Tuesday, 17 November 2009

CIS Hoops.ca Top 10 November 17th, 2009

Only 3 undefeated teams remain after U of T Varsity Blues knocked off McMaster on Friday night. Several other teams in the middle of last week's Top 10 were defeated, creating quite a bit of churn in this week's rankings as a couple of idle teams conveniently move up the rankings while two newcomers from Canada West are welcomed.

#1 Carleton (10-0, 4-0) (LW #1) The friendly confines of the Ravens Nest were a tonic that cured many of the Ravens earlier-season woes, however most noteable was the tremendous play, under extremely trying circumstances, of 6'0" Willy Manigat, Carleton's sometimes-electrifying guard. Manigat came in off the bench and proceeded to turn the game around Friday night against Windsor after the Lancers took an early 9-2 lead off three Raven turnovers. His energy and ability to deal with Windsor's athletic pressure allowed Mike Kenny to relax and make shots, Kevin McCleery to operate inside and the rest of the Ravens to defend and rebound. On Sunday afternoon, Manigat again was the catalyst against Western despite playing through a very difficult situation. Carleton's ability to inject Manigat's much needed energy and athleticism off the bench brings a new dimension to the Ravens.

#2 UBC (6-0, 3-0) (LW #2) The T-Birds continue to flash their quality depth as reserve guard Nathan Yu was the catalyst on Saturday night against Alberta, picking up a tired and ill Josh Whyte after Whyte put the Birds on his back on Friday night in a stellar fourth-quarter performance to defeat a very, very good Saskatchewan club. UBC continues to show the program has built upon last season's CIS championship game appearance with a cool maturity in tight games, having come from behind in at least 3 of their six wins. They remain undefeated and will finally go on the road for the next two weekends however the competition (two games at Thompson Rivers, singles at Winnipeg and at Manitoba) is beatable.

#3 Calgary (9-0, 6-0) (LW #3) The Dinos were sluggish by their standards and overcame a sub-par performance from Tyler Fidler who had been battling the flu plus an ankle injury to Robbie Sihota to remain undefeated. Calgary has a killer end to the 2009 portion of their season schedule with two games in Saskatoon next weekend against the Saskatchewan Huskies followed by a trip out west to meet undefeated Simon Fraser and highly-touted Trinity Western.

#4 Dalhousie (10-1, 3-0) (LW #5) A pair of sluggish efforts at home against MUN don't damper how well the Tigers can play when they are right. At key parts of both games, Dal played lock-down "d" and, led by POY candidate Simon Farine, went on the kind of runs Top 5 teams need to win games even when things aren't going as well as they can. Dal hosts #5 X this coming Sunday and then the following weekend take a trip to #7 Cape Breton and then Antigonish for a return match against X.

#5 McMaster (10-1, 3-1) (LW #4) A loss to a very good, then #7 Varsity Blues at home has put a bit of a damper on Mac's first half although the Marauders did bounce back with a solid win against up-start Ryerson on Saturday. Mac had trouble dealing with Toronto's 2/3 zone defense and were not able to fully shut down the Blues vaunted precision offense, losing despite the Blues not having 6'8" Nick Snow in the lineup. Still, Mac has only one loss on the season and it was difficult to place them behind X, a team they comfortably defeated at home in October.

#6 St. FX (8-2, 2-0) (LW: #8) Idle last week, X moves up mainly because other teams lost. X-Men get their second crack at a Top 10 team as they visit Dal on Sunday.

#7 Cape Breton (6-2, 1-1) (LW #10) Idle. The Capers visit winless UPEI this Saturday.

#8 Windsor (5-2, 3-1) (LW: #6) The Lancers were in the game for just over a half at Carleton before wilting with their outside shooting as the Ravens simply do not let teams get to the rim and if teams are not making shots or creating off their defense, it becomes a long night against the Ravens. Windsor showed their meddle with a come-from-behind overtime win at Ottawa the following night in which they trailed by 7 with 3 minutes to go before coming back and actually taking the lead with under 1 second to go in the game but seeing their final bucket denied by the buzzer (observers who should know (not Windsor people) confirmed the bucket should have counted). The Lancers then took over in the OT and are more than deserving of this ranking.

#9 Trinity Western (3-1, 2-1) (LW HM) Two very strong road wins at Brandon and at Regina, both very difficult places to play, solidifies the Spartans as a Top 10 team. Jacob Doerksen had a dominating effort at Brandon, going face to face with Cats POY candidate Dany Charlery and Spartans had a solid team effort the following night against the Cougars. Guard play is likely to dictate how far up the rankings the Spartans will climb as the season progresses.

#10 Simon Fraser (5-1, 3-0) (LW: NR) With two very good, big, senior guards in Kevin Shaw and Sean Burke (both fifth-year guys), the Clan will be a very difficult team to play all season long and their two game sweep at Regina and at Brandon shows that this mature club will make noise in Canada West. With only a single loss (to #8 Windsor at home) and a win at Victoria, the Clan is worthy of a Top 10 nod. A pair of games this weekend at Fraser Valley, another top contender in the Pacific, will help dictate how much further the Clan can climb, led by their veteran guards.

Dropped Out of Top 10 but still honourable mention Saskatchewan (7-3, 2-2) (LW: #7) Two losses including a blow out at UVic when it appeared that the Huskies had left all of their emotions and energy on the Mainland necessitate this likely-briefly sojourn from the Top 10. Two games at home against Calgary immediately gives Saskatchewan opportunities for redemption and reconsideration.

Toronto (8-3, 2-2) (LW #9) Once again, the Blues got what could have been an up to now season-defining win on Friday night at McMaster with a solid defensive performance in which the Blues zone shone and they won without 6'8" Nick Snow but could not follow it up with a win at Lakehead. The Blues now travel to face Brock and Guelph.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Lakehead (6-1, 4-0) Big wins at home this weekend against previously-league-unbeatean Ryerson and then over then #7 Toronto give every reason to place the Thunderwolves among the Top 10 and they definitely are right there. If anything (and this is small), Brandon's 1-5 start and how the Bobcats have lost have some bearing on why they are #11 and not in the Top 10 however with two more wins this weekend (at York and at Laurentian), it will be very difficult to keep Lakehead out of the Top 10 before Carleton and Ottawa visit on the last weekend of the first half.


Anonymous said...

I don't mean to pry but what were the "extremely difficult circumstances" Willie Manigat had to deal with?
A family matter, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

He is being private about this matter - Willy's father passed away on Saturday night.

Anonymous said...

I am awfully sorry to hear that.
Yes, I can see how difficult it must have for Willy to play Sunday afternoon under such terrible circumstance.
My condolences to Willy and his family.