Monday, 3 January 2011

CIS Hoops.ca Top 10 as of 3rd January 2011

It's been some time since my last Top 10 take and fortunately I have the luxury of not being confined by how much a team can move from one poll to the next.  In the case of Cape Breton, in my view they were playing as well as any team in Canada at the end of the first half of the season and my new ranking for them reflects that, although I still put X higher based on the body of work including this weekend's Shoveller Memorial tournament victory.  Saskatchewan continues to impress however their depth should be tested in the tough months of January and February.  In Quebec, Laval's losses this past weekend hurt them, notwithstanding not having Jerome Turcotte in the lineup this weekend.  Dalhousie had a chance to push into the Top 10 but did not finish very well yesterday's home game in front of big crowd that had post season intensity.  Laurier was the other team that I feel deserves some merit, defeating Toronto at home and playing Carleton the toughest out of any team all season thus far.  ** LATE UPDATE:  Dal hosts Cape Breton for a pair of games this weekend, not the other way around as suggested below.

#1 Carleton (15-0 overall, 8-0 in OUA East) (Last Poll #1)  Ravens took care of a very good and improving Lakehead squad at home on the final weekend of the first half and remain the only undefeated (vs. CIS) team in Canada.  Carleton took their annual trip to Florida for a training camp and kept sharp with a pair of scrimmages against local junior colleges.  The Ravens host Ryerson on Friday and have a showdown with second-place U of T Varsity Blues this coming Saturday night as the OUA East regular season continues this weekend.  Definitive #1.

#2 UBC (13-2 overall, 10-2 in Canada West) (LP #2)  T-Birds travelled to Fairbanks, AL for a pair of games before Christmas, splitting a pair of matches before taking 2 of 3 on a tour of Southern California against NAIA schools.  UBC travels to Winnipeg to meet the maturing Manitoba Bisons for a pair of games this coming weekend as the CW schedule resumes.  Definitive #2.

#3 Trinity Western (13-2 overall, 12-2 in Canada West) (LP #3)  Spartans have been dominant since dropping a pair of home games against #2 UBC at home in October, winning their last 10 games in a row.  TWU will be tested this coming weekend as they travel to Victoria to meet the Vikes, who themselves are knocking on the door of the Top 10.  A late January weekend at home vs. Saskatchewan also looms on the schedule.  Arguably #3 but some feel the pair of double-digit home losses to UBC in October prove their vulnerability.

#4 Windsor (9-3, 7-1) (LP: #6)  Lancers had their best-ever showing vs. OUA East teams in the interlock and lead the OUA West.  Windsor split a pair of games earlier this week at the Notre Dame (NAIA, Ohio) Christmas tournament in which Isaac Kuon did not play.  Lancers get OUA West league play going again with a tough game immediately this coming Wednesday night in London against Western Mustangs, 29 point losers to Daemen College in Buffalo earlier this week.

#5  Saskatchewan (14-3, 7-3) (LP: #7)  Huskies were solid in capturing the 44th Wesmen Classic earlier this week.  Dominating the second half, Sask blew out host Winnipeg after surviving a tough three point win over Lakehead in the semi-finals.  Huskies make another two visits back to Manitoba on the first two weekends of CW play, visiting Brandon this coming weekend.  6'1" Rejean Chabot was MVP of the Wesmen Classic.

#6 St. FX (14-3, 3-2) (LP #4)  Winning the Shoveller on Dal's home court in a playoff-like atmosphere before an energized, jammed house with adversity staring them in the face given T-Bear Upshaw's benching on Saturday has put X back in the national championship picture.  Despite a mid-first-half swoon and a decisive loss at Cape Breton, X-Men deserve a ranking slightly higher than the red-hot Capers based on the body of work.  Compared to the other AUS contenders, X has what many would regard as an easier second half schedule which begins this weekend at home vs. UPEI followed on Saturday by a trip to Wolfville to meet Acadia on Sunday.

#7 Cape Breton (8-5, 7-0) (LP: NR) After a rough pre-season, Capers got it together for a dominant first half of the AUS regular season including a comfortable home win against arch-rival X. CBU has won 8 games in a row overall including a pair of road wins at Acadia and were playing by far the most dominant basketball of any AUS team by the end of the first half. Capers toured China during the Holidays and return home in a couple of days to face Dalhousie Tigers in Sydney for a pair of critical AUS games on the weekend.

#8 Concordia (11-2, 4-1) (LP #8)  Disappointing loss to St. FX in Shoveller semi-finals Saturday night overshadows nice home win over Laval on final night of QUBL first half.  Stingers did bounce back nicely in the Shoveller third-place game, hammering Acadia and have a solid record but the decisive loss to X lingers.  Concordia goes into Laval this Friday night as regular season continues and then must bounce back to face UQAM on Saturday.  Strong team but did not prove they were a Top 5 team when opportunity was there.

#9 Laurier (9-5, 6-2) (LP: NR) A solid home win against U of T on the final afternoon of the first half as well as a strong effort in a tight home loss to undefeated Carleton propels the Golden Hawks into Top 10 consideration. Upset loss at Laurentian is likely the only element keeping Laurier from being even higher ranked.  Thus far, coach Peter Campbell has been able to get it done with bigs making many of the key decisions on the floor and Hawks would benefit further if one of their young point guards takes the reigns in the second half.  Hawks travel to Hamilton to face McMaster on Wednesday as the OUA West portion of their league schedule kicks off.

#10 Toronto (12-4, 6-2) (LP: #9)   Arguably the most pleasant surprise of the first half in a program that year-in, year-out proves that a solid system with team-oriented players usually prevails.  How 6'1" point guard Anthony DeGiorgio holds up, especially against more athletic opponents, remains the key and the Blues must continue to shoot the ball as well as they have through the first half.  6'5" Alex Hill may be the most impactful transfer in the country this side of Alberta's Andrew Ferguson and Concordia's Kyle Desmarais.

Other Considered:
Dalhousie (10-4, 4-1) (LP:  #10)   Lost a chance at a Top 10 ranking with Sunday's decisive home loss to X.  Tigers were without 6'2" Stephen Lopez this weekend who sat out; still, Dal has a chance for redemption this coming weekend with a pair of games in Sydney against the sizzling Cape Breton Capers.

Laval (10-5, 4-1) (LP #5)  Lost at ConU on final night of Q first half after tough win at McGill night prior.  Going 1-2 at Shoveller including a bad 25+ point loss vs. Saint Mary's, even if Rouge et Or were without 1st half MVP Jerome Turcotte (ankle), takes them out of Top 10 consideration.  Turcotte should be ready for this coming Friday night's rematch at home against Concordia.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mark,

The Capers travel to Halifax to play Dal for two, not the other way around. Go Cape!

Anonymous said...

Mark, your CIS top 10 more accurately reflects which teams are currently playing well and which are not.
The "official" poll is, to put it charitably, a curiosity.
For example, why was Laval ranked so high
to start the season (#7) despite dropping two of three in their own tournament?
I know they swept the Naismith but MUN, tRyerson and Waterloo aren't exactly top tier teams.
Incredibly, Laval then rose to #3 in the coaches poll on the strength of wins over McGill, UQAM, Bishop's and Concordia.
Of these four wins only Concordia was a ranked team and to date remains Laval's only win this season over a ranked team.
When Concordia beat Laval in the rematch, the coaches dropped Laval three spots which, at first glance, seemed rather harsh, but was probably correct in retrospect.
Last year, as one might recall, the Quebec conference suffered the embarrassment of not having one team in the top 10 for even a single week throughout the entire season.
The coaches may have been trying to compensate for that by showing the Q conference leaders an inordinate amount of respect this year.
In the end, I think one Quebec team will remain in the top 10 and probably not in the top 7.

Anonymous said...

Windsor is way too high ... for lack of further data, I suppose you could keep them up there somewhere, but they're a low top 10 team. I think league play will bear this out..

Anonymous said...

Funny how Laurier is ranked with a 6-2 Oua record with a loss to Laurentian but Lakehead with identical 6-2 record beat Laurentian by almost 30?
The next 7 weeks will bring some clarity to the OUA west because it's hard to rank teams now due to the weaker OUA east.

Wayne said...

As soon as you jump a team like Laurier up in the rankings, they turn on you! And McMaster lost to Winnipeg ... so they can't come up.

No one in the QSSF is worthy, but you know they'll be in the official pool. How about Alberta, Manitoba, Victoria? If we wait for the weekend, we'll see more Top 10ers toppled.

Rest up with that strep throat !