them to have huge games, they've been doing it all season. Laval has more offensive talent to support Morin, while Concordia has grit and the ability to win close games. I'm curious to see how Laval's rookie point guard Xavier Baribeau handles Concordia's athletic guards. Baribeau who was named QSSF rookie of the year, is a heady PG who loves to handle the rock and make plays. How he performs will determine the outcome of this game. If he limits his TOs and gets the ball to Laval's scorers, Con U will be in for a long night. However if he struggles, Concordia is one of the best transition teams in the country and that will lead to easy scores.

The moment of truth has arrived, Concordia vs Laval for all the marbles. As John Dore told me last week-end, "...All you ask for is a chance to be in the finals every year.." Well for the last several season's, its been mostly the Stingers and le Rouge et Or. It's should be a fierce and hard fought battle, but at the end of the day, Laval will be booking their tickets to Scotia Bank place.

Peter Yannopoulos
Yanno Basketball Consulting

1 comment:

Alex Tourigny said...

The thing with Concordia is that Jamal Gallier won't be able to score in the post, with JP Morin guarding him (Gallier was a key player in their win vs UQAM).

The second thing is that Concordia doesn't have any primary scoring after Buckley. Sure, they got Levi Vann, James Clarke and such, but it doesn't compared with having Jean-François Beaulieu-Maheux on your squad (and Jérôme Turcotte-Routhier).

This game should not even be close, but it's only one game and I know everything can happen.