This Christmas tradition in Winnipeg is the longest-running tournament in the CIS, hosting edition #44 (Note: Waterloo's Naismith Classic hosted their 43rd event earlier this year while the uOttawa Jack Donohue Memorial tournament hosted their 37th consecutive tourney in October - to my knowledge these are the top 3 longest-running tournaments in the CIS).
Tuesday, Dec. 28 (all games Central time)
Game 1 Noon Lakehead Thunderwolves (10-6 vs. CIS, 6-2 in OUA West) vs. Brandon Bobcats (5-8 vs. CIS, 4-6 in Canada West) The Wolves ambitious pre-season schedule dotted with several tough road games resulted in some losses from which only their recent 6 game winning streak has brought them back into CIS Top 10 consideration. Still, Lakehead's only two league losses were against Top 10 teams Toronto and Carleton. The Bobcats under Coach Gil Cheung are making steady progress with a roster full of new faces. The Cats last played in early December at Minot State, losing by 24. Brandon wants to run and press while the Thunderwolves are a deadly three-point shooting team and finish games very strong, ordinarily ratcheting up the "d" later in games.
Game 2 2 PM Minot State Beavers (4-8 overall, 0-2 in league) vs Saskatchewan Huskies (12-3 vs. CIS, 7-3 in Canada West) Maybe the best matchup of the first round with both teams featuring guard-oriented lineups in Huskies slick duo of 6'0" Jamelle Barrett and 6'1" Rejean Chabot matching up with Beavers two leading scorers 6'1" Anthony Enriquez (13.1 ppg, season-high 29 vs. Montana Tech) and 6'1" Kal Bay (12.8 ppg/38% 3's with season-high 36 vs. Valley City State which included 6 3's - Bay has also hit 7 3's in an earlier game). The Beavers lost 87-71 at Jamestown (which plays Manitoba in the first round) and pulled away from a tight game in the second half to defeat Brandon 96-72 last week at home.
Game 3 6 PM Winnipeg Wesmen (1-11 vs. CIS, 1-9 in Canada West) vs. McMaster Marauders Two programs in rebuilding mode, both with first-year coaches in Winnipeg's Mike Raimbault and Mac's Amos Connolly. The Wesmen have been giving up points at an alarming rate but have some explosive offensive talent while the young Marauders hope to have their star NCAA D1 transfer Scott Brittain (multiple concussions) back in the lineup.
Game 4 8 PM Manitoba Bisons (9-4 vs. CIS, 7-3 in Canada West) vs. Jamestown Jimmies (10-3) The steadily-improving Bisons remain guard-oriented for the most part but have gone deeper into their bench as the season has evolved and are making nice progress under second-year coach Kirby Schepp. Jamestown has four players averaging double figures in an experienced lineup, led by 6'5" JR forward Travis Burley (13.9 ppg), who had a season-best 28 point, 14 rebound double double in Jimmies' win vs. Minot State in which Jamestown held the Beavers star guard Kal Bay to just 5 points on 1-7 shooting. 6'6" SR C.J. Peeters (14.3 ppg) shoots 50% from the floor and has made 22 3's already this season while 6'10" JR guard Byron Jones (12.8 ppg) is the leading three point gunner from Jamestown with 40 3's on the season. 6'3" JR Chris Lawrence (11.5 ppg) is the fourth double figure scorer. The Jimmies hammered Winnipeg by 30 at home last week.
Wednesday, Dec. 29
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
plus consolation rounds determined by potential non-conference matchups first
Thursday, Dec. 30
Third-place game (between losers of Wednesday's semi-final games)
5th and 7th place games
Tournament Results page
Winnipeg Free Press Preview article