Monday, 25 October 2010 Top 10 for October 25th, 2010

Another weekend in which there were a number of upsets and the ranks of the unbeatens was whittled down to four teams.  Several previously-touted teams were knocked back into reality (or the guy who ranked them high has ranking issues) and fewer teams emerged as possible Top 10 and honourable mention replacements.  Truth be told, upon initial review, I could think of only 9 teams which were legitimate Top 10's and that could be a stretch.  Thus far, beyond a handful of strong National championship contenders, parity reigns so expect the Top 10 to have a lot of churn early and possibly all season long. 

#1 Carleton (7-0) (LW #2)   Try as one might to find reasons not to rank the Ravens at the top given the loss of an All-Canadian and the comparative inexperience of the roster, this is the right spot for them at this time of the year.  Every win has been in double digits and they have only trailed for a total of about 10 minutes through 7 games, coming back from a 12 point deficit yesterday at Laval, a very tough place to play.  6'3" Phil Scrubb is an emerging star, 5'11" fifth-year guard Mike Kenny has barely played (he will be a factor before all is said and done) and 5'10" Willy Manigat is improving every day.  The Ravens are deep, play hard, rebound, defend, yada, yada, yada and have already defeated Windsor, Victoria and Laval on the road.  They deserve to be #1 right now.  Carleton plays a pair of U.S. Division 1 teams this coming week in the U.S.

#2 Saskatchewan (6-1) (LW #3)  After a 30 point blowout loss to UBC on Friday, many were questioning the wisdom of having the Huskies in the Top 10 however a tremendous comeback win on Saturday when it appeared they would be swept reinvigorated the voting community.  Sask could just as easily been 3rd with UBC 2nd however we'll give the Huskies the benefit of the doubt with a road win.  This ranking will again be tested this coming weekend when the Huskies entertain Victoria Vikes for a pair of games.

#3 UBC (6-1) (LW #1)  As mentioned above, Birds could easily be one spot higher and have an opportunity to reassert themselves against TWU on the weekend.  UBC has a deep, experienced back court and can throw several looks at teams defensively; last season's blow out win early was predicated on pressuring Spartans guards.  UBC's front line will be tested however.

#4 Trinity Western (3-0) (LW #9) The Spartans pair of dominating wins at Lethbridge have provided a larger sample set of the potential this team has. TWU have arguably the most raw talent of any team in Canada with 4 former D1 or D2 starters in the lineup and now have a point guard who can play big minutes, score and distribute. TWU dominated Lethbridge on Friday and most of Saturday and showed that good guard play can make a tremendous difference. The front line of 6'6" Jacob Doerksen, 6'6" Tyrell Mara and 6'6" Kyle Coston could turn out to be one of the more formidable combinations up front in recent memory. The Spartans get an opportunity to show the country that this lofty ranking is deserved and also avenge last season's lopsided loss in October to UBC when they host the T-Birds this weekend at home.

#5 Concordia (5-0) (LW #7)  Brian Sipe would be very proud of the Stingers with their growing propensity for dramatic, come-from-behind victories and while the Stingers are still a work-in-progress, especially up front, Concordia does have a premier decision-making guard in Kyle Desmarais and a veteran scorer in Decee Krah.  The Stingers can push the tempo with their deep set of athletes coming off the bench and have already defeated Laurier (twice - who defeated Dalhousie) and McMaster among their wins.  The Stingers meet Rhode Island and Vermont next week in games vs. NCAA D1 teams in the U.S. and then get ready to start their QSSF season in mid-November.

#6 Western (4-0) (LW #10)  In the backcourt as a scorer and decision-maker, 6'2" Ryan Barbeau has become the leader of this talented group that includes All-Canadian 6'6" Andrew Wedemire and D1 transfer 6'8" Adam Jespersen.  The recruiting class garnered 6'4" big guard Quinn Henderson and blue chip 6'5" forward Peter Scholtes.  Plenty of talent and numerous perimeter threats that will get even more room to knock shots down when 6'6" Garrett Olexiuk returns from injury, likely very soon.  Western hosts UQAM on Sunday in their final pre-season game before the interlock portion of the OUA regular season begins.

#7 St. FX (5-1) (LW #4) X looked like a Top 3 team in authoring dominating wins on the first two nights of the Jack Donohue Memorial tournament in Ottawa but were slowed to a fast crawl by their standards against Toronto and their zone defense.  The loss of 5'10" Christian "T-Bear" Upshaw for the entire second half of Sunday's game, which came after a late Saturday game, hurt a bit however the Blues were able to score 77 points against the vaunted X "d", exposing some weaknesses.  Still a very good team however Sunday's loss removes that virtually unbeatable/Top 3 tag for now.  X gets Guelph this Thursday night in a game to be played at Saint Mary's in Halifax and then hosts the X Nike Classic in Antigonish.

#8 Dalhousie (3-1) (LW #6)  The loss to Laurier and their formidable front line seemed to expose some depth issues the Tigers may have up front as coach John Campbell had little more to turn to especially with 6'6" Jason Wang still out with his wrist injury.  6'1" Simon Farine continues to flash Moser-like form but needs more consistency from his newcomers in the backcourt.  The Tigers have Top 5 talent in their first 5 or 6 and will go as far as their defense and development of newcomers takes them.  Dal hosts Ottawa U. and Guelph this weekend at home.

#9 Laval (5-2) (#5)  A team that is showing that the three ball/perimeter shooting is key, the Rouge et Or had Carleton by 12 on Sunday and made 9 consecutive 3's against Saint Mary's on Saturday yet were defeated by an improving UNB team on Friday when their "d" and shooting let them down.  6'6" Etienne Labrecque helps inside but this is another perimeter-oriented team that will succeed if they make shots.  Laval has 3 Division 1 games in Utah in the coming week.

#10 Calgary (3-2) (LW N/R)  Several candidates for this spot however the Dinos losses have been to Saskatchewan (albeit by 40) and to Vic.  Saturday's come-from-behind win in the second game against the Vikes showed that 6'9" Tyler Fidler has the ability to carry his team, especially as the Dinos wait for 6'1" sophomore point guard Jarred Jackson to return from an ankle injury.  Calgary hosts Lethbridge this weekend for a pair of games.

Also considered:  Acadia (4-1).


Anonymous said...

Philip Scrubb is a freshman, a rookie.
When you watch him play, you have to remind yourself his cumulative CIS experience so far is but a half dozen games.
But Scrubb has been so impressive so early on one can't help but wonder what he will be like as a 5th year senior...rival CIS coaches no doubt shudder at the thought.
Scrubb just might be Dave Smart's greatest recruiting coup ever, ranking at least on a par with Aaron Doornekamp and Osvaldo Jeanty.
But Jeanty and Doornekamp were already well familiar with Smart before they decided to play at Carleton.
What makes Scrubb stand out is that he is not the typical Smart recruit, a local kid (Ottawa and eastern Ontario) that played club ball for him.
No, Scrubb is from BC, a heretofore untapped source of talent for Carleton basketball.
Scrubb, not surprisingly, was highly coveted coming out of HS and coaches like UBC's Kevin Hanson badly wanted this kid.
Scrubb is actually one of five players on the Ravens current roster who came from outside Ontario.
There's Phil Scrubb's elder brother Thomas, a redshirted freshman and Manitoba native Dan Penner, a sophomore who redshirted last year.
Rounding out the contingent is 4th year guard Elliot Thompson, the first out of province recruit Smart landed out of NB and Willy Manigat, a transfer from the Gee Gees by way of Montreal.
Look for more out of province recruits to wind up at Carleton in future years, as the success of the program attracts players from all parts of the country.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a pretty fair list for this time of year.

I too would have put Saskatchewan 2nd but, in some ways, the jury is still out on a team that gives up 90+ points in their two opening games - even with UBC as the opposition.

Might be a little hard to drop SFX so far down after their one loss to Toronto but I'm convinced they will soon be back near the top.