Sunday, 21 November 2010

Thoughts from the Weekend

AUS:  The feature matchup this weekend was the battle of a pair of unbeatens in Antigonish and the Dal Tigers made a strong case for reinstatement in the Top 10 with a nice road victory over St. FX.  Although the X-Men were hampered by the absence of Christian "T-Bear" Upshaw from the lineup, Dal did a tremendous job defensively, converting very well to reduce X's transition opportunities, doing a great job taking X out of their halfcourt stuff and most importantly taking care of the ball except for a couple of stretches.  X never really got out to run and use their athleticism for any long period of the game and Dal survived the first 5-6 minutes, which this season the X-Men have dominated in most games.  X ran into foul trouble early also as 6'9" Alberto Rodriquez and 6'5" Jeremy Dunn had to sit for long stretches in the first half, allowing Dal's forward combination of 6'9" Joe Schow and 6'7" Sandy Viet to be more comfortable and both delivered reasonably well.  Dal's 6'1" fifth-year guard Simon Farine struggled in stretches with his shooting and decision-making but gutted out much of the game despite suffering from an eye injury.  X got a solid effort from rising 6'5" freshman Terry Thomas, who energized their press, creating some deflections and turnovers and was in the middle of their final run that almost brought the game back by knocking down a couple of medium-range "j's".  There are a pair of tremendous AUS matchups mid-week as Tuesday the Tigers visit Saint Mary's at the Tower and then Wednesday the X-Men travelling to Sydney to meet Cape Breton Capers, quickly putting themselves back into the discussion for a Top 10 spot and AUS first-round bye.  With both games likely available on Webcast and the only CIS games on those nights, it is a good time for fans across the country to check out the AUS's top 4 teams this week.

Quebec... Nice to see Laval Rouge et Or program front and center with the Movember charitable activity for raising prostate cancer awareness.  Last night in Ste. Foy, the entire Paiement family participated in a fundraiser during Laval's game with Bishop's as Coach Paiement Sr's oldest daughter and his wife were in charge of an information stand and collected donations from the crowd.  Of course, Coach Paiement Sr. was also in attendance helping to spread the good word about this great effort.  On the floor Coach Paiement Jr. doned his mustache and watched as his Rouge et Or humbled the visiting Bishop's Gaiters, leading by 50 after 3 quarters.  Laval welcomed back 6'6" Etienne Labrecque back into the lineup after he missed much of last weekend with a severe tailbone injury.  But last night, Laval's defense was on display, generating numerous easy transition scores.  5'9" Xavier Baribeau also recovered from a cold shooting night in Montreal on Friday and continues to shoot lights out at the PEPS.  But 6'4" Jerome Turcotte has been the story for Laval in the early season as he is quickly becoming Rouge et Or best overall player.  As well, 6'5" freshman Hugues Ryan quickly is establishing himself as one of the top newcomers in the Q.  Laval travels to Montreal next Saturday night to face McGill with the Redmen first having to face Concordia next Friday night at 6 PM.

OUA... Guelph Gryphons are likely to be without star 6'0" guard Kareem Malcolm for the rest of this season after Malcolm sustained a severe elbow injury while driving to the lane against Toronto last night.  As Malcolm drove into the lane and was getting to the rim, Blues 6'6" Andrew Wasik came over from the weak side with Malcolm coming down hard on his elbow after the ensuing collision, on which Wasik was charged with a foul.  The injury to Malcolm is a huge blow to the Gryphons as the third-year transfer guard from Sheridan had been arguably Guelph's most consistent offensive player thus far this season... The Blues are quietly getting a strong season from 6'1" fifth-year point guard Anthony DeGiorgio.  Thought to be an area of concern prior to the start of the year, point guard has been a stable position for Toronto as the diminutive Oakwood Baron product has been solid, generally taking care of the ball well - with some exceptions - making shots when it matters and leading as a fifth-year guy.  The importance of players who have been in a system for four to five years cannot be understated and as the Blues only graduating player this season, DeGiorgio has taken his first season as a full-time starter by the horns and is the underlying reason why the Blues are 5-1 and in the Top 10 rather unexpectedly... After heavy losses due to graduation and a non-descript group of returnees, the Waterloo Warriors are the early-season surprise of the OUA, especially after this weekend's strong showing at York and at Laurentian.  Friday, the Warriors were in the game until late and Saturday in Sudbury Waterloo dismantled a listless Voyageurs group.  After missing much of last season with injuries, Toronto native and Eastern Commerce grad Wayne Bridge is beginning to come into his own in the backcourt and there is veteran talent and leadership in 6'8" Alan Goodhoofd, 6'3" Cam McIntyre and 6'1" Luke Kieswetter, a fifth-year point guard.  Goodhoofd has underrated offensive skills and athleticism while McIntyre has the potential to singlehandidly keep his team in games with his perimeter shooting although he has yet to establish strong consistency to this point in his career.  Another emerging impact player inside for the Warriors is 6'7" third-year post Brendan Smith (Kamloops, B.C.), who has seen his minutes increase as he provides a tremendous defensive presence in the paint - he had 5 blocks in Friday's game at York including a couple on York's 6'10" Dejan Kravic - and adds to the growing athleticism on the Warriors roster which also includes Bridge, a strong, rebounding guard and 6'1" Andrew Melbourne from Scarborough Mother Teresa who should see his time begin to increase also.  All in all, this weekend showed that Waterloo should be a much better group than many including me believed they would be this season... Western Mustangs were dealt a blow this week when Ryan Barbeau sustained an injury to his shoulder and did not play in either game this past weekend.  Barbeau was the key to the Mustangs early undefeated start however the 'Stangs were dealt a pair of lopsided losses at home the past two weekends and had to scramble with a last second tip-in to defeat Ottawa in overtime on Saturday.  No word on how long Barbeau will be out but the tough combo guard from Belleville is a key to Western's success going forward.

Canada West...  After 4 weeks of play, the new-look 13 team conference is beginning to parse out the favorites from the playoff contenders and teams that may already be looking toward next season.  Those who believed that UBC, Trinity Western and Saskatchewan would dominate at the top have thus far been validated with Alberta Golden Bears missing a "golden" opportunity to get involved in the top-tier discussion this past weekend.  While the Bears were in both games until the fourth quarter with Trinity in Langley this weekend, Spartans were able to pull away down the stretch of both games and last season's maligned starter Daniel Horner was one reason that TWU was successful.  The Spartans have eased the load on Horner, who now comes off the bench to spell starter Tristain Smith but Horner still is playing 17-20 minutes per game and the lessened load has allowed him to relax.  He went 3-6 from downtown on Saturday including several big makes, showing that TWU's point guard position has two solid leads.  Back to Alberta, the Bears look like a playoff team and will get their chance to shake off this past weekend when they host another likely playoff team in Victoria.  The other three CW playoff spots are likely to be hotly contested among, in no particular order, Fraser Valley, Calgary, Manitoba, Brandon and Regina, although the Cougars have been smacked four straight games away from home.  Currently, Thompson Rivers, Lethbridge and Winnipeg, which has been giving up points at an alarming rate, are beginning to look to build for next season.  But there is plenty of ball remaining as we move into the final weekend before the first semester exam / Holiday break.


Mista Cee said...

I'm a little bit confused by some of the analysis.. Anthony DeGiorgio has had a breakout season so far, he's one of the top assist men in the country to date and, for the amount he plays and handles the ball, has been pretty good in the turnover department. However, you point out here that there are "exceptions" .. are you still referring to the Mac game because I seem to remember you making similar comments after that game too. I mean, he doesn't even lead his team in turnovers, so I'm not sure why you keep bringing it up. I don't think I've ever heard you comment similarly about David Tyndale and he's a TO machine. He also dominated his matchup with Barbeau in London, whom you praise here. It just seems that your compliments are somewhat backhanded.. And I hate to quibble, but I don't think that 6'1" qualifies as "diminutive"! I can think of a number of points in the OUA smaller than him!

All that said, wouldn't DeGiorgio's on-court leadership, among other factors, make the Blues the early-season surprise of the OUA?? I mean you pretty much said it yourself. Toronto, like Waterloo, incurred even heavier losses and are 5-1, not a mediocre 3-3. How does being in a game until late compare to how Toronto has dismantled most of their opponents dating back to their pre-season, including top squads like UWO and X, not teams like Laurentian? I guess the referendum will be this Friday's matchup between the two..

Anonymous said...

I don't think Waterloo's record is that much of a surprise.
Their three wins came against RMC, a Warren Ward-less Ottawa and Laurentian.
They got hammered by Carleton (no surprise), dropped a close one to York (who have been hugely disappointing) and even lost to a weak Queen's team.
Last year Waterloo went 6-3 against the east but were a dismal 5-11 in their own division.
Waterloo dropped all three games in their Naismith tournament and the only other two wins the Warriors have had this season were against Bishop's, the 42nd best team in the country.
Overall, Waterloo is 5-6...just under .500.
Last year 9-13 in league, 15-18 overall.
The year before 7-4 vs east, 6-11 vs own division.
And so on and so on.
Waterloo has only had 6 coaches in its 52 year history.
The last two span a period of time close to 40 years.
The career records of all Warrior head coaches are listed on the Waterloo site, for all to see.
Under Don McCrae, Waterloo won a national championship, were runners up three times, won 4 Wilsons, and McCrae was 1985 COY.
Under Kieswetter?...meh.
Two nationals appearances, most recently a 9th place finish in 2005 and a 7th in 1998.
And a career sub .500 record across the board.
300 career wins in 18 years...but 311 career losses as well, making him the only coach in Warrior history with a career losing record.
Not to worry, though.
Tommy K runs a nice, clean program.
Under him, the Warriors have seldom been horrible but they have hardly ever seriously contended.
That's fine.
In the cut throat world that is NCAA basketball, Kieswetter would have probably been turfed years ago by most programs.
But in the CIS, it seems, at some places you can muddle along for 20 years or more, never really accomplishing much but if you're an agreeable sort, no one ever says boo.