Holiday hoops: Taking stock

Observations on a weekend of following the holiday tournaments via the series of tubes (much obliged as always to, among others).

The best way to handle this seems to be a quick summary of who is up and who is down. Take it all with a grain of salt, though. The games don't count in the standings, everyone

  • Brock: Taking out No. 7 Calgary and No. 5 Brandon (who are also ranking 2-3 in the RPI) at the MTS Wesmen Classic in Winnipeg did wonders for the Badgers' reputation, especially since they did it away from home.

    The gunners from the Garden City have added a rebounder, Mike Muir, to a group that has three fifth-year seniors. Fifth-year guards Brad Rootes' and Scott Murray's shooting percentages are each down from last season, so the glass-half-full prediction is that they're likely to find their form in the new year.

    The name that also seems to pop up time and again is 6-foot-7 forward Owen White, who had 20 points Friday vs. Brandon. White is a third-year guy, and it's often in the third year that the light goes on for a player.

    The Badgers enter the second half a game behind OUA West-leading Guelph, whom they face Jan. 12.
  • Islam Luiz de Toledo/St. Francis Xavier: St. FX's Brazilian rookie has been covered here previously, but it bears noting: 30 points and 12 rebounds vs. Dalhousie en route to helping the X-Men capture the Rod Shoveller tournament in Halifax. The young X-Men beat Ottawa 84-72 in the final on Sunday, which is about a 30-point turnaround from their previous meeting in the nation's capital.
  • Western: Keenan who? The Mustangs went deep into their bench in winning the Ed DeArmon tourney in Toronto, where Brad Campbell's team beat Toronto (now 15-5 on the year) in the championship game.
  • Victoria: The Vikes, who are considered the surprise team in Canada West, delivered a surprise in the American Southwest by knocking off Trevecca (Ariz.) Nazarene, the No. 7-ranked team in the NAIA on Saturday. Forward Mike Hull had an 18-point outing in the 74-72 win.
  • The Halifax Daily News actually referred to "ninth-ranked" Ottawa on Sunday. Of course, the Gee-Gees aren't ranked in the official CIS poll, but Mark Wacyk has them at No. 9. So does this mean his rankings should be treated as official?


  • Ottawa: Losing to St. FX on Sunday sort of puts the Gee-Gees' wins over Concordia and Saint Mary's in a new light; they could have closed out either team much sooner. Chad Lucas of the Halifax Herald took in the Ottawa-Saint Mary's game and noted the Gee-Gees, who were up 11 by with 2:45 left and won by just a point, "don't handle pressure well." Carleton and U of T in the OUA East know something about bringing defensive pressure. Bottom line: It was a good weekend for Ottawa, but it could have been great.
  • Acadia: The Axemen showed something with a bounce-back win over Brandon on Saturday. Then Les Berry's team had a minor meltdown in the fifth-place game of the MTS Wesmen Classic, throwing the ball away twice late in the regulation in an eventual overtime loss to Manitoba Bisons. No offence to the Bisons, who came into the tournament 2-13 (albeit with several close losses), but that was totally unexpected.
  • Calgary: One game never proves a whole lot, especially since Calgary had a look at a tying three-pointer in the final seconds of its loss to Brock. Let's write this off to the fact the Dinos, as a group playing together, still have to do some growing. When they are together, look out.
  • Brandon: The lads from The Scrum have the full post-mortem on the Bobcats losing back-to-back games out in Winnipeg; apparently there was a 76-minute post-game meeting after the Acadia game. Yikes. The good news: It's almost two months to the post-season.
  • Concordia: This isn't a comment on the Stingers' merits. It should be noted that Dwayne Buckley, who by all accounts is a big part of their team, might have re-aggravated an injury in the overtime loss to Ottawa on Saturday.
  • A certain someone's alma mater: Actually, Queen's (10-6) losing to Western and Laval at the Ed DeArmon tournament in Toronto can be rationalized. Both games were close. The Gaels were playing a good Western team for the third time in less than two months. Laval's big man, J.P. Morin, who had 40 points in the Rouge et Or's 93-86 win on Saturday, is a beast. Queen's is young and doesn't have a lot of size.

Again, that's just a cursory look... would love to be out at some games.

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