In conjunction with Martin Timmerman over at usportshoops.ca, CUSN’s poll voters consists of 13 media members scattered throughout the four conferences of differing ages and affiliations. The panel members are (with Twitter handles if applicable):
1. Jordan Henry – @Jor_Henry
2. Mitch Robson – @_mitchrobson
3. Spencer Murdock – @SpencerMurdock
4. Ryan Sura – @RyanSura18
5. Mark Wacyk – @cishoops
6. Mike Still – @mikestill94
7. Neate Sager – @n8sager
8. Satbir Singh – @SatbirSingh_
9. Brian Swane – @BrianSwane
10. Allan April – @allan_april
11. Martin Timmerman – @martintimmerman
12. Julian McKenzie – @jkamckenzie
Two columns in two weeks for myself, who woulda thought!? Riding high off my Eagles Super Bowl win, here are the power rankings for this week with tidbits on what I saw out of these teams this weekend:
#1 – Carleton Ravens (25-0 Overall, 19-0 OUA)
Last Week’s Ranking: #1
Past Week Results: 67-56 W vs. Ottawa
While calling the Ryerson game on Friday night and scoreboard watching another edition of the Capital Hoops Classic, I couldn’t help but notice Ottawa was leading after the 1st, and had held the Ravens to a season low 12 points in the opening frame. Carleton came out firing in the 2nd quarter as they went into the half on an extended 23-12 run, and eventually held serve in the 2nd half, holding the Gee-Gees to just 6 made field goals over the final 20 minutes of basketball.
Although it’s impossible to say there is an exact recipe to clip the wings of the Ravens, the Gee-Gees showed some things that just might work: Limit them to under 70 FGA, run them off the 3 point line and contest hard at all costs, and attack their guards and hope to god two or more get in foul trouble.
#2 – Alberta Golden Bears (23-1 Overall, 19-1 Canada West)
Last Week Ranking: #2
Past Week Results: 93-88, 97-96 W’s @ Lethbridge
The toughest stretch of the Golden Bears season began this weekend on the road at Lethbridge before a bye and playoff time, where Alberta pulled out two massive wins to prove that they are undoubtedly the top dog in the West.
In what was one of the games in the year in university basketball on Saturday night, Mamadou Gueye took it himself, catching a pass at the top of the key, putting on a spin move with a power dribble and hitting a teardrop of a floater over top of multiple defenders to seal the one point win for Alberta. It was exactly the type of play the team needs out of him in the playoffs and if they get as far as the Final 8, someone to lean on should they get in another one possession game like they had last year in a two point loss against the Dal Tigers.
They head into the playoffs as the #1 seed, and if chalk holds will face the #4 seed….Lethbridge Pronghorns in the semi finals. Buckle up.
#3 – Brock Badgers (21-2 Overall, 18-2 OUA)
Last Week Ranking: #3
Past Week Results: 73-69 W @ Laurier, 100-78 W @ Waterloo
Brock once again flirted with disaster on Wednesday against Golden Hawks, in another hack-athon which saw 44 fouls called combined. Dani Elgadi bailed the team out with Cassidy Ryan struggling, as he put up a monster line of 24 points on 12 shots, as well as seven boards and five assists.
With another victory that was far too close considering the competition, Charles Kissi had a motivational tactic for game prep against Waterloo, as the Badgers returned to the same building and blitzed the Warriors by 20+. Cassidy Ryan and Elgadi combined for over 50 points in that one, and they’ll need that type of production out of the two big men if they want to finally break through and reach the Final 8 with this group.
#T4 – Calgary Dinos (21-5 Overall, 16-4 Canada West)
Last Week Ranking: #5
Past Week Results: 94-68 W vs. Mount Royal, 79-65 W @ Mount Royal
The Dinos move back into our #4 spot as they swept the crosstown home and home with the Cougars in large part to their ability in keeping Mount Royal star Josh Ross from having a major impact in both games.
He was held to 8-23 shooting and more importantly forced into 12 turnovers during the series. Calgary will need to keep the defensive intensity ratcheted up to ensure they get back to another Canada West title game.
#T4 – UBC Thunderbirds (22-3 Overall, 17-3 Canada West)
Last Week Ranking: #6
Past Week Results: 95-69 W @ Victoria, 109-68 W vs. Victoria
UBC hops up two spots into a tie with the Dinos after they demolition of the Vikes in a home and home with Victoria this weekend and in very similar fashion to Calgary, they kept Mason Loewen and Scott Kellum from having a major impact on either game.
The Thunderbirds will be on bye this weekend, and hope to buck the trend of the past two seasons – taking an upset in the playoffs before the Canada West Finals.
#6 – Laurentian Voyageurs (20-3 Overall, 16-3 OUA)
Last Week Ranking: #4
Past Week Results: 82-72 W @ Nipissing, 101-96 L vs. Nipissing
In what was the series of the week in the OUA, the two northern foes each earned win on the opponents floor, and Laurentian gave up 90+ points for the first time this season as the Lakers shot over 50% from the floor and were able to get Kadre Gray’s running mates of Nelson Yengue and David Aromolaran in foul trouble.
The Vees have been the story of the season in U SPORTS, as they were solid but no better than average in Kadre Gray’s sensational freshman season last year. With much of the same cast of characters returning, the expectation was for them to become maybe a 1st or 2nd round playoff team, but were on quite the streak and have hung in the top five nationally for most of the season. With three of their next four against Carleton, Ottawa and Ryerson, what looked like a surefire 2nd place finish and bye in the OUA East playoffs is suddenly in danger, and even though Gray leads the OUA in minutes played, points per games, assists and is top ten in rebounding, they will need the bigs on the roster to lend a helping hand to Gray, Aromolaran and Yengue.
Perhaps Josis Thomas is that guy, as he popped off for 16 points on 7-9 from the floor and can stretch the floor at the four or five spot for Shawn Sword’s group.
#7 – Dalhousie Tigers (22-4 Overall, 12-3 AUS)
Last Week Ranking: #7
Past Week Results: 97-63 W @ Cape Breton
Not much to say about Dal this week, as they went to Sydney and blitzed Cape Breton without much of a problem. After another one game week with the Capers coming into Halifax, a massive two game set between the Tigers and Acadia in a home and home on the 15th and 17th very well could determine first place in the AUS.
#T8 Ottawa Gee-Gees (20-7 Overall, 13-6 OUA)
Last Week Ranking: #9
Past Week Results: 67-56 L vs. Carleton
James Derouin’s squad nearly emerged with a heck of a win at the Canadian Tire Centre before running out of gas, unable to mount a fourth quarter comeback against the Ravens as they mustered only 8 points in the frame.
On the flip side, Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles continued his solid streak at the free throw line, going 7-9, and nearly recorded a double-double. As a team they did a solid job not getting jumper happy from distance and trying to consistently pound the ball inside, which they will NEED to do if they want a chance to make it to the OUA title game.
#T8 – McGill Redmen (15-4 Overall, 10-2 RSEQ)
Last Week Ranking: Unranked
Past Week Results: 103-81 W vs. Laval, 68-61 W @ Laval
In and out of our rankings a bunch this season due to the relatively weak competition they face in the RSEQ and a few bad losses to boot, the Redmen showed this week their ability to excel in different kinds of games in a shootout at home and then grinding one out on the road against the Rouge et Or.
When Dele Ogundokun is clicking like he was in the home win (with a line of 20-7-4) defences having to key in on him and try to stop his penetration and creation allow others to get themselves going offensively, as a guy like Noah Daoust can come off the bench and drop 24 points in 25 minutes.
When a game gets ugly and the shots aren’t dropping as they were in Quebec City, this team can dig in and get stops en masse, as they limited Laval to just 21 field goals and 32.8% from the floor, as well as not allowing them to top 20 points in a quarter. With the versatility and pieces on this roster, another run to the semi-finals of the tournament is well within reach, and even an outside shot at a title game appearance could be in the cards.
#10 – Ryerson Rams (15-8 Overall, 13-6 OUA)
Last Week: 10
Past Week Results: 96-76 W vs. Toronto
Have the Rams finally turned the corner offensively? For the first time this season they shot greater than 50% from the floor and hit 40% from long range – much closer stats to last season’s #1 seed then the major struggle it’s been this season.
Roshane Roberts broke out from his season long slump beyond the arc, going a blistering 7-8 from three point range and scoring a game high 25 points. JV Mukama also had another double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. With Manny Diressa held relatively in check by the Blues defence, the supporting cast finally showed up for a full 40 minutes, and this team is rounding into form at just the right time.