Sunday, 1 January 2012

First Look at League Play this week

Canada West - Final Four Preview this weekend ?:  It is a case of jumping right into the fire for both the Alberta Golden Bears and Saskatchewan Huskies as both embark on likely the most difficult and important road trip of their seasons, each with single-game visits to UBC and Victoria this weekend (Friday/Saturday).  With all due respect to several other Canada West programs, many believe these are the four top teams in Canada West this season and this weekend shapes up as another great showcase for CW basketball.  Calgary and Lethbridge also venture out to B.C. with single games each against Fraser Valley and Trinity Western.  Thompson Rivers and UBC-O also host Winnipeg and Manitoba.  Basically, all B.C.-based teams have two home games this coming weekend - the scheduling  wisdom of which some may question as there will be six CIS men's basketball games over two nights in the Vancouver area.  Where does the unaffiliated, Vancouver-area fan looking to watch live CIS men's basketball focus ?  In one other weekend match up of East Division teams, Regina Cougars travel to Brandon for a pair of games against the Bobcats in what in year's past has been a tremendous CIS rivalry.

OUA West:  The West dominated OUA interlock play in the first half and this Wednesday teams begin the head-to-head games within the division, highlighted by the first of two cross-town rivalry games between Waterloo and Laurier with the nationally-ranked Hawks hosting.  Laurier also gets Brock at home on Saturday afternoon.  Windsor Lancers also begin the second half with a pair of home games Wednesday vs. Mac and Saturday night vs. Guelph, a team that has always played the Lancers very tough.  Western Mustangs travel to Thunder Bay on the weekend for a pair of games against #3 Lakehead.

OUA East:   Games in Kingston, Toronto and Sudbury this weekend with #1 Carleton Ravens visiting York on Friday night.  The Lions have been one of the very small handful of teams that has defeated the Ravens more than once over the last decade or so.  However, York (0-8) is struggling this season.  Ottawa travels to Laurentian and then the Ravens and Gee-Gees cross each other on the highway, cross-crossing for games the following night.  Ryerson and Toronto travel to Kingston to face Queen's and RMC.  

Quebec:  In a creative and wise scheduling shift, the Q has several Thursday night games slated this season, usually involving Montreal teams.  This Thursday, Concordia travels to UQAM, allowing some degree of focus for fans in Quebec and across the country.  Scheduling wisely in this manner gives the Citadins some time to recover and prepare to play Bishop's at home on Saturday night, ensuring fans get a reasonably well-rested and re-focused effort - applaud the foresight the Q had in making these small but effective scheduling tweaks.  McGill also travels to Laval on Friday night as Rouge et Or, fresh off their RNIT championship game appearance, try to avenge a decisive loss to the Redmen in November in Montreal.

AUS:  Plenty of AUS action beginning Thursday and continuing right through to Sunday afternoon starting with Cape Breton's visit to Wolfville to face the Axemen (Thurs. at 8 PM AT).  St. FX X-Men, fresh off their Shoveller championship, greet UNB Varsity Reds for a pair of games in Antigonish on Friday and Saturday.  The Reds were competitive at Classique des Citadins, taking McGill to triple overtime in one of the games.  The improving Dal Tigers travel to St. John's, NFLD for a pair of games at Memorial.  The Sea-hawks participated in the RNIT in Toronto this past week.  Finally, Saturday and Sunday, Saint Mary's gets a shot at redemption against UPEI with a pair of home games at the Tower after the Panthers swept the Huskies in Charlottetown in November.

Stay tuned for more as the games draw nearer.

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