Friday, February 29, 2008

CIS Nationals Final 8 Update

After tonight's action, here is an update on the confirmed and possible participants in the CIS Nationals to be held in Ottawa in two weeks:

1. Carleton (hosts)
2. Alberta (Canada West qualifier)
3. UBC (Canada West qualifier)
4. * OUA East champion (if Ottawa defeats Carleton tomorrow)
5. OUA West champion (winner of Western at Brock)
6. Quebec league champion (Concordia, Laval and McGill remain)
7. AUS champion
8. Wild card selection

* If Carleton wins OUA East championship game, then Ottawa travels to play the loser of the OUA West championship game for the third Ontario spot.

Tomorrow's Games:
2 PM ET Western at Brock (OUA West championship)
7 PM ET Brandon at Calgary (Canada West Bronze medal game)
8 PM ET Ottawa at Carleton (OUA East championship)
9 PM ET Alberta vs. UBC (Canada West championship game)

Sunday's Game:
2 PM ET McGill at Laval (QSSF semi-final playoff game)

UBC shocks Calgary to advance to CIS Nationals

UBC 77, Calgary 69 In the second upset of the evening, the T-Birds blew the game open in the third quarter by continually getting scores in transition after doing a solid job inside and typically limiting Calgary to one shot to advance to the CIS Nationals. 6'3" Chris Dyck led UBC with 26 points including 14 in the second half and got help in the wild third quarter, when the T-Birds outscored the Dinos 32-24 and led by as many as 16, as the T-Birds went on a 10-2 run led by 6'6" Brent Malish, who had 4 consecutive points including a dunk and then later hit a 3 from the corner when the Dinos went to a 1-3-1 zone to try to slow the Birds. 6'7" Matt Rachar (17 points) also made a big contribution during the game-deciding run scoring inside including a dunk on an "and 1". The first half was a defensive struggle which UBC led 28-23 but UBC got going immediately at the start of the third. Calgary's 6'8" Henry Bekkering (19 points but many after UBC had taken a double digit lead) ignited the Dinos and the crowd with an early slam but for the most part UBC defended well inside, aiding by the Dinos settling for perimeter jumpers.

Tomorrow's championship final pits UBC against Alberta while the third place game could have significant wild card implications depending upon what happens in other conferences, namely the AUS, as Brandon and Calgary square off with loser almost certainly falling out of consideration for a wild card.

QSSF: Stingers advance to Quebec Final

Concordia 80, UQAM 77 The Stingers blew an early third-quarter 8 point lead to fall behind 74-70 with 5 minutes left until 6'1" Damian Buckley took over, scoring most of his 10 second half points down the stretch including a steal and "and 1" with about 2 minutes remaining to give the Stingers the lead for good as Concordia advanced to next weekend's QSSF championship game. Buckley had a game-high 30 points (20 in the first half), 5 rebounds and 6 assists while 6'8" Jamal Gallier had his best game since before Christmas with 18 points and 10 rebounds including 5 on the offensive glass and a key bucket to tie the game at 74 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. The Citadins got a tremendous effort from 6'3" Joseph Atangana, who was spectacular around the rim at both ends, blocking 5 shots and slamming home a pair of dunks including a freakishly athletic play in which he caught the ball with his back to the basket in the low post going away from the rim but somehow immediately rose up and slammed it with 2 hands over his head, leaving the overflow crowd in disbelief. Concordia led by five at halftime and then started the third quarter on a 5-2 run before 6'4" Mario Joseph started a big UQAM run with a clutch 3 pointer which energized the Citadins. UQAM then began creating turnovers and getting out in transition for easy scores. In the half court, the Citadins played small ball, creating difficult matchup problems. When Concordia coach John Dore tried a zone, the Citadins were able to get the ball inside at will. But then Buckley went to work to save the Stingers at home. UQAM had 5 players in double figures led by Joseph with 16 points while Atangana had 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 resounding blocks but it wasn't enough as Concordia won at home against UQAM for the third time this season in a season-series in which the home team won all five games.

Canada West Semi-Final: Bears come back to beat Brandon

Alberta 85, Brandon 79; Bears advance to CIS Nationals and Canada West Championship game BOX SCORE 6'2" Canada West MVP Alex Steele put the Bears on his back with 16 second half points as Alberta advanced to the CIS Nationals with a come-from-behind victory over the Bobcats. With Alberta up 41-39, Brandon's 6'5" Adam Hartman hit back-to-back 3's early in the third quarter to give the Cats a four point lead which Brandon maintained through the end of the third quarter. But Steele, who added 10 rebounds and 6 assists in a near-triple-double performance, began to heat up and 6'3" Justin Vanloo (14 points) and 6'1" point guard C.G. Morrison (15 points) also had big second halves as the Bears outscored Brandon by 11 in the final quarter. 6'9" Yuri Whyms was a monster inside and on the offensive glass for Brandon, leading all scorers with 27 points and added 15 rebounds including 7 on the offensive glass while Hartman added 24 points. 6'3" Dany Charlery added 11 but only 2 after halftime while 6'1" Yul Michel had 9 for Brandon, who awaits the loser of the second game of the Canada West semi-final between UBC and Calgary. Brandon needs to win that third place game to maintain hope for a CIS Nationals. 6'9" Richard Bates kept Alberta in the game in the first half with 12 points for Alberta.

Game Report from Calgary Sports Information GOLDEN BEARS HEADED TO OTTAWA AFTER UPSETTING BOBCATS; By Jack Neumann, UC Sports Info. CALGARY - Alex Steele scored 21 points as the University of Alberta Golden Bears upset the number three ranked Brandon University Bobcats 85-79 in Canada West semi-final men’s basketball action in Calgary. With the win Alberta advances to the Canada West Final tomorrow evening against either the University of Calgary or University of British Columbia and also have secured a spot at the CIS national tournament in Ottawa next month. The Bears entered the four team tournament as the Wild Card team while the Bobcats were Great Plains Conference champions and were CIS national finalists last year. Steele, the Canada West Player of the Year also had 10 rebounds and six assists as the Bears overcame an 11 point deficit in the third quarter. Steele was 7-for19 from outside and added another eight points from the free-throw line. The win for Alberta marked the third time that Bears have beaten Brandon. Alberta led 20-13 after ten minutes thanks to strong inside play from Richard Bates who came off the bench and made several key baskets. The Bobcats slowly clawed their way back into the contest and tied the game at 37-37 at the half thanks to strong outside shooting and taking advantage of several Alberta turnovers. Steele had a chance to put the Bears in front in final second but his desperation shot at the buzzer was well off the mark. Brandon outscored Alberta 24-19 in the third quarter as the Bears were plagued by foul trouble and the Bobcats hit their free throw attempts and led 63-61 with ten minutes remaining. The lead changed hands several times with no team being able to take control. Steele and C.G. Morrison then proceeded to take control with key treys and Alberta went ahead 77-71 with 2:43 remaining in the contest. The Bobcats cut the margin to 77-74 with just over 90 seconds left but Harvey Bradford’s basket with 76 left staked the Bears to a 79-74 lead that Brandon could not penetrate. Yuri Whyms led the Bobcats with 27 points while Adam Hartman chipped in with 24. Morrison added 15 points for Alberta and Justin VanLoo chipped with 14 off the bench, many of them at critical times in the second for the Bears. Alberta shot 44% in the contest while Brandon shot 40%, however, Alberta hauled down 43 rebounds as compared to 34 for Alberta.

-UC-

Friday's Action: 2 Spots at Nationals up for grabs + QSSF Semi-Final

The second and third spots (of a total of eight to be determined by a week from Sunday) at the CIS Nationals will be confirmed this evening as Canada West stages their Final Four semis tonight in Calgary where an overflow crowd is expected. In the 5 PM MTgame, Alberta faces Brandon. These teams have met twice this season, once in the pre-season at the Guy Vetrie Memorial tournament in Victoria and then later in November in Edmonton in a Canada West regular season game with Alberta winning both games. In the 7 PM MT game, UBC Thunderbirds meet home-town Calgary Dinos; the Dinos came up with a 5 point home-court win in November during a UBC road trip. Rita Mingo of the Calgary Herald does a nice job of breaking down tonight's UBC at Calgary semi-final Not exactly familiar foes Wes Gilbertson of Sun Media on tonight's Calgary/UBC game Dinos hoopsters have sights set on Nationals berth. Here is the view from Vancouver as Howard Tsumura of the Vancouver Province previews tonight's game Hanson's team slows it down and the interviews T-Birds Coach Hanson Hanson's Birds set for start of CW Final Four Dan Stinson's article in the Vancouver Sun T-Birds won't be gentle with giant

Stewart Pallard of the Gauntlet, Calgary's campus newspaper, has a piece on Dino freshman Tyler Fidler Basketball's rockin' rookie makes his mark

Here is a link to Ben Matchett's CW Final Four preview (previously published)

Both games can be viewed LIVE! on NUTV Calgary's video webcast link

MORE ON BRANDON'S DROP IN THE RANKINGS DESPITE NOT LOSING (allegedly).... The boys from the Scrum talk to an apparent oversight by most coaches voting in the most recent NABCC Top 10 poll The Coaches screwed up In my opinion, the rule that the boys allude to is assinine... why does a governing body try to legislate to disregard a single loss in a Best-of-3 series, even if that loss was at home in a playoff game. By this very questionable logic, a loss in a playoff game is less punishing to a team in the polls than a loss in pre-season tournament. Needless to say, my take is that a loss is a loss, especially in a regulation 40 minute game with referees, timekeepers, fans etc. at home with two weeks to prepare for a playoff game.

QUEBEC PLAYOFFS TONIGHT
7 PM UQAM at Concordia The teams split a four regular season games. The winner of tonight's game advances to the Quebec league championship game next weekend against the winner of McGill at Laval which will be played this coming Sunday at 2 PM in Sainte-Foy.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Latest from the Scrum: Smart to appear on podcast next week

*** Neate Sager's piece on last night's playoff action *** Hoops: Windsor washed away


Here is the latest post from the boys in Brandon Enough is enough

As well, their latest podcast (Podcast XI) features a strong interview with Windsor Head Coach Chris Oliver, completed a couple of days prior to last night's Lancers loss Scrum Podcast with Chris Oliver

The boys also announced that Carleton Head Coach Dave Smart is scheduled to be interviewed on the Scrum's podcast next week (Podcast XII).

Coach Rautins thoughts on CIS stars

The new and improved Canada Basketball site has a section in which Head Coach Leo Rautins provides his thoughts on several basketball issues and in his most recent post, he has articulated his views on the top players in the CIS. Click here for the link to Leo's blog... Below is the text of the blog entry with the relevant CIS material (thanks to Wellsie for point out the link)

I have people asking me about CIS players, and if there are any National team prospect out there. I’m always watching and talking to contacts across Canada, looking for players that can help us win. I think it’s important for people to understand that just because a player has success at CIS or NCAA school, it doesn’t mean that it will translate to the National Team level. I often hear that this player, or that player, should be on the team – but in reality, they may not be able to play at our level.

However, I am always trying to find the players that can help Canada win. I have put together some names of the top players (in no particular order) in the CIS – for you to look for with the playoffs in full gear.

By the way, I’m betting on ‘five time’ (my nickname for Carleton Head Coach, Dave Smart, who also coaches by my side on the National Team) to win his sixth consecutive CIS Championship. I can’t tell you how impressed I am by his numbers and successes – amazing at any level! Dave has won championships by simply out-coaching, and his players, out-executing, his opponents. The University of Victoria, under Ken Shields, won seven straight titles - but from what I saw, had far greater size and talent (their National Team presence and impact at the time, supports this) relative to their competition, than Smart has won with at Carleton. Their first big test comes Saturday vs. Dave DeAveiro’s Ottawa Gee-Gee’s, in the OUA Final, at the Ravens Nest in Ottawa.

Players to watch:

Aaron Doornekamp – a forward on the undefeated Carleton Ravens…Aaron played for Canada last summer at the Pan Ams and was in the final 15 with the Qualifier team…versatile player that can play inside or outside…outstanding passer…tough and scrappy…will beat you dropping 30 - or do it with defense and rebounding.

Ryan Bell – a guard with the Ravens…played for Canada in Las Vegas…with Ryan I know exactly what I get – every time he steps on the floor…can run the team…excellent rebounder and defender at the 1 or 2 spot…can hit the open shot…tremendous competitor…great attitude.

Henry Beckkering – best athlete in the CIS…you can read about this high flyer in last weeks Sports Illustrated (surprisingly, in an article on dunking!)…transferred from Eastern Washington to the U of Calgary…21 and 7 rbs on the season…put up huge numbers when his brother Ross went down recently…versatile…finally getting a chance to show what he can do on the floor.

Ross Beckkering – has been out with an ankle injury…picked him out of an open tryout camp last summer in Toronto – loved his energy and aggressiveness around the hoop…Ross made the World University Team…also at U of C with his brother…6’8”…great athlete…hops…works hard…huge upside.

JP Morin – led the CIS with 24.5 at U de Laval in Quebec…6’7” inside – outside scorer…goes to the glass…3 man skills but plays better at the 4 in National Team camps…physical…solid offensive player.

Leonil Santil – the rebounding monster from Acadia – broke the conference record for single season rebounding – 13.9 rpg…also dropped 18+ a game…size could be an issue moving up.

Greg Surmacz – the U of Windsor forward was #8 in scoring at 19.5 and also grabbed 8.2 boards a game…tough on the offensive glass…versatility allows him to score inside and step out for the J as well.

Josh Gibson-Bascombe – plays for DeAveiro at Ottawa…at 6’4” good size for a point guard…long arms – can get after you defensively…scores…not afraid to attack the basket…played for the World University Team last summer.

Others to watch:


Danny Charlery – Brandon U
Tyler Richards – St. FX
Andrew Spagrud – U of Saskatchewan
Erfan Nasajpour – U of Winnipeg
Alex Steele – U of Alberta
Nick Pankerichian – U of Guelph


Also, while surfing around the new and improved Canada Basketball site, I came across an excellent blog by Matt Slan on CIS basketball

Follow Up to Alex Tourigny's recent article

Alex has asked that I post this after some recent conversations he had...

Good morning esteemed reader,

In my UQAM / Laval recap from last week, I wrote that Jérôme-Turcotte Routhier (from Laval) lost his cool during the game, flipping the bird to Samuel Johson from UQAM.

First of all, I got to admit that it was more a Rafael Nadal (vamos) gesture (that can be use as an obsene gesture, than a middle finger - even if both gesture can be done has one at once).

I spoke to Jérome earlier this morning and cleared everything out. The bottom line is that I misinterpreted Jérôme's gesture. Altough he did do a Rafael Nadal type of move, it was only to CELEBRATE and NOT an obsene gesture towards Samuel Johnson.

What led me to believe that is that Jérôme did look at Johnson while doing so and that it happened just after he lost his temper (and he acknoledged that he did overreact).

So, I want to apologize to Jérôme Turcotte-Routhier for misinterpreting his gesture. He is a great rookie player and will be one of Laval main players for years to come. I don't want his name to be tarnished because of what that misinterpretation.

Alexandre Tourigny

Last night's Playoff action and other news

Mary Caton of the Windsor Star reports on last night's Western upset win over OUA West regular season pennant winners Windsor Lancers Lancers out early

Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press on Mustangs big win at Windsor

Jim Wallace of the St. Catharines Standard provides his recap of last night's Brock Badgers win at home Badgers advance

Greg Layson's Big Man on Campus blog has all the details of last night's Brock win

Calgary Herald article providing the Dinos perspective on the recent Canada West all-star announcements Dinos will deal with All-Star snub on court

CISHOOPS.CA Media Poll gets some run in the Edmonton Journal

OUA Division Championships

A short note/plea to those in the OUA office or whoever is responsible for scheduling Saturday's OUA West championship game in St. Catharines. With the OUA East championship already scheduled for 8 PM, please, from the perspective of CIS/OUA fans, consider scheduling Western at Brock in the afternoon or some time not in direct competition with Ottawa at Carleton. From a marketing perspective, allowing fans to watch/follow both games would be much more appealing.

Canada West Final Four Preview by Wayne Thomas

Friday's Final Four Games Promise Fierce Action Four Canada West teams have dreams of a trip to CIS Nationals, and each are one win away from achieving that goal. These are the four best in the league over the entire season, and each team has reason for optimism when considering their chances of success.

Alberta Golden Bears (16-8) vs. Brandon Bobcats (22-3)
#4 seed - unranked in CIS #1 seed - # 3 ranked in CIS


The Bears own a 2-0 record over the Great Plains Champions this season, with one win in October 86-80 at Victoria, then their league win at home 106-93. Alberta has played four games on the Calgary floor, albeit with no joy in any of them, but they have played in front of this crowd, and they may have some 'familiar court advantage'. Alex Steele, their 5th year Canada West MVP can score from anywhere on the floor, and his match-up with David Yul Michel, the defensive player of the year in the league, should be a classic. Brandon has a scoring advantage in the post, as both Yuri Whyms, their big man down low, and Adam Hartmann, who can wheel and deal in the high post, are bigger threats to score than Alberta's Richard Bates, Harvey Bradford, or Justin VanLoo. Andrew Parker, Neb Aleksic, and CG Morrison must out-play the veteran Bobcat back-court, and corral their dangerous scorer, Dany Charlery. Both these teams like a fast pace, and the Bears can match Brandon defensively; Coach Don Horwood may find a way to convince his team they can be winners in this gym, and Brandon may find Alberta just as tough the 3rd time around. The Bobcats have made a habit, in the last 30 years, of representing Canada West at Nationals, as they have 24 appearances at the Finals, with 4 Canadian Titles. Alberta has 14 appearances with 3 National Crowns. Game time is 5:00 pm MST on Friday.

Calgary Dinos (20-4) vs UBC T-Birds (20-5)
#2 seed 4th ranked in CIS #4 seed - 5th ranked in CIS


Calgary is 14-0 on their home court this season, and they will be playing in front of a full house, mostly of Dinos fans, and they come off an impressive pair of wins over their Alberta rivals, the Golden Bears. The last time these two teams met was in November as the Dinos opened the season with a 73-68 win over the T-Birds. In that game, Calgary's 6'8" post, Ross Bekkering, had a 20 pt. and 14 rebound double- double, while his more ballyhooed brother Henry was held to 14 pts., and got a bit of a rough ride from UBC's Bryson Kool. The Thunderbirds Coach Kevin Hanson has made a point of urging more physical play from his posts, so Friday's match could be hammer and tong time. Calgary's three men up front will present a problem for UBC, as the two Bekkerings combine with Robbie Sihota to average over 50 points and close to 30 rebounds a game. UBC counters with Kool at 6'8", and Brent Malish at 6'6" with 6'10" Balraj Bains off the bench seeing more action late in the season. On the perimeter, both squads have capable point guards who will look to run ... Calgary's Jeff Price has been a tenacious defender, and a threat from 3 pt. range, while UBC starts Brett Leversage at 6' , but plays Alex Murphy, 6'2", who has more offense, and will look to penetrate. UBC's Chris Dyck is a shooter who must be respected by the Dinos defense, as he averages 18.4 ppg, and he has Matt Racher, a 6'7" wing man to help with 10.3 pts. UBC, in fact has more scoring by committee, and they put up 84 pts. a game, which is on par with Calgary's 85, and UBC limits their opponents to 74 pts. a game compared to Calgary's 75. The stats seem to even out, and we can expect a close game. The X-factor for Calgary has to be the home court, and also their shooting guards Cody Darrah and Tyler Fidler. Both can hit from long range, and they compliment their teammates well. Calgary only has 4 appearances in the CIS Nationals with no National titles as yet, while UBC has made the trip 15 times and captured 2 Championships, the last being in 1971-'72. The last time these teams met in the Canada West Final Four was in Brandon in 2004 with Calgary defeating UBC 92-87 to claim the Canada West Title. This should be another high scoring game with great intensity from both teams ... Calgary looks to extend their home streak to 15 games, and carve out some history of their own in CIS play. game time is 7:00 pm MST.

Notes ... Do not call anyone ... anyone ... looking for free tickets to this Tournament. There are none to be had, and you will be disappointed at the door. Heightened interest in CIS Hoops in Calgary as the gym is expected to sell out with 4,400 tickets printed, and sales racing towards capacity. Phone 220-7749 or online at tickets@ucalgary.ca the lines should be easier this week with two games on tap and fans trained to arrive early. The attendance at the U of C far out-strips that in any of the other playoff venues this season, and could set a record for the Final Four.

CIS Announces Men's Basketball Broadcast schedule

The CIS announced yesterday the broadcast schedule for the Nationals as per below. One thing that caught my eye was the 11:30 AM start for the first quarter-final on Friday, probably not a slot teams envy.

CIS MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Dates: Friday, March 14 - Sunday, March 16
Location: Carleton University, Ottawa (at Scotiabank Place)

Friday, March 14 (all times LOCAL)
11:30 am Quarterfinal 1
2:00 pm Quarterfinal 2 (The Score / video webcast)
6:00 pm Quarterfinal 3
8:00 pm Quarterfinal 4 (The Score / video webcast)

Saturday, March 15
11:30 am Consolation 1
1:30 pm Consolation 2
6:00 pm Semifinal 1 (The Score / video webcast)
8:00 pm Semifinal 2 (The Score / video webcast)

Sunday, March 16

12:30 pm 5th Place
3:30 pm Final (The Score / RDS / video webcast)

* No Bronze game

Peter Yannopoulos's QSSF Semi-Final Preview

QSSF PLAYOFF PREVIEW

Uqam at Concordia.

It's semi-final playoff time in the QSSF, and for the 3rd year in a row, the Uqam Citadins travel to Loyola Gym to face the defending league champions Concordia Stingers. For those who have forgotten, two years ago, Uqam barely sneaked into the playoffs and faced the highly ranked and powerful Stingers on their home court. Everyone thought it would be a blowout, but Uqam walked into Concordia and upset them, thanks in large part to a player named Claude Delmas. Delmas the former Dawson College star only played a few league games at the end of the season that year and despite claims by Concordia Head Coach John Dore that he should have not been eligible to play, league officials allowed him to play, and he was the main reason why Uqam beat Concordia and Laval on the road and won the QSSF championship. Last season, both teams matched up again, but this time the first place Stingers easily handled Uqam (minus Delmas) and went on to the Nationals ranked and seeded #1. Unfortunately, Concordia lost in the 1st round and their dream for a national championship was gone with the wind. This year's matchup seem's to be much more even. Concordia at (9-7) and Uqam (8-8) played each other 4 times this season, and the home team won each game. There is a respect factor from both teams,starting from the coaches down to players, but it is clear that these two teams do not like each other. The Delmas factor still leaves a bad taste for the Stinger program, and with both teams playing a very athletic and physical style of basketball, look for a serious battle come Friday nite. The build up is there but lets talk about the players now. Concordia is not the same team without Dwayne Buckley, out for the year with a knee injury. But brother Damian has picked it up to another level this year, and is probably the best point guard in the country( I still love Yul Michel). Buckley can change a game around at any second and he wants to get back to the Nationals. However, knowing coach Olga Hrycak like I do, she will have something very strategic planned for Mr. Buckley. The Stingers are not the Stingers of years past, they are not deep, they don't run as much and don't score as much either. Jamal Gallier has battled injuries all season, and does not look fit. He had a solid double-double vs McGill last week, but he's unable to log major mins. Concordia has some quick guards, but are very untested at this level. Levi Vann, Pierre Thompson and Decee Krah have not played significant mins in the playoffs before, and it will be interesting to see how they perform.

Uqam on the other hand, has come back from an 0-5 start to finish in 3rd place. They have battled injuries as well, but are playing inspired basketball at this moment. It all starts with 6-4 250lbs(his weight fluctuates) PG Mario Joseph. Joseph who has played the foward position all his life, has been asked to run the point for Hrycak this season. He's a player who can defend all 5 positions on the floor and dictate's the pace for the Citadins. He's looked more to pass this season, but don't be surprised to see him more in the post in this game and score inside for Uqam. We all know that Sam Johnson is a pure shooter, whose improved his mid-range game this season. He can now put it on the floor and attack the basket. The player that changes the game with his "freak" athleticism is Joseph Antagana. Whether he's blocking shots on defense, or throwing down monster dunks on offense, "Jo" is feared. Players get out of his way, and with him in the lineup(just like two years ago when he really impacted the game along with Delmas), he ignite's the fast break for Uqam and controls the boards. The other versatile Uqam player is Jules Diagne. He's a player that Concordia has a hard time matching up with because of his size and lenght and he create's problems with his scoring and offensive rebounding. Diagne is full of potential, that hasn't really fully developped quite yet, but he's capable of having a breakout game at anytime. This game will be a very tough and physical war. Uqam is strong, agressive and hungry. Concordia on the other hand, always plays well in their small and tiny home court. Having said that, if Uqam gets their motion offense in gear, control the glass and get their fast break going, the Stingers will have a hard time keeping up. Buckley will be flirting with triple-double again, but who steps up with him? Im not sure anyone really can. Uqam is more experienced and i think that Joseph will score inside, Diagne, Johnson and Antagana will be too much for the Stingers too handle. It should be quite a batlle come Friday nite.

Peter Yannopoulos
Yanno Basketball Consulting.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

OUA West: Mustangs Shock Lancers

Western 77, Windsor 71 6'6" Brad Smith hit the go-ahead hoop with 1:20 remaining and then 6'3" Alex Brzozowicz added a clutch 3 with 10 seconds remaining on a feed from 6'1" Matt Curtis as the Mustangs shocked an overflow crowd of over 2,500 to advance to the OUA West championship game at Brock on Saturday. 6'1" Jason Milliquet continued his recent white-hot shooting by knocking down back-to-back long 3's late in the game to give Western a 3 point lead with under 3 minutes remaining. But 6'5" Kevin Kloostra gave the Lancers their final lead including a steal and score that gave Windsor their last lead, setting up Smith's clutch shot. The Lancers jumped out to a nine point lead midway through the first quarter but Western coach Brad Campbell called a timely timeout and the Mustangs finished the quarter on a 5-0 run including a late 3 by Curtis to bring Western back to within 4 after 1. Western then led by 4 at halftime and extended the lead to as many as 9 late in the third quarter before Windsor finished the quarter on a mini 4-0 run. The Mustangs now travel to St. Catharines on Saturday to face Brock; game time tba.

OUA West Semi-Finals: Brock holds off Guelph

Brock 78, Guelph 74 The Badgers held off a late Guelph comeback attempt with clutch free throw shooting to advance to the OUA West final. Brock was in control up 13 with just over 3 minutes remaining when 6'4" Jay Mott had a conventional 3 point play that started a 10-0 run that brought Guelph back to within 3 at 70-67 with just under a minute to play. But 5'10" Brad Rootes was fouled by Mott after an upfake on the baseline in a somewhat-controversial call that left Mott on the floor nursing a sore jaw. Rootes made the first and missed the second free throw but 6'8" Dusty Bianchin grabbed the rebound and Brock proceed to close the game out on the foul line. Brock was completely in control of the game for 37 minutes, leading by 9 at halftime and then extending to a double digit lead by pounding the ball inside to 6'7" Owen White (game-high 25 points) in the third quarter. The Badgers got balanced scoring inside and out, including only 3 3's to take a 9 point halftime lead. Mott led all scorers with 13 1st half points while 6'8" Duncan Milne was saddled with 2 early fouls and entered halftime with 3. Milne led Guelph with 19 and 6'3" Nick Pankerichan, Mott and 6'4" Borko Popic 18 apiece. 6'0" Scott Murray hit his second 3 of the half in transition off a nice feed from Rootes to give the Badgers their largest lead just before the break. Rootes had scored the final 4 points of the first quarter during a 5-0 run which broke a 15-15 tie to give Brock the lead after 1. 6'4" Jonathan Moscatelli was not in the lineup for Guelph. Brock now faces the winner of Windsor/Western.

Canada West Preview by Ben Matchett

An excellent preview of this weekend's Canada West Final Four in Calgary

DINOS HOST CONFERENCE’S BEST AT FINAL FOUR CALGARY – For the first time since the introduction of the Final Four format in 2002, the Canada West men’s basketball championship takes place in the Jack Simpson Gym. In fact, it’s the first time a men’s hoops conference championship of any kind has hit the hardwood in Calgary since Richard Bohne hit ‘the shot’ to defeat the Victoria Vikes in 1993 to send the Dinos to the conference final – which they won in two games over the Saskatchewan Huskies. This time around, fans will be treated to the best basketball in the country this side of the CIS Final 8 in Ottawa. Three of the top five teams in the country will take to the floor in a single elimination tournament, and with only two guaranteed trips to our nation’s capital available, Friday night’s semi-finals take on increased significance. The Dinos made it this far with a perfect 14-0 record at home, capped off by a two-game sweep of the Alberta Golden Bears last weekend in the Central Division final. Calgary has thrived in the Jack, outscoring their opponents by an average of nearly 20 points per game and hauling down 10 more rebounds than the opposition. Their statistical dominance on home court has been striking – the Dinos boast wide margins in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, free throw attempts, steals, and blocked shots in the friendly confines. Extending that streak to 15-0 Friday night would guarantee the program’s first berth to the national tournament since 2004, when they won the conference title and fell by two points to eventual national champion Carleton in the CIS semi-final in Halifax. However, there are four very good teams at this tournament with similar designs on the conference title standing in the way. Here’s a team-by-team look at the Canada West Final Four which, incidentally, features the same four teams from 2004 when the Dinos last won it all:

#1 BRANDON BOBCATS

20-2 Canada West, 2-1 playoffs, 27-7 overall

CIS Top Ten: No. 3 • cishoops.ca Media Poll: No. 3

The Bobcats got a rude awakening last Friday night in their 87-85 loss to Regina at home – the team’s first home loss since the conference championship game last season. A comeback for the ages it almost was, with Brandon rebounding from a 29-point deficit to make a game of it, but the Cougars sent them to the brink of elimination. Like all good teams, the Bobcats responded well, crushing the Cougars 105-70 in Game 2 and winning the series with an 89-67 victory in Game 3, earning their second straight Great Plains Division title. Brandon makes a rare appearance in the Jack as the top seed at the tournament and will face the wild card-winning Alberta Golden Bears in the early semi-final Friday night. The Bears have caused problems all season for the Bobcats, who won the CIS silver medal a year ago. Alberta took an 86-80 win at a pre-season tournament in Victoria back in October, then won the lone conference meeting between the teams 106-93 in Edmonton. First team all-star Dany Charlery leads the Bobcats’ attack with 18.5 points per game, while second team all-star Adam Hartman adds 17.5. Point guard David Yul Michel, the conference’s defensive player of the year, is playing his final CIS season and is among the league leaders in assists (2nd), assist/turnover ratio (3rd), and steals (12th).


#2 CALGARY DINOS

18-4 Canada West, 2-0 playoffs, 24-6 overall

CIS Top Ten: No. 4 • cishoops.ca Media Poll: No. 2

The host Dinos face the UBC Thunderbirds in the other semi-final match-up on Friday night in just the second meeting between the two teams this season. The first came in week one of the regular season, where the Dinos erased an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win 73-68. While second team all-star Henry Bekkering has gotten most of the headlines this year, including an interview and photo in last week’s edition of Sports Illustrated, he is surrounded by a strong supporting cast and all have stepped up their game in the post-season. The team played its best game of the year last Saturday night against Alberta to clinch the Central Division pennant with a 90-66 win. Bekkering leads all players in playoff scoring, averaging 29 points per game in the two wins over Alberta. Among players still involved in the post-season, Brandon’s Yuri Whyms sits second in that statistical category with 17.3 points per game. Ross Bekkering was more than effective in his return to action after missing five games with an ankle injury at the end of the year, scoring 32 points, hauling down 18 boards, and recording seven swats in the two-game sweep of the Bears, where he went 16-for-17 from the line. Robbie Sihota scored 17 each night, while conference rookie of the year Tyler Fidler played quality minutes in the Dinos’ series win.

#3 UBC THUNDERBIRDS

18-5 Canada West, 4-0 playoffs, 24-5 overall

CIS Top Ten: No. 5 • cishoops.ca Media Poll: No. 6

After four seasons without appearing in Calgary, the Thunderbirds will meet the Dinos for the second time this year with a berth to the CIS championship on the line. UBC rolled through the Pacific Division playoffs with relative ease, winning four games at home over the Fraser Valley Cascades and Victoria Vikes to advance to the Final Four, where they hope to repeat as conference champions. Defence was the story for UBC in those four games, where they allowed 70-plus points just once. They have also shot the ball very well in the post-season, leading all teams with a field goal percentage of .480 and connecting on 22 of 53 attempts from beyond the arc (.415). The Thunderbirds bring the experience of several conference championships, appearing in their third straight Final Four and their fifth in six seasons. Chris Dyck, a fourth year guard that transferred from Manitoba, was UBC’s lone all-star, appearing alongside Bekkering on the second team. His 18.4 points per game led the T-Birds by a considerable margin, and he was the only UBC player to appear in the top 30 in conference scoring. UBC’s offence is well-distributed, with six players averaging eight points or better per game over the regular season.

#4 ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS

16-6 Canada West, 2-3 playoffs, 23-10 overall

CIS Top Ten: Not ranked • cishoops.ca Media Poll: Not ranked

Despite losing the Central Division final to Calgary last weekend, the Bears make the return trip down the QE2 for the Final Four as the wild card team, beating out the Victoria Vikes. Led by conference MVP Alex Steele and coach of the year Don Horwood, the Bears have beaten every team attending this weekend at least once this season, including two wins against first round opponent Brandon. And, after going 1-5 against the Dinos this season, the Bears will be relieved to play anybody but the host Dinos. “Right now, anybody is better for us than Calgary,” said Horwood when his team was given the wild card berth. Steele, a fifth year guard, was the offensive catalyst for Alberta all season, averaging 21 points per game and connecting on 84.1 per cent of his free throw attempts. C.G. Morrison’s 13.2 points per game has paced the Bears in their five post-season games behind 15.8 from Steele, but it will be Alberta’s ability to pound the ball inside against Yul Michel and the tenacious Brandon defence that will determine their success. With one national wild card berth to the CIS Final 8 available, it’s very possible that three of these teams will advance to Ottawa in two weeks’ time – but each of the four certainly wants to earn the spot on their own merits, and that means a win on semi-final Friday.

Ticket sales for the Final Four have been brisk, and Dinos Athletics expects sell-out crowds both nights. Fans are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance by calling (403) 220-7749 or via email at tickets@ucalgary.ca. A very limited number of tickets will be available at the door, and line-ups are expected to be very long.



-UC-



2007 Canada West Men’s Basketball Final Four; Jack Simpson Gym, University of Calgary

Friday, Feb. 29

5 p.m. - #1 Brandon vs. #4 Alberta

7 p.m. - #2 Calgary vs. #3 UBC


Saturday, Mar. 1

5 p.m. – Bronze medal game

7 p.m. – Conference final

All games will be streamed LIVE by NUTV at www.nutv.ca/streaming.

Wayne Thomas highlighting supporting cast players at CW Final Four

More Than Star Power Needed to Succeed Every week we read about the leading scorers, the big rebounders, the stars who shine brightly. We are dazzled by the exploits of Henry Bekkering for the Dinos, Alex Steele of the Golden Bears and the lead men for UBC like Chris Dyck, and Brandon with Dany Charlery. But as they and their coaches are well aware, it takes many more teammates playing various vital roles to allow the team to reach their goals. Many times these 'foot soldiers' operate below the radar of media and fan attention,, but their contributions are critical, and their performance often tips the scales of win or lose to one team or another. For these teams facing off in Calgary this weekend in the Canada West Final Four, we can identify several players who deserve credit for their abilities to help their teams advance to the championship level. In this week when the Canada West Awards were announced, we take time to acknowledge the contributions of those less worshipped.

CG Morrison, 6'3" pt. guard, who can shoot the 3 ball, defend, and direct traffic in the Bears disciplined offense. Good defender. Tarik Tokar, a 6'4" guard who makes the game easier for his teammates. He averages 4 assists with very few turnovers... Neb Aleksic, 6'6" wing man with a deadly 3 pt. shot, who can get on a roll and kill you from outside. Yuri Whyms, this 6'8" post is hard to miss, but is often over-looked. A great touch with his back to the basket, and a big body on the boards. Harvey Bradford, a 6'5" post, this Cranbrook, B.C., 3rd year is a fierce competitor, who gives away size, but who has a good touch from the line and competes tirelessly. Quick jumper Stevens Marcelin, a 6'7" rebounding force, who can score inside and defend a big post. Alex Murphy, a 6'2" point in his 2nd year, leads UBC in assists, and has the ability to direct the offense. Cody Darrah, the 5th year , 6'4" guard, who is among the league leaders in 3 pt %, and can jump in at the point, if needed. Matt Racher, a 6'7" wing man who can shoot, run the floor, and play D. A good rebounder, who gives the 'Birds leadership. Josh Lovestone, a 6'5" whirling dervish in the post, he will work hard every minute he is on the floor. A strong rebounder with a useful mid-range J. Brent Malish, a 6'6" wing , who was 2nd in 3 pt.% in Canada West. He's also a solid rebounder. Jeremy Odland, a 5th year, 6'4" wing, who brings energy off the bench, rebounds, and drives the hoop with no fear.

Notes... The Dinos Office reports tickets sales are brisk, and fans need to reserve before Friday. Extra seats are planned for the North End behind the hoop at floor level... The Major Awards were announced Tuesday in Canada West ... always discussion around who, why, why not. The comments are already flooding in ... perhaps we should toast Coach Dan Vanhooren for his feat of beating the Coach of the Year (Don Horwood of U of A) 5 out of 6 times they played ! CIS Rankings also out Tuesday, and the Dinos stay in 4th spot despite two convincing wins over a good U of A squad. It gets tense at this point as wildcard spots and seedings are at stake. If Acadia is so tough, the teams in 3rd, 4th, 5th ( Brandon, Calgary, UBC) are hoping the Axemen follow through by winning their AUS Championship, leaving a wildcard hope for a Canada West squad. Of course, the best way to get to the CIS Nationals is to win on Friday ! The Atlantic Tournament, which is not played until March 7-9 has record tickets sales. They have a traditional 'Final 6' tournament in Halifax with no preliminaries. Single knockout with only 1 team going to Nationals, now that Halifax lost the CIS Tournament to Ottawa. Ontario also has a single knockout system with West Semi-Finals going tonight ... Guelph at Brock and Western at Windsor. The East Final is set with Ottawa at Carleton, with the Gee-Gees having had a couple of close games with the unbeaten Ravens already this season. Both East and West Finals will be on Saturday, and the East winner will host the OUA Final on March 8... Quebec playoffs have Montreal at Concordia and McGill at Laval this weekend, then the Final scheduled for next weekend. Laval Rouge et Or have been the top team in Quebec, but Concordia looks like they may give them a run for the lone spot in the Nationals.

AUS Tournament Schedule Announced

AUS today announced the official schedule for the 2008 Atlantic University Sport Men's Final 6 Basketball Championship which will be held next weekend (March 7-9) at the Halifax Metro Centre. Action begins on Friday evening and the schedule is as follows:

Friday, March 7th
Quarter-final #1: Cape Breton (4) vs. Dalhousie (5), 6:00pm
Quarter-final #2: Saint Mary's (3) vs. UPEI (6), 8:15pm

Saturday, March 8th
Semi-final #1: Acadia (1) vs. lowest remaining seed, 6:00pm
Semi-final #2: StFX (2) vs. highest remaining seed, 8:15pm

Sunday, March 9th
Championship Game: Semifinal Winners, 2:00pm

OUA West Semi-Finals go tonight

It is semi-final Wednesday in the OUA West this evening and both games will be available via Internet webcasts. As well, local Cablecos appear to be picking up the game. Expect sellout crowds in both St.Catharines as Guelph meets Brock and in Windsor as the Lancers host Western.

Jim Wallace of the St. Catharines Standard has a piece on Brock's Fab Five and their last hurrah

Greg Layson of the Guelph Mercury will be live blogging from Brock on his Big Man on Campus blog

Mary Caton of the Windsor Star with a piece on Issac Kuon as Kuon gears up for the playoffs plus Andy Watson's detailed game preview including media coverage of Western at Windsor

Both games are availabe for viewing over the Internet via Streaming Sports Network

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Expect almost 3,000 fans in Calgary for CW Final Four

Games Expected to Sell Out Dinos Fever was a long time coming, but it has become contagious, with attendance for the Dinos-Bears Central Final drawing 2,600 and 2,880 fans, and there is tremendous interest in this coming weekend's Canada West Final Four Tournament at the University. Ticket Sales available at 220-7749, and fans are encouraged to buy in advance.

2007-08 PLAYOFF TICKET PRICES
Adult $12
Student/Senior $9
UC Staff/Alumni $9
UC Students $5
Children Under 6 Free
Family (2 adults + 2 students) $35

Notes ... We have to assume there will be a streamlined process for fans who bought tickets in advance, and are picking them up on game night. Because there is an earlier game, the arrival time of fans should be spread out a bit more, and that will help the staff on Friday. The Pep Band was playing in a competition last weekend, and not available for the games, but the Athletic Department is trying to negotiate their return for the Final Four. Three of the top 5 teams in the CIS are in this Tournament, with two to be earning spots at the Nationals. Brandon #2 faces Alberta (unranked) at 5:000 pm Friday, and Calgary #3 meets UBC #5 in the 7:00 pm game, with the winners representing Canada West at Nationals. The 3rd place game goes at 5:00 pm Saturday, with the Championship at 7:00 pm.

Canada West Honours Announced

This is the announcement from Calgary Dinos Sports Info, hosts of this coming weekend's Canada West Final Four FIDLER NAMED CANADA WEST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CALGARY – University of Calgary freshman guard Tyler Fidler was named the Canada West rookie of the year as the conference announced its 2007-08 men’s basketball all-stars and award winners. A 6’9”, 200-pound two-man from Calgary’s Western Canada High School, Fidler was the sixth man for the Dinos most of the season and started four games at the end of the year. He averaged 9.9 points off the bench for the Dinos, who completed their best season since 1976 with a record of 18-4. Calgary hosts the Canada West Final Four this weekend in the Jack Simpson Gym after sweeping the Alberta Golden Bears in the division final last week. “Tyler was the top high school recruit to stay in Canada last year, and he’s done nothing but meet our expectations,” said Dinos coach Dan Vanhooren. “He has some national team experience, and we’re thrilled that he’s gotten this recognition. We hope he can continue to play well and gain further recognition at the national level.” Fidler selected to join the Dinos after entertaining several offers from other Canada West schools and the NCAA. In addition to his scoring, he was a force defensively for Calgary, finishing second on the team in both blocked shots (21) and steals (41) despite averaging just 21.7 minutes per game. Those stats placed him ninth in the conference in blocks and 11th in steals. A communications student, Fidler will become the conference’s nominee for the CIS rookie of the year award, which will be handed out at the national championship in Ottawa Mar. 14-16. He is the first Dinos player to be named the conference rookie of the year since Chris Harris in 1998. Forward Henry Bekkering was also recognized by the Canada West coaches as a second-team conference all-star. Bekkering, who transferred to Calgary from Eastern Washington of the NCAA this season, averaged just over 20 points per game to lead the team in scoring. He led Canada West in points scored with 463 on the season, connecting on 51.5 per cent of his field goal attempts. The highest scoring player on the highest scoring team in Canada, Bekkering also finished third in the conference in offensive rebounds (67) and routinely brought crowds to their feet with remarkable athletic plays and highlight-reel dunks. “Henry certainly deserves the recognition and has significantly justified it,” said Vanhooren. “He’s also a team guy playing with a very talented group of players, and he has handled the recognition very graciously. He is entirely team-oriented and not selfish at all, and we’re glad to have him.” Alberta guard Alex Steele was named the conference player of the year, while David Yul Michel of the Brandon Bobcats earned defensive player of the year honours. Matt Opalko of the Winnipeg Wesmen is the conference’s nominee for the Ken Shields award (student-athlete community service), and 25-year Alberta veteran Don Horwood was named the Canada West coach of the year.

-UC-

2007-08 Canada West Men’s Basketball All-Stars & Awards

Award Winners
Player of the year – Alex Steele, Alberta
Rookie of the year – Tyler Fidler, Calgary
Defensive player of the year – David Yul Michel, Brandon
Ken Shields Award nominee – Matt Opalko, Winnipeg
Coach of the year – Don Horwood, Alberta

First All-Star Team
Alex Steele, Alberta
Erfan Nasajpour, Winnipeg
Andrew Spagrud, Saskatchewan
Greg Wallis, Simon Fraser
Dany Charlery, Brandon

Second All-Star Team
Henry Bekkering, Calgary
Chris Dyck, UBC
Adam Hartman, Brandon
Isaac Ansah, Manitoba
Tyler Haas, Victoria

CISHOOPS.CA Top 10 Media Poll for February 26, 2008

cishoops.ca Media Poll – February 26, 2008

Results of the February 26th cishoops.ca Media Poll conducted February 24-25. There are a maximum 228 points in the poll. Points are awarded in descending order - 12 for first, 11 for second, etc. - depending upon placement. (First place votes bracketed). For a list of voters, see www.cishoops.ca

Rank Team Points Last Week

1. Carleton (19) 228 1

2. Calgary 199 3

3. Brandon 187 2

4. Acadia 179 4

5. Windsor 130 9

6. U.B.C. 121 7

7. Ottawa 97 NR

8. St FX 88 NR

9. Toronto 60 5

10. Laval 58 8

DROPPING OUT: Cape Breton; Alberta

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Cape Breton 50; Brock 45; Alberta 28; Saint Mary’s 11; and Concordia 1.



If the nation’s university basketball teams were cards, they’d have been worn thin the way voters in the February 26th cishoops.ca Media Poll were shuffling them in the rankings after a madcap week of upsets.

Except, of course, for the Carleton Ravens.

The five-time defending Canadian Interuniversity champs whipped a quality foe, the Queen’s Golden Gaels by a breathtaking 52 points in the Ontario University Athletics East division semi-finals last Saturday to run their record against Canadian competition to (29-0).

Needless to say, Carleton remains the unanimous choice on the ballots of all 19 voters in this week’s poll. The Ravens will face their archrival uOttawa Gee-Gees in the OUA East final on Saturday.

Climbing into second place in the poll for the first time this season were the University of Calgary Dinos, who hamstrung their archrival University of Alberta Golden Bears 87-78 and 90-66 to sweep the Canada West Central division finals.

The Dinos, now (24-6), will face the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the semi-finals of the Canada West Final Four on Friday for a berth at the CIS nationals to be held in Ottawa March 14-16.

The other Canada West semi, with another CIS berth on the line, will pit the third-ranked Brandon Bobcats against the Golden Bears. The Bobcats, now (27-7) dropped the opener of their Canada West Plains division final to Regina but recovered to twice dump the Cougars.

Acadia held on to fourth place after improving to (24-5) overall and earning a bye into next week’s Atlantic University Sport semi-finals by stomping UPEI 77-58. The Axemen captured the AUS regular season title with an (18-2) record.

Leaping four spots into fifth place in the poll were the Windsor Lancers, who closed out their Ontario University Athletics West division schedule with a 77-71 win over Wilfrid Laurier. The Lancers, (now 21-6), face the University of Western Ontario Mustangs in Wednesday’s OUA West semi-finals.

U.B.C., now (24-5), moved up a notch to sixth in the poll after sweeping Victoria 70-67 and 86-77 in the Canada West Pacific division finals.

Zooming back into the poll and grabbing seventh spot were the now-healthy Gee-Gees, who stunned the host University of Toronto Varsity Blues 63-60 in the OUA East semis. uOttawa improved its record to (24-9).

Making their first appearance in the Top 10 were the (24-9) St. Francis Xavier X-Men, who closed out their AUS regular season schedule by dusting Memorial 105-72 and 88-64 to finish (15-5) in league play and earn a bye into next week’s AUS semis.

Toronto finished its campaign with the loss to Ottawa and slid four spots to ninth. The Varsity Blues were (26-9) on the campaign.

Laval dropped two spots to tenth after closing out their Quebec Student Sport Federation regular season campaign with a 93-83 loss to UQAM. The Rouge et Or, now (19-9), face McGill in the QSSF semis on Sunday.

Dropping out of the poll were the (23-10) Golden Bears and (20-9) Cape Breton Capers, who were shocked twice by the St. Mary’s Huskies.

-30-

Correction: Canada West Bronze medal will be played

In an earlier post, it was stated that Canada West was eliminating their Bronze medal game from their Final Four schedule - this in fact is incorrect. Sources have confirmed that the game will be played this season however beginning with next season's Canada West Final Four, no bronze medal game will be scheduled. This season's Canada West Final Four in Calgary features at least 3 possibly 4 teams ranked in the Top 10; schedule as follows:

Friday, February 29th
5:00 PM MT/7:00 ET Alberta vs. Brandon
7:00 PM MT/9:00 ET UBC at Calgary

The winners automatically advance to the CIS Nationals at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa March 14th and 16th.

U of T vs. Ottawa Thoughts

I was only able to watch one game this weekend and as it turned it out it was another in the growing list of classics between these two very evenly matched programs in Toronto between Ottawa and the Varsity Blues. In the end, credit Gee-Gees Head Coach Dave DeAveiro with a tremendous job preparing for and getting his team to execute the little things necessary to pull out a very important road playoff win for his program. First the preparation: knowing how well U of T runs their sets and how intelligent their wings are in reading screens and getting open, DeAveiro for the first time possibly ever in his career unveiled a 1-2-2 three quarter court press after made shots and dead balls with a forward at the top of the press, making it more difficult to throw over top. The purpose of the press appeared only to take time off the shot clock to allow less time for the Blues to work into their sets. Early on, the press confused the Blues and create at least a couple of turnovers allowing Ottawa to forge into an early lead. As the game wore on, the Blues had difficulty getting into their end game as the 24 second clock wore down. This new wrinkle worked beautifully as the high-scoring Blues, who averaged almost 75 points per game in the regular season, scored the majority of their 60 points in transition or on the offensive glass and hit only 6-21 3's after scorching the Gee-Gees for 11-23 3's, many off set plays that freed up their strong array of three-point shooters, in their previous encounter in Ottawa. Early the game, DeAveiro tried to establish the inside game early with 6'9" Dax Dessureault to no avail as Dessureault started the game 0-6 and was unable to draw any double teams. The Gee-Gees quickly went away from Dessureault, relying on their defense and scoring in transition and from the perimeter, until late in the game when, with 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe tiring, the Gee-Gees went back inside to Dessureault who delivered when it counted. During the critical stage of the game for Ottawa, when, down 9 after giving up an 11-2 run off the start of the second half, DeAveiro called timeout and emotionally emplored his troops to stay with the offense, Ottawa was able to climb back in the game by the end of the third quarter. All in all, it was one of DeAveiro's finest coaching jobs ever against his mentor Mike Katz. Going forward, the Gee-Gees will have to find a way to keep Gibson-Bascombe fresh after it appeared the talented guard wore down toward the end of Sunday's game after playing all but about 30 seconds of play. It will take another herculean effort of preparation and execution by Ottawa to have any chance of defeating #1 and undefeated Carleton Ravens, a deep, talented and well-coached team running on all cylinders after somewhat coasting to the finish line of the regular season, in the Raven's Nest next weekend.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Weekend Thoughts

AUS It appears that the Saint Mary's Huskies are making their seemingly-annual push to playing deep into March. The Huskies spent the early season as a Top 5 CIS team, winning 10 of their first 12 games including 9 in a row in one stretch that included a pair of wins against AUS regular season champions Acadia Axemen. The Huskies then had some roster churn as 6'6" Clint Bateman and U.S. import 6'4" Brandon Mullins left the team and 6'5" Ike Uchegbu, a vital part of the Huskies interior play, battled some nagging injuries. As a result, Saint Mary's went through a 9-6 stretch that dropped them out of the Top 10. However, recently the Huskies have won 6 of their last 7 including a pair of critical weeeknd wins at home against Cape Breton, offsetting a pair of losses at CBU in November, allowing Saint Mary's to finish third in the AUS. 6'1" Shane Morrison and 6'5" Aaron Duncan took turns being the hero over the weekend against the Capers and both natives of Toronto bring more athleticism to a Huskies lineup that went no more than six deep usually last season. With the Toronto tandem supplying transition excitement and ability to get to the rim, Saint Mary's can play up tempo but can also be successful in quarter-court sets with the wonderful ability of 6'3" Mark McLaughlin to use screens and rise to shoot and the steady caretaking and decision-making from glue-like point guard Mark Ross. With more depth and athleticism than last season's Final Four team, the Huskies could easily catch fire again and find themselves again peaking at the right time... Acadia Axemen showed down the stretch that they should be the favorites entering the AUS tournament. Acadia is deeper than last season and have a potential AUS Player-of-the-Year in 6'5" Leonil Saintil as a difference maker at both ends. 6'5" Sean Berry, who came off the bench last season, is a much more solid part of the rotation and with last season's AUS POY 6'1" Paolo Santana rounding into form, Acadia has as much talent as any team in Canada. The Axemen love to get out and run and attack the offensive glass and when they do they are tough to beat. An achilles heel for Acadia all season long has been free throw shooting - Acadia shoots only 60% from the stripe as a group - so if there is any weakness that may come to fruition in a tight game, making their free ones could be it. Acadia is likely to play the winner of Cape Breton vs. Dalhousie in the semi-finals on their way to a shot at their second consecutive AUS crown.

Awards Time I had several emails questioning my selection of 6'4" Kiraan Posey as an OUA West Second Team all-star, including an inquiry from Lakehead Head Coach Scott Morrison. Posey's numbers are easily 1st Team-like: OUA West leading scorer, several 40+ point games and a deserved reputation as probably the best pure scorer in the division. The criteria I used for selecting my honours candidates considered other parameters including how well the team did overall, how well the player did in games against top opponents, how well the player did down the stretch in February when playoffs were on the line and intangibles beyond simple points and rebounds. Some of my reasons for sticking Posey on the second team despite his tremendous offensive stats included his showings against top teams like Carleton, Ottawa and Toronto (all at home), his under average (for him) play and production down the stretch (Lakehead lost their last 5 games in a row - 3 at home) and an inconsistent defensive effort in the games I watched (for example, Guelph's Jay Mott had a career day with Posey guarding him for much of the game). I have no doubt that the Lakehead program is on the rise under the hard-working and enthusiastic Morrison and that with normal progress next season Posey, entering his fifth and final year, will be a very strong candidate for OUA West Player-of-the-Year and lead the T-Wolves back into the playoffs and possibly beyond. However, for this season, I thought there were at least 5 players who fit the criteria I used in rewarding a season's efforts for honours more deserving than Posey. On another note, I was very impressed with the classy manner in which Coach Morrison presented his opinion to me and the amicable way we discussed what can clearly be a sensitive issue for a Coach justifiably standing up for his player. Having worked with Scott last season on a webcast of the Windsor/Brandon game at the Nationals and spoken to him several times since, we know each other and how Scott dealt with this issue makes me think even more highly of him than before. We get a chance to see how my view potentially differs from that of the OUA West coaches when the OUA announces the OUA West All-Stars tomorrow... Another controversial choice, judging by the emails and comments I've received, was the OUA East pick for Coach of the Year which was given to Toronto's Mike Katz with a strong honourable mention for Queen's coach Rob Smart. Again, my criteria may differ from what others would consider for Coach-of-the-Year but I would be lying if I said that I didn't take for granted the top-notch work of Carleton Coach Dave Smart in shepparding his team to an undefeated 22-0 season despite losing two time Mike Moser Award winner Osvaldo Jeanty to graduation. Sometimes when one wins as often and as consistently as D. Smart does and has the overflowing trophy case to show for it, the bar gets raised higher than others - justifiably or not - and even the fine work of a perfect season can get lost in the shuffle. For what it's worth, in my selection of Coach-of-the-Year, I take a look at the rosters at the beginning of the year and where teams are projected to finish and then compare to their actual finish at the end of the season as a critical criteria in my selection. Both Katz and Rob Smart experienced huge losses to their rotations from 2006-07 and in my books, circa the pre-season, were projected to struggle to even host a home playoff game in February, let alone get a bye or cruise to a first round victory. Both teams exceeded expectations and in my opinion was what warranted my personal consideration for COY. In Carleton's case, much of the pre-season talk was, despite losing the greatest CIS player of his generation in Oz, the Ravens, top to bottom, might even be deeper and more talented than last season. But it is extremely difficult to argue with 22-0...

Canada West The Calgary Dinos looked like a machine on the weekend in dismantling a very good Alberta team and with the Final Four in Calgary this weekend and the way the Dinos are going, they will be a very tough out. But UBC has the experience of several recent Final Fours and a big-time player in 6'3" Chris Dyck. The T-Birds front line led by 6'8" veteran Bryson Kool will be under pressure to perform, especially defensively, from the beginning given how well the Dinos front line, led by 6'8" Henry Bekkering has played. Kool especially is looking to shed his recent pattern of slow starts on Friday night games followed by a comparative explosion on Saturday's for UBC to have any chance. The Brandon/Alberta game will likely be a barnburner as well as both teams are stocked with great athletes and the teams combined for almost 200 points in their only meeting this season in Edmonton. Interestingly, Canada West has quietly done away with their third place game at the Final Four. Although not officially annoucing the reason for not staging the game, it is clear that there was very little to gain for either team in that game and much to lose in the context of a CIS Nationals wild card selection.

Enjoy the rest of the playoffs...

Weekend Article Links

Monty Mosher of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald shares his thoughts from Sunday's final day of regular season play in the AUS Huskies sweep Capers, help X-Men get bye

Neate Sager provides a very good summary of the weekend games on the road to the CIS Nationals on the CIS Blog

James Mirtle from the Globe and Mail updates the road to championships for major CIS sports Carleton, SFU remain favorites as playoffs heat up

Dan Stinson from the Vancouver Sun provides initial thoughts on next weekend's Canada West Final Four Out to defy underdog tag

Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press reports on Western Mustangs first playoff win in six years in a game which ended amid a controversial foul call at the end. The Hamilton Spectator also has a note on the game Miraculous shot and foul end Mac's season

Greg Layson's article on Guelph's quarter-final playoff win at home against Laurier Gryphons ground Hawks, Duncan Milne stands tall Also a piece by Christine Rivet in the Kitchener Record on Guelph's win over Laurier

Ottawa Citizen piece on the Gee-Gees win last night Gee-Gees earn rematch with Ravens

Another rare piece from the Toronto Star by David Grossman in this morning's edition describing U of T's win over York in the OUA East women's final

Peter Yannopoulos Report: Stingers defeat Redmen

Concordia 84 McGill 75 Second place and the right to host a home playoff game were on the line Sunday afternoon at the always seemingly quiet McGill gymnasium, where both McGill and Concordia were battling for the ever important 2nd place in the QSSF and with a win, avoid 1st place Laval in the semi finals. From the get go, you could see Concordia's Head John Dore was nervous, as he tried to sweet talk the officials, knowing that he could use all the help he could get against a very tough and extremely well prepared McGill team. The game's 1st quarter was all McGill, with the home team coming out and hitting their shots early on and disrupting Con. U's offensive flow, which is usually led by one man, Damian Buckley (18pts 4assist's 5 steals 7 TOs). Craig Norman's strategy was clear, try and make things difficult for Buckley, by banging him, changing defender's on him and switching defense's as well. The game plan worked somewhat,as Buckley didn't have his greatest game, turning the ball over 7 times, but his teammates picked up the slack, and made several key 3pointers during a huge 2nd quarter run that gave the Stingers a 48-40 lead at halftime. Levi Vann( 9pts), Pierre Thompson(13pts 4 rebs) and Decee Krah (11pts) all played a vital role for Concordia's run. The 3rd quarter started all Concordia, as the Stingers went on a 9-0 run and built a 17pt lead. The Redmen looked all but done, but a strong surge of solid 2-3 zone defense and the herculean effort from Sean Anthony(26pts 10rebs 8 steals) brought McGill back and only down 65-63 heading into the 4th quarter. Where the game was decided in my opinion, was very simple, on the glass. Concordia destroyed the Redmen on the boards by a 45 to 31 margin. What was even more disturbing to watch was that Concordia got 22 offensive rebounds, continually getting 2nd and 3rd shot opportunities. Jamal Gallier( 12pts, 12 rebs, 7 offensive) led the charge. The Stingers made a couple of big shots down the stretch and McGill couldn't put the basketball in the ocean on Sunday, shooting a dreadful 24% from 3 point range and 38% from the field. The only player who could score was Anthony for McGill, as Moustafa El Zanaty was held to (6pts and 4 rebs on 2-10 shooting). You can see that McGill is missing their 2 PGs who are injured (Goulet and Mansour), because graduating PG Nicolas Pronovost continues to struggle running the offense for McGill. He isn't scoring, he hardly gets any assists and he's a turnover waiting to happen. Rookie back-up Jeff Cummings has shown flashes of solid potential, but at this point of the season, you don't need potential, you need results, and Coach Norman isn't getting it at the point guard position, while Concordia has All-Canadian candidate Buckley playing quality basketball for 40mins. Both Laval's Head Coach Jacques Paiement and Uqam's Olga Hrycak( along with Assistant Coach Nevio Marzinatto) were in attendance scouting their opponents next week. While Paiment was just watching by himself, Hyrcak and Marzinatto were writting down countless pages of notes, set plays, and tendencies from both teams. The QSSF playoffs are here folks, and the coaches are pumped and so are the players. McGill travels to Quebec City to face Laval(who they already beat there early this season) while Concordia host's Uqam. It should be a very exciting final four in the Q. A side note: Concordia injured All Star Forward Dwayne Buckley was dressed and in uniform on the bench for Concordia, continuously cheering his teammates during the game. He is out for the season with a knee injury, but i was quite surprised to see him easily dunk the basketball during half time warm-ups.

Peter Yannopoulos
Yanno Basketball Consulting

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Randy Phillips of the Montreal Gazette pays tribute to Eddie P

Here is another tribute to Eddie Pomykala by long-time Montreal Gazette sports reporter Randy Phillips Great Hoops ride ends for Pomykala

AUS Tournament Pairings set after SMU sweeps Cape Breton

Saint Mary's 84, Cape Breton 79 6'5" Aaron Duncan had 27 points including the game-clinching free throw late in the game as the Huskies nearly blew a 19 point lead but held on to sweep the weekend series and finish third in the AUS. With the pair of losses, the suddenly-reeling Capers finish fourth and will meet Dalhousie in the first round of the AUS tournament which begins a week from this coming Friday at the Halifax Metro Center. Cape Breton got back in the game with a flurry of fourth-quarter threes led by 6'5" Phil Nkrumah, 6'5" Paul Blake and Mike Cruickshank (12 points) but Saint Mary's had too much Duncan and too much balance with 4 players in double figures and a signature effort from glue-like point guard Mark Ross who was credited for 10 assists.

Here is a summary of the AUS tournament draw:

First Round byes: Acadia (regular season champions), St. FX (X gets a bye for the ninth consecutive season)
First Round matchups:
Saint Mary's vs. UPEI
Cape Breton vs. Dalhousie

QSSF: Stingers grab second after win at McGill

Concordia 84, McGill 75 The Stingers nearly blew a 17 point lead, holding off a fourth-quarter rally that brought the game back to within 2 with 5 1/2 minutes by getting balanced scoring (4 guys in double figures) to grab home court advantage for next weekend's sudden death semi-final playoff game. 6'1" Damian Buckley again led the way for the Stingers with 18 points but got plenty of offensive support as 6'8" Jamal Gallier, rounding into form after fighting injury for much of the year, had a 12 point/12 rebound double double while 5'11" Pierre Thompson had his best offensive outing in several weeks with 13 points. Concordia also got 11 points from freshman Decee Krah and 7 points/10 rebounds from versatile 6'3" Andre Johnny in building a large 3rd quarter lead after leading by 8 at the half. In the second half, the Redmen got back in the game on a flurry of 3's including bombs by 6'4" Paul Herra and 6'4" Matt Thornhill (17 points, 6 rebounds). 6'4" Sean Anthony had another sterling performance with 26 points and 10 rebounds including an old-fashioned three point play that got the game back to within 2. But Concordia took over when it counted and did what they had to do to grab the win. Earlier, Thornhill scored 8 points in the first 6 minutes of the game to give the Redmen the early 18-8 lead which quickly vanished and the Redmen played catch up the rest of the way.

QSSF PLAYOFFS NEXT WEEKEND

Friday, February 29th
7 PM UQAM at Concordia

TBA
McGill at Laval

UQAM upsets Laval to finish third

Game recap courtesy of Alex Tourigny of RDS... UQAM upsets Laval

Laval's Rouge is Or came in the UQAM building riding an outrageous 13 games winning streak, but they didn't have anything to play for since they clinched the QSSF conference a long time ago.

On their part, UQAM blew a chance to clinch 3rd place friday by losing at McGill. Olga Hrykac's squad was now faced with their biggest challenge of the year. They had to beat Laval to tie Mcgill or Concordia for 3rd place in the conference (and therefore, clinching 3rd place since they own the tie-breaker against both team).

The odds weren't in UQAM's favor. Laval clubbered them 96-67 and 99-63 earlier this year. The Citadins played well in their 3rd meeting, losing 78-71 @ UQAM.

UQAM honnered 4 senior players before the game. Samuel Johnson, Kevin Boucher, Mario Joseph and Rubens Josephat were presented with a framed picture in front of a more than sell out crowd of 800 people.

Pumped by the presentation, UQAM played their best game of the year. Sam Johnson showed flashes of his "pre-hernia era"/05-06 season. He was simply unbelievable from the 3 points range, draining his four first 3-pointers attempts. Rookie Jérôme Turcotte Routhier lost (once again) his cool in the first half. After the "Johnson show" Turcotte-Routhier drained a 3 pointers and they started to brag to Johnson (just to show him that he's able to make 3 points shots, like Johnson). Samuel then turned him down and that's when Turcotte decided to use his middle finger do the talking (and some other gestures...). The crowd then decided to get under his skin, booing him loudly each and every single time he touched the ball.

Getting back to the game now. UQAM took an 11 points lead to the break. Sam Johnson finished the half with an impressive 23 points total.

The 2nd half was pretty exciting as Laval finally realized that a loss against UQAM could probably affect their CIS Championship ranking (if they make it this far). UQAM defense stood strong and never let Laval come back within 5 points. The Citadins imposed a rythm that Laval just weren't able to follow. When it was all said and done, the Citadins took the game 93-83, ending Laval winning streak at 13.

4 Citadins ended the game with more than 10 points (Samuel Johnson - 30 pts, Mario Joseph - 17 pts, Kevin Boucher - 16 pts and one of the best CIS "blocker", Joseph Atangana - 12 pts).

On Laval side, Jean-Philippe Morin and Jean-François Beaulieu-Maheux were impressive (as always) as they got 29 points each. Hot headed Jérôme Turcotte-Routhier finished with 6 points.

As some of you may wonder (for the writers' poll). Did UQAM win ou did Laval lose? I have to say that UQAM won the game. Olga Hrykac's squad shot for a 50% (total shots) and an impressive 50% from the 3 points range (8/16).

I have to admit that Laval was playing without one of their best rebounders, Marc-André Côté (8 RPG average) and it showed on the scoring sheet. UQAM outrebounded Laval 38-27.

Laval did look vulnerable though. They weren't able to follow UQAM's pace. The Rouge et Or tried to play UQAM kind of game and failed. You can't beat Laval with size (this team has some "trees") but speed is deadly against them.

With this win, UQAM has now clinched 3rd place and awaits the winner of the McGill / Concordia which is played as I write these lines. The Citadins splited both series (2-2) against McGill and Concordia so it should be an intertaining week-end next week as the QSSF playoffs quick off.

Canada West Final Four set; Bobcats take deciding game

Brandon 89, Regina 67 Bobcats win Best-of-3 Great Plains division championship 2 games to 1 The Brandon Bobcats blew open a five point game after three quarters with a dominating fourth quarter effort to take the final two games in their Great Plains division championship series and advance to the Canada West Final Four. 6'5" Adam Hartman led five Bobcats in double figures with 20 points while 6'7" sophomore Paul Gareau had 17 points and 11 rebounds and emerged as Regina's best player in the series. Brandon/Regina Box Score The Bobcats win propelled Alberta Golden Bears, who were swept in two games by Calgary this weekend in the Central Division championship series, into the Canada West wild card. Brandon and Alberta meet in the first semi-final next weekend in Calgary, with the winner getting an automatic bid to the CIS Nationals in Ottawa.

The Canada West Final Four

Friday, February 29th
5:00 PM MT/7:00 ET Alberta vs. Brandon
7:00 PM MT/9:00 ET UBC at Calgary

(Both winners automatically advance to the CIS Nationals in Ottawa)

Here is the official announcement from Canada West including wild card and the seedings for the Canada West Final Four:

The Canada West Men’s Basketball Wild Card Team is ALBERTA.



The Seeding for the Final Four in Calgary:

# 1 Brandon

# 2 Calgary

# 3 UBC

# 4 Alberta

OUA East: Gee-Gees come back to defeat Blues in Toronto

Ottawa 63, Toronto 60; Gee-Gees win OUA East sudden death semi-final 6'9" Dax Dessureault converted a pair of clutch free throws with 40 seconds remaining to give Ottawa the lead for good and the Gee-Gees held the Blues scoreless for the final 2:30 of the game in front of a racous sell-out crowd of over 1,000 at U of T. With just under 3 minutes remaining and the game tied at 57, Blues 6'8" Nick Snow blocked a shot inside and in the ensuing break, 6'3" Mike Degiorgio found 6'2" Rob Paris open in the right corner for a clutch 3 that gave the Blues a three point lead. Little did anyone know that those would be Toronto's final points of the season. On the next possession, Dessureault followed up a miss with a clutch put-back tip to bring the Gee-Gees back to within 1 and the Gee-Gees held Toronto on the final 4 possessions of the game, setting up his big pair of free throws, allowing Ottawa to advance to next weekend's OUA East championship game at the Raven's Nest against #1 Carleton. Snow (12 points, 13 rebounds including 7 offensive) had a clean look at a baseline jumper to give the Blues the lead with just under 20 seconds to go but could not convert and later 6'3" Donnie Gibson knocked down another pair of free throws when U of T fouled. Degiorgio and Paris then each missed tough 3's to tie as the game ended. With the game tied at halftime at 31, the Blues used some solid "d" leading to easy transition scores and clutch 3 point shooting by Degiorgio to grab a nine-point lead at 42-33 and it appeared the Blues were on their way. But Dessureault (15 points - all after halftime, 12 rebounds) and 6'3" Sean Peter (13 points, 7 rebounds) helped rally the Gee-Gees to even things late in the fourth quarter. Ottawa had jumped out to an early 5 point lead but could not gap the Blues any further despite a 15 point first-half from Rogers Television game MVP 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe, who also added 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals but appeared to tire down the stretch from playing virtually the entire game. Ottawa tried to established Dessureault inside but the big center struggled in the first half, missing all 6 of his shots, most of which came in low post isolations on Snow. Without the threat in the post, Gibson-Bascombe took over on the perimeter, nailing 3 3's in the first half including an elbow jumper at the buzzer to knot the score. But Dessureault got it going late in the game when it counted and the Gee-Gees "d" stifened enough to hold the Blues down. The game was the final chapter in the solid, underrated career of the fiesty Degiorgio who nearly willed his team again but unfortunately came up short.

Sunday's Action

Three games on the CIS slate today and all three have playoff implications with the losers of two games done for the season.

In Toronto, the Varsity Blues host the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the OUA East sudden-death semi-final. Toronto swept Ottawa in the regular season and the winner of this afternoon's game (3 PM Spadina and Harbord in Toronto) advances to next Saturday's OUA East Final at Carleton against the undefeated Ravens. According to the Rogers Television web site, the game will be shown in both Toronto and Ottawa on a tape-delay basis beginning at 6 PM.

In Brandon, the Bobcats and Cougars play the deciding game of their Great Plains division championship series with Brandon walloping the Cougars by 37 last night after Regina pulled off a dramatic win on Friday. A Cougars win puts them into the Canada West Final Four tournament while Brandon would have to wait until the wild card selection for the tournament is made to see if their season continues. A Brandon win would most likely propel the Alberta Golden Bears into the Final Four as the wild card.

In Halifax, Cape Breton Capers and Saint Mary's Huskies meet in the second of their two game weekend series to end the regular season. Saint Mary's nine point win yesterday gave them the inside track on third place (Huskies cannot finish second). The Capers must win today to finish second and receive a bye; with a loss, Cape Breton finishes fourth and will face Dalhousie in the quarter-finals.

Regular Season Games: Axemen officially clinch first, UQAM upends Laval

Acadia officially clinched first place in the AUS by defeating UPEI by 19 while second-place Cape Breton was defeated in Halifax by Saint Mary's 76-67 and X knocked off MUN 88-64. Gordie Sutherland has a piece summarizing yesterday's AUS action in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.

Going into the final day of the regular season, here are the AUS standings:

Acadia 18-2 48
StFX 15-5 42
Cape Breton 14-5 40
Saint Mary's 13-6 40
Dalhousie 10-10 26
UPEI 7-13 18
UNB 2-18 8
Memorial 0-20 0

Cape Breton controls their own destiny with respect to a first-round bye in the AUS tournament. With a victory today at Saint Mary's, the Capers move into a tie with St. FX for second place; however, the Capers own the tiebreaker and would capture second, setting up the following first round games at the AUS tournament:
St. FX vs. UPEI; Saint Mary's vs. Dal.
However, if the Huskies were to come up with another win this afternoon, Saint Mary's moves into a tie for second with X but St. FX would would get the bye based on winning the tiebreaker (3-1 in games), which would set up the following first-round games:
Saint Mary's vs. UPEI
Cape Breton vs. Dalhousie.

In Quebec, UQAM recovered from an important loss to McGill the night before to defeat Laval 93-83, exploding le Rouge et Or's 13 game winning streak and putting the Citadins into third place, where they will avoid a trip to Ste. Foy next weekend for the Q semi-finals. Today's Concordia at McGill game will decide second place with the loser dropping all the way to fourth. The playoff shape up like this:

If McGill wins today:
Concordia at Laval;
UQAM at McGill

If Concordia wins today:
McGill at Laval
UQAM at Concordia

QSSF STANDINGS
Laval 13-3
Concordia 8-7
McGill 8-7
UQAM 8-8
Bishop's 2-14

UQAM owns the tiebreaker against both McGill and Concordia and will finish in third place.

Canada West: Calgary to host CW Final Four next weekend

Two of the four spots at next weekend's Canada West Final Four have been set as the Central Division champion Calgary Dinos, behind 31 points and 11 rebounds from Henry Bekkering, hammered Alberta 90-66 before 2,804 fans in Calgary to sweep their two game series and gain the right to host the Final Four tournament next weekend. The Dinos almost certainly will enter the tournament as the #1 seed. Meanwhile in Vancouver, the UBC Thunderbirds captured their second consecutive Pacific Division championship finishing off the Victoria Vikes 86-77 to sweep their series. The third and fourth spots at the Final Four will be determined later today as the Brandon Bobcats forced a third and deciding game in their Great Plains division final by thrashing Regina 105-70. Speculating on the probable wild card implications, a Brandon win will likely give the wild card to Alberta while a Cougars win this afternoon and the Bobcats will likely take the wild card. Final selections and seedings should be announced by Monday morning at the latest.

Rita Mingo from the Calgary Herald provides her game report on Calgary's win Dinos maul Bears to claim crown

Dan Stinson from the Vancouver Sun provides his article UBC advances to Canada West Final Four plus Ron Rauch's piece in the Victoria Times-Colonist T-Birds sweep Vikes Marc Weber's piece in the Vancouver Province Kool, Dyck lead UBC over Vikes

Jeremy Sawatsky's report on last night's Brandon blowout win Bobcats topple Cougars to force game three

A little tardy with this link however here is a piece in the Regina Leader-Post on the Cougars game one win at Brandon Gareau lifts Cougars over Bobcats PLUS the Scrum's thoughts on game one

Wayne Thomas article on Calgary's game two win over Alberta The directions were clear for the Alberta Golden Bears; no Dino, especially none named Bekkering, was to get to the hoop unharmed, and the desperate Bruins responded with a very physical defense with little subtlety in it's execution. The strategy was effective for the better part of the first half, but the Dinos, sparked by perfect 10/10 foul shooting from the oft abused Ross Bekkering, left with a 45-34 lead at the break.


From there, Henry Bekkering made the second half his territory for the second night running, and the score line read 31 pts. and 11 rebounds, highlighted by a pair of three point drives where he blew by, muscled past, and bowled over Bears defenders. Ross finished with 17 points and 12 boards, and Robbie Sihota had 17 with 8 rebounds. Jeff Price picked up 2 fouls in the middle of the 2nd quarter and sat until the 2nd half, but managed 7 assists, and did a solid defensive job on the Bears' guard Alex Steele, who was held to 12 points on 5/15 shooting.


CG Morrison was the Alberta high scorer with 21, but the Bears were limited to 36% from the floor, and well below their season's scoring average of 81.5 points. The Semi - Final three game series against Saskatchewan last weekend likely took a little more out of them, but they were also up against a team that had too much fire power and physical strength to wilt under the challenge.


Calgary now advances to the Canada West Final Four Tournament, which the Dinos will host at the Jack Simpson Gym next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 29 and March 1. Alberta must await the outcome of the Brandon - Regina Great Plains Final, which goes to a 3rd game Sunday. The Bears have a good shot at the Canada West Wildcard spot , but only if Brandon wins that deciding game.


Notes ...


The crowd was even bigger tonight at 'The Jack', with a full house of about 2600 enthusiastically cheering the teams. many Alberta fans were evident, and the atmosphere in the gym was a huge step up from the regular season.
Does anyone know where our pep band has gone? the Stampede Showband/Dinos Pep Band was missed this weekend, and we hope they can return for the Final Four.
Big win for Coach Dan Vanhooren over his old coach at U of A , Don Horwood, who has often been on the other end of this equation. Both coaches were very animated in tonight's game as the play became more and more of a physical battle.