Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weekend Preview

As we enter the final full weekend of league play prior to the exam/holiday break, all conferences are beginning to settle with some scattered surprises based on the pre-season prognostications.  The rest of this week has games scheduled tonight through Sunday as the nation gets set to watch Lethbridge at UBC. 

Coverage from this site will be spotty for the remainder of the weekend but we should have periodic updates, the usual weekend recap on Sunday and the second-to-last Top 10 of 2010. 

Here's a look at the key games in each conference this coming weekend.

Canada West
(Games Friday and Saturday except Lethbridge / UBC)

Victoria at Alberta 8:00 PM MST  Best matchup of the weekend with two teams having aspirations of hosting a first round playoff series and these two games in the end should go a long way in determining whether either of these clubs will figure into that discussion.  The Bears are more explosive offensively but expect the Vikes to be prepared for the multiple action Alberta runs to free up 6'4" Daniel Ferguson.  Finding a proper matchup for 6'8" Jordan Baker will be challenging for Victoria but then again most teams have that issue.  Key to the weekend for Vic will be the health/availability of Jeff Cullen, who did not start in either game against Regina last weekend and played less than 20 minutes in both.

Lethbridge at UBC  (Thursday and Friday night at 8 PM PT/11 PM ET)  The injury-riddled 'Horns come off a pair of encouraging road wins in Kamloops against TRU.  UBC is deeper and more athletic however 6'5" Randy Davis is fashioning a breakthrough season, averaging over 17 ppg while 6'3" Danhue Lawrence remains steady and has the athleticism to match T-Birds guards.  6'3" Doug Plumb has been a solid rotation guy for the Birds.
 
Calgary at Regina 8:00 PM CST   After 4 lopsided losses on the road, the Cougars return home where they are much more difficult to play.  Regina needs more consistent efforts from 6'1" fifth-year shooting guard Jeff Lukomski and 6'7" Kris Heshka, one of the better post players in CW during his career, averages only 11 points and 6.4 rebounds, well below numbers expected; however, Heshka has battled foul trouble, fouling out of 4 games already this season.  The Dinos hope to string together two strong efforts over 1 weekend.

Brandon at Manitoba 8:00 PM CST  Both teams have made strides since last season's disappointments and this should be an intriguing matchup with plenty of athleticism and three point shooting.  The Bisons had what amounts to a bad loss two Saturday's ago against Thompson Rivers at home, which could come back to haunt them in February when playoff spots are determined.

Trinity Western at Winnipeg 8:00 PM CST   The Wesmen will look to tighten up defensively against the explosive Spartans, who will have a decisive advantage in the paint.  Winnipeg's O'Brien Wallace continues to deliver instant offense off the bench for the Wesmen.

Thompson Rivers at UFV (Friday 8:00 PM PST; Saturday 7:00 PM)  Expect alot of threes to be thrown up between these B.C. rivals with 7'2" Greg Stewart inside potentially being the difference maker at both ends, depending upon what matchup WolfPack coach Scott Clark can find for his towering center defensively against Fraser Valley which likes to keep the paint area clean with its smaller lineup.
Quebec
Friday:
McGill at Concordia 6:00 PM EST   The Redmen were able to hold off a charging Bishop's Gaiters team last weekend to remain undefeated.  The ability to shoot the ball consistently from the perimeter has not been there arguably all season for the Redmen.  The Stingers come back after a bye week with a game at home where they perennially have been very tough.

Bishop's at UQAM 8:00 PM EST  These teams met two weeks ago in Lennoxville and the Citadins owned the glass, especially on the offensive end in pulling away in the second half for a comfortable win.

Saturday:
UQAM at McGill 8:00 PM EST  Redmen's front line will be tested with the tenacious Citadins offensive rebounding abilities.  McGill's "d" has been solid all throughout the pre-season and into their first two league games - UQAM will have to make perimeter shots.  Citadins will test McGill's pair of point guards in Olivier Bouchard and Karim Sy-Morrisette.  Game should prove to be a contrast in styles with McGill's ability to convert defensively and control the tempo a key.

Concordia at Bishop's 8:00 PM EST   First meeting of the season between these two teams.

AUS
Friday
Dalhousie at UNB 8:00 PM AST   The V-Reds get an opportunity to enter the discussion as a potential Top 4 teams in the conference, hosting the Tigers who were handed their first loss in conference play Tuesday night at Saint Mary's.  5'10" Andrew Wright will have his hands full with 6'1" Simon Farine, who was excellent in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's set back, scoring 13 points including knocking down 3 3's.  6'5" Alex DesRoches and 6'7" Lonzell Lowe vs. 6'9" Joe Schow and 6'7" Sandy Viet is an intriguing matchp of big men.

Saturday
Saint Mary's at Memorial 8:00 PM AST   The first of two on the weekend as the Sea-hawks look to break into the win column against SMU which came up with a their first in a virtual "must win" on Tuesday at home against Dal.

Acadia at UNB 8:00 PM AST   The second of two huge opportunities for UNB to push ahead (we'll stop with this thought now).

StFX at UPEI 8:00 PM AST  X tries to bounce back after two consecutive losses and a shot to the swagger that helps generate the energy that this group thrives on.  The Panthers got their first win of the season last weekend vs. UNB in comfortable fashion.

Sunday
Saint Mary's at Memorial 1:00 PM AST  The teams complete their two game series in St. John's.

StFX at UPEI 4:00 PM AST  The teams complete their two game series in Charlottetown.

Final Weekend of the OUA Interlock
Friday
York at Brock 8:00 PM EST  This game could see about 250 points scored given the explosiveness and the green light most guys on both teams enjoy.  Don't expect any shot clock violations.

Windsor at Queen's 8:00 PM EST  Lancers look to cap their best season ever against OUA East teams.  While the Gaels have had trouble scoring as a team, 6'2" Dan Bannister has been spectacular of late.

Ryerson at Laurier 8:00 PM EST  Another matchup of two high-scoring teams in which the Golden Hawks have the decided edge inside however the Hawks must find a matchup defensively for Rams 6'0" freshman Jahmal Jones.

Western at RMC 8:00 PM EST

Laurentian at Guelph 8:00 PM EST  The Voyageurs are just getting their team back to full strength as Manny Pasquale gets a full week of practice after overcoming mono and Isaiah Pasquale tries to replicate his career-best effort against Laurier last week.  Guelph looks to find the proper rotation to compensate for the loss of Kareem Malcolm for the season.

McMaster at Carleton 8:00 PM EST  6'8" Scott Brittain has not played for the Marauders for the past 3 games and Mac is being cautious given Brittain's history with concussions however if he is ever needed, it would be in this game where he would present the Ravens with a difficult matchup problem.

Toronto at Waterloo 8:00 PM EST   Two teams which run text book sets and are arguably the two most surprising teams in the OUA with the Blues deservedly in the Top 10 despite pre-season forecasts that had them possibly fighting for a playoff spot.

Lakehead at Ottawa 8:00 PM EST   Rematch of last season's OUA Third Place game in which the Thunderwolves came back with a strong second-half defensive effort and their usual three-point barrage. 

Saturday
Toronto at Laurier 2:00 PM EST  Last season's overtime win by the Blues in Toronto over the Hawks was one of the most exciting games of the season.
Windsor at RMC 3:00 PM EST
Laurentian at Brock 8:00 PM EST  The Vees have more balance to their offense however their still may be 80 threes attempted in this game.
York at Guelph 8:00 PM EST  Expect the Gryphs to try to control the tempo and lock down the Lions defensively with York in contrast looking to push and get shots up.
Ryerson at Waterloo 8:00 PM EST  The teams met earlier this season at the Naismith with Rye pulling out the victory over a Warrior group which is much improved since then.
McMaster at Ottawa 8:00 PM EST  Likely a must-win situation for the Gee-Gees at home, a night after the Marauders get #1 Carleton.
Western at Queen's 8:00 PM EST  While on paper the Mustangs appear to have more overall talent, expect the spunky Gaels, especially at home, to compete in this one.
Lakehead at Carleton 8:00 PM EST  Probably the best matchup of the weekend in the OUA with two teams that competed in last season's CIS Final 8.

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