Tuesday, 1 February 2011

CISHoops.ca Top 10 for February 1st, 2011

One new entrant into the Top 10 (Alberta) which immediately gets an opportunity to justify their fresh position at #9 this coming weekend at #4 Saskatchewan.  We've slanted our bias to teams that have been stronger recently including #3 Cape Breton (one loss in 16 games), #6 Lakehead (7-1 vs. OUA West) and the aforementioned Golden Bears.

#1 Carleton (24-0, 17-0) (LW: #1)  Three more victories including a come-from-behind win over cross-town rival uOttawa Gee-Gees in the Capital Hoops Classic plus a dominant performance that likely put the final nail in the coffin of Queen's playoff hopes keeps the undefeated Ravens in the top spot.  Carleton finishes the regular season with 5 consecutive road games including travelling to Sudbury to face Laurentian and also to North York to face York Lions this coming weekend.  A rematch with U of T Varsity Blues and Ryerson in Toronto also loom and then the rematch at uOttawa to cap the regular season.

#2 UBC (19-2, 16-2) (LW: #2) Idle this past weekend but have a pair of tough ones at Regina this coming weekend where the veteran Cougars have been tough and have all but clinched a playoff spot.  After hosting Thompson Rivers, Birds finish their regular season at arch-rival Victoria for a pair of games.  UBC can afford one loss in their final 6 games and still finish first but 2 losses would likely mean second.

#3 Cape Breton (15-6, 14-1) (LW: #5)  Winners of seven in a row and 15 of their past 16 games overall after starting 0-5 on the road, Capers are the hottest team in Canada this side of Carleton.  Athletic and aggressive, Capers have already all but locked up the #1 seed at the AUS tournament at the Halifax Metro Center in March.  This weekend's pair of games at Saint Mary's at the Tower in Halifax present the only real opportunity for a slip up that would only slightly open the window for either X or Dal to threaten. 

#4 Saskatchewan (21-4, 14-4) (LW: #4)   Followed up Friday's decisive loss to then-#3 Trinity Western with a gutsy come-from-behind effort on Saturday when their pair of veteran guards took over in the second half.  Friday's shellacking showed how vulnerable the Huskies can be when one or both of their guards are in foul trouble or injured.  Still, Saskatchewan played UBC and TWU even over 4 games, all played away from home and gets the nod over TWU in my opinion for the comeback win on the road.  Huskies have another tough encounter this coming weekend, hosting Alberta Golden Bears, newly elevated into the Top 10, for a pair at home in Saskatoon.

#5 Trinity Western (18-3, 17-3) (LW: #3)  Had a chance to put pressure on UBC to win out to finish first but could not contain Sask's guard tandem.  In the end, Spartans got their four most important and difficult games of the season (UBC and Saskatchewan) at home and could only go 1-3, necessitating this drop to fifth from third.  Still, TWU has a chance to finish first if they win out and UBC loses a pair.  Spartans finish their home schedule this weekend against Brandon before travelling to Winnipeg to face the improved and likely-playoff-bound Manitoba Bisons.

#6 Lakehead (18-9, 13-3) (LW: #8)   Winners of 7 of their last 8 games and coming off a sweep of then-#7 Windsor, the Thunderwolves have gained a strangle hold on first place in the OUA West with pairs of games remaining at Waterloo, home to Brock and at Western, all teams fighting for a playoff spot.  The Wolves are beginning to recapture their formula that resulted in last season's Nationals appearance:  fourth quarter magic with lock-down "d" and dead-eye three point shooting.  This is a deep group with several weapons and only a lack of size could be viewed as a possible weakness going forward.

#7 St. FX (21-5, 104) (LW: #6)  A disappointing road loss against a hungry and tenacious UNB team on Sunday necessitated the drop in ranking.  X-Men are fighting some injuries presently that has affected their depth and possibly not allowed Coach Steve Konchalski to be as aggressive defensively as he might like.  X's inside game offensively led by 6'9" Alberto Rodriquez has been inconsistent and the lack of double downs has made things more difficult for folks like 5'10" Christian T-Bear Upshaw from the perimeter.  X-Men look to take control of second place in the AUS as they travel to Halifax to meet third-place Dalhousie on Saturday.

#8 Windsor (13-7, 11-5) (LW: #7)  The Lancers have been reeling with losses in 4 of their last 6 games including 3 in a row - 2 coming this past weekend in the first place showdown at Lakehead.  However, 5 of the 6 games were away from the St. Denis Center, where Windsor plays 5 of their final six games including Saturday's first of two against Laurier Golden Hawks, their only competitor for second place and a first-round playoff bye.  Prior to that Windsor must host pesky Guelph, which has been one of the better defending teams in the division and usually plays the Lancers very tough.  6'3" Isaac Kuon has hit a shooting/scoring slump during the Lancers skid but 6'2" sophomore Enrico DeLoretto had a pair of strong offensive performances at Lakehead over the weekend.

#9 Alberta (15-7, 14-6) (LW: NR)  Winners of 5 in a row and 7 of their past 8, the young Bears are witnessing the rapid maturation of 6'8" Jordan Baker as a legitimate go-to leader in this only his second season.  With 6'4" Daniel Ferguson knocking shots down and the athletic depth Alberta possesses, Bears could be a sleeper team in Canada West although lack of a true point guard who can defend the ball and create in the half court may be the one piece required.  Bears get a chance to splash onto the national stage with a pair of games at Saskatchewan on the road this weekend.
#10 Laval (14-6, 8-2) (LW: #10) Laval continues to lead the QUBL and defeated a solid and improving McGill Redmen team by 6 in Ste. Foy on Friday night. The teams meet again on Friday in Montreal in a return engagement. 6'6" Etienne Labrecque has emerged as a third solid go-to force in Laval's offense.

Next CIS action goes Wednesday with one AUS games, Dalhousie at Acadia (Tigers have won both meetings this season including a league win at home in November) and three OUA West games including McMaster at Laurier (Mac won the first meeting), Guelph at Windsor (first of two meetings) and Brock at Western (Badgers won by 19 at home in January in the first meeting).


Bigtimer said...

Mark, I think you need to decide whether your rankings are "power" rankings (ie, based on recent performance) or actual rankings (ie, indicative of season-to-date with recent performance given priority) because, to me, your ranking of Alberta fits the former and those of X and Windsor, fit the latter. Meanwhile, Toronto has a huge week and they are nowhere to be found.

Sure, Alberta has won 7 of 8 - but against who?? We've seen the disparity between top and bottom in the west and other than Manitoba (not a bona fide contender), they've fed on the bottom to inflate their record. And the one that they did lose was to UFV - not a good one..

Windsor loses 4 of 6 and drops only 1 spot?! X loses to CBU at home and then can't beat UNB and drops only 1 spot? Did you not drop Toronto out of your top 10 for a similarly bad loss to a "hungry" team? (Toronto has, by the way, beaten both X and UNB, as I'm sure you know).

There is no need for Q representation in the top 10 just for the sake of it. Laval's RPI is god-awful (Toronto has, by the way, beaten every Q team they've played, as I'm sure you know). Meanwhile, Toronto is a top 10 RPI team and had 3 monstrous wins this week to create separation in the OUA East, including an OT win on the road and a comeback win against the unconscious Pasquales. They also have one of the best home records in the country. So whether you are power ranking or season ranking, I'd like to know why you don't think Toronto is a top 10 team. If they avenge the Queen's loss this weekend, then I would think they should be back in.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess Bigtimer. you're a "bigtime" U of T supporter, right?
It's hilarious how you see things through shades of blue.
You put down Alberta's recent win streak as just feeding off the bottom. I guess they were just "inflating their record" when they beat UBC, huh?
New let's look at Toronto's "huge" week with their three "monstrous" wins.
A three point win over LU.....very impressive.
The Pasquale Bros. may be unconscious but the rest of the Vees are apparently comatose. Laurentian was 6-5 on Jan 8, now they're 6-11.
And an OT win over 7-10 Ryerson...cool.
Nice to see Toronto beat York....more than half of the teams in the league do.
But didn't they punk Toronto right in their own gym?
Dude....let explain something to you.
They don't call it the OUA Least for nothing.
Every team, except Carleton and your team has a losing record in the east.
Toronto should be kicking serious ass, but they haven't.
They have been squeaking out wins in games that should have been over at half time.
You want to know why Toronto isn't ranked in EITHER top 10 poll?
It's simple....
When you lose by fourteen on your own floor to a 3-14 team like Queen's, then your ass is grass.
You're dissing Alberta for losing to UFV, yet losing to Queen's is no big deal?
Hell yeah, it IS a big deal and hell no,
"getting revenge" against a team you should have NEVER lost to in the first place ain't gonna put you back on the list...no way, no how.

Anonymous said...

Awesome response.
I was going to write virtually the same thing about Toronto, but I was beat to it!
No possible way Toronto deserves to be in the Top 10

Bigtimer said...

Haha, “anonymous”, yes I follow U of T because I live closest to that school and I watch their games. But I have no vested interest or emotional stake when it comes to whether they win or not so there’s not slant here. When was it that Alberta beat UBC? Oh yeah, only 2 months ago .. which is exactly my point about Alberta being ranked according to the “power” criteria. And you can get off the OUA Least .. while the last place team gives everyone a win, every other game is highly competitive, except for those with Carleton. Look at the records, spots 3-7 separated by a mere two games. This is not dissimilar to the OUA West where there is even more parity, and which is probably the best league top to bottom in the country, despite what records may suggest.
Mark also makes a point about X losing to a “hungry and tenacious” team in UNB. Well, let me tell you, Ryerson and Laurentian definitely fit that bill. Ryerson was on a 4 game winning streak, performing like the team they were touted to be in the pre-season, and playing a team they consider their rival in their house. They made a spirited comeback before falling short. Character win for the Blues. York didn’t play to their potential but they’ve had U of T’s number lately (the “punking” was last season, but if you want to talk about last season, how about that same York team also beating Carleton??) and they cause serious matchup problems in the frontcourt. But the Blues’ zone was energetic and active that night, which it definitely wasn’t against Queen’s. Queen’s, that hapless team BY RECORD, by the way, also pushed Carleton in Kingston, and was a hungry team that night as they were desperate to stay within playoff contention. They’re a tough group of kids who understand how to play and made their open shots and so, yes, they took it to Toronto that night. Laurentian is also a very physical team and was also desperate to break their losing streak, but Toronto was tougher (btw, there were also other contributors to that game other than the Pasquales – Serresse was also unconscious early and Sheldon was laying it up at the rim early too). So if we’re power ranking and talking about recent play, then Toronto has won 5 of 6, with their three consecutive wins being especially big as it has essentially clinched them a bye in the 1st round and home-court in the division semifinal with a chance to go to the OUA Final Four on the line. I already explained how bad Laval’s RPI is, and Alberta’s is also worse than U of T. Fine, Alberta has made a run lately and are going to truly be the darkhorse out west, but as Mark alludes to, why put them in the top 10 before they’ve proven themselves at Saskatchewan? I suppose you could say the same about U of T proving they don’t have any slippage. But you also claim that “Toronto should be kicking serious ass” .. this is totally untrue, not a soul in the world except the team itself, most likely, thought they would do anything in this supposed rebuilding year. That’s a pretty good story, so I wouldn’t hate nor would I accuse bias. The facts and the context, which you ignore or don’t know about, suggest that whether it’s a season-long criterion or one based on recent play, Toronto definitely deserves consideration for the top 10 this week and certainly if they beat Queen’s (and, of course, RMC), they’d have 5 wins in a row and should be right back in it, "power" ranking or not. If Alberta even splits at Sask I’d keep them there. In any case, I’m not really against Alberta being in it as much as I am Laval or even X (who Toronto beat, and who have remained in the rankings because they started so high but have been steadily dropping – how about a “power” ranking here?!). And, as I mentioned, Windsor should also be nearer to dropping out, as they have lost too many recently (“power” ranking?) to still be considered top 10 material, especially when they couldn’t even split in their biggest games of the year.

your gta bias is showing said...

Bigtimer, I've got a few things to disprove your "theory" about why Toronto is a top 10 team.

You want to point out their recent win streak. Lets take a look at their past 2 weeks of games, if you want to talk about "Power Rankings"

1) a 3 point win against 6th plce LU (6-11)

2) a 13 point win against 4th place York (8-9)

3) a 2 point win against 5th place Ryerson (7-10)

4) a 14 point loss to 7th place Queens (3-14)

The records for those 4 teams combined are 24-44.

So, in their past 4 games they are 3-1, with a plus minus of +4 against 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th place teams in the East.

Doesn't exactly sound like a top 10team to me (or any of the coaches who voted) You're trying very hard to make Ryerson and Laurentian sound like top tier teams, so Torontos wins look better - as well as trying to make Queens sound a lot better then they are, which is a 3-14 team. Just for fun, I looked up Queens record including exhibition games - they beat 1 win Bishops in OT, and overall have a record of 5 wins and 22 loses. And those 5 wins came against a very powerful line up that includes Bishops, Laurentian, Waterloo, RMC and Toronto.

You say the facts prove that Toronto deserves top 10 consideration - how on earth did you arrive at this!

Do you realize that Toronto does not have a win against a team over .500 since Nov 5th? So whether you want to talk "power rankings" or season long rankings, Toronto's body of work, both past and present fail to impress.

After saying all of that, I like U of T - great program, great coaching. But don't come on here and try to raise a stink because you see things through "blue coloured glasses". They simply aren't there yet.

Anonymous said...

It matters little whether Toronto is in the top 10 or not.
Rankings matter only for the purpose of awarding that precious at large wild card berth.
And Toronto doesn't figure to be in that race so for the Blues to qualify for nationals, they'll just have to play their way in.
That means holding serve on their home court and then winning that all important Wilson Cup semi.
Toronto will get the highest remaining seed in the Wilson Cup tournament qualifying game.
That could be Ottawa, Ryerson or York depending on how the QFs shake out.
So for Toronto to make nationals, they need two wins....quite doable because in that semi they'll won't be facing Carleton, which the OUA West #2 will be.