Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Wayne Thomas's Canada West Preview

Always great to get Wayne's unique insights on Canada West and this weekend's slate of games from his Dinos Hoops News site  Wayne also has some notes; as an added bonus we also get CW Power rankings (linked to CIS Blog - see after Wayne's piece)

Canada West - Week 2   There will be a full slate of games in Canada West this coming weekend, with 12 teams playing their 2 game series, all of them on Friday and Saturday nights, while Winnipeg gets the bye. In only the 2nd week of the season, we will see 2 of the CIS’ top teams squaring off in their only meeting until playoffs, as UBC, who split with a strong Saskatchewan at home last weekend, take the short trip to Langley to play Trinity Western. Too bad the schedulers didn’t save this series for later in the campaign, but it is hard to predict far in advance.

The Match-ups ...  UBC at Trinity Western ... the Spartans, with 2 decisive road wins (116-79 and 98-82) , unloaded on Lethbridge last week, and hope to use home court to come out on top vs. the T-Birds. UBC has had the upper hand in this series, and have the experienced depth, with a tradition of winning, plus, they have Josh Whyte. Size could give TWU the edge, with Doerksen, Coston, and Verhoeff, but UBC is physical, and quick. Prediction ... a split.

Lethbridge at Calgary ... despite losing 2 games at home, the ‘Horns look like they can compete with all but the top 2 or 3 teams, and, at this stage, Calgary is not consistent enough to be in that category. Tyler Fidler will have to have a big weekend in order for the Dinos to win, and the point tandem of Keenan Milburn and Andy Rochon will have to be sharp in running the offense. Prediction ... a split.

Alberta at Thompson Rivers ... the Bears should be a ‘upwardly-mobile’ team with 2009-’10 Rookie of the Year, Jordan Baker, and the addition of CG Morrison, and Daniel Ferguson. TRU was unlucky not to get a split at Brandon, and their own line-up is strengthened by Chas Kok and Kevin Pribilsky, from SFU. Prediction ... a split

Brandon at Regina ... tough one to call, with Brandon gaining some confidence, despite the new roster, and new coach, going into Regina, where the Cougars have a good home court advantage. No Jeff Lukomski for Regina (football injury) yet, so shooting maybe suspect, but Kris Heshka will be a force in the middle. Prediction ... a split.

Manitoba at Fraser Valley ... the Bisons lit it up (108-88) in a loosely played win over Winnipeg, in their 1st installment of the ‘Battle of Winnipeg’. Sean Maxwell and Eric Garcia lead a willing bunch of gunslingers, but the Cascades will play them tough in Abbotsford. Look for Sam Freeman, Zeon Gray, and company to prevail. Prediction ... 2 wins for UFV.

Victoria at Saskatchewan ... the Vikes got a split at home vs. the very young Dinos, and didn’t look good on offense, despite their ‘motion game’. Mike Berg and Pierce Anderson better have their chin straps on for Michael Leiffers, Chris Unsworth and the crew. Jamelle Barrett will test the UVic defense. Prediction ... 2 wins for the Huskies.

Notes ... Sonja Johnson, UC Athletics Events Coordinator, reports there will be no box office on Friday. The first 3,000 people through the door will be admitted and there will be no charge (thanks to Ranger for their sponsorship of the game). Anyone who has already purchased a ticket will be provided a voucher for a complimentary game anytime during the regular season (and granted free admission on Friday)! ... Raymond’s Jimmy Ralph, the Comets’ football QB and basketball high scorer, is such an exceptional athlete, that he is being recruited for 3 sports. Baseball, which he has played at the international level for Canada, would likely see him go to a U.S. college. Meanwhile, basketball and football coaches in the CIS, including Calgary, are pursuing Ralph, with the Dinos floating the possibility of him being a dual -sport athlete. Good recruiting, perhaps, as the kid might be swayed, if he can continue to play both, but you wonder how realistic that task is, with the seasons conflicting as they do... Ken Olynyk, the TRU Athletic Director, and former U of L and U. of Toronto coach, visited Lethbridge last weekend watching his daughter, Jesse, play in the Canada West Rugby final for Victoria (they lost to Lethbridge). Olynyk’s son, Kelly, is a 6'11, 2nd year wing man, at Gonzaga in Spokane. Dave Wells tells us ... Kelly loved playing for Canada, and coach Leo Rautins, in Europe this summer, despite his weight falling to 222 by the end of his tour ("13 hotels in 60 days"). The young Kamloops product will likely play at 240 for the ‘Zags’, and be in their top 6 along with fellow Canadian, Manny Arop, from Edmonton.

Justin McElroy, a contributor to the excellent CIS Blog, offers the first of hopefully many Canada West Power Rankings

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