Hoops digest: Going coast-to-coast

With all five conferences resuming play this weekend, here's a short survey of how it went down:
  • Atlantic: Acadia and Cape Breton remain the only one-loss teams in the conference entering the Capers' game vs. P.E.I. today.

    The Axemen, who got a combined 55 points from Leonel Saintil and Shawn Berry in Friday's road win over Saint Mary's, have a trip to winless UNB coming up, so they are in the driver's seat to move into first place.

    The Halifax Herald's Chad Lucas has an odd note from that Acadia-SMU game:

    I'm almost certain Acadia got credit for an extra point in the fourth quarter. Leonel Saintil went to the line with the Axemen up 72-68, he hit one of two but I looked up and the score was 74-68. If a mistake was made somewhere, it's potentially a huge one: SMU beat Acadia by six points in the season opener, so if they really only lost by five tonight they should own a potential tiebreaker over Acadia.
    The Capers (14-4, 7-1 AUS) and freshman point guard Tremaine Fraser will be trying to win at St. FX for the second time this season. Steve Konchalski has brought the X-Men (5-2 in the conference) have come a long way since November, though.
  • Quebec: Concordia's foes are smelling a little blood in the water after McGill's Norman conquest of the Stingers on Saturday. The Redmen beat Concordia 77-76, their first win over their cross-town rivals under coach Craig Norman and first since 2002-03.

    It would be hasty to say the Quebec race has been thrown wide open. The Stingers are missing guard Dwayne Buckley and while they've split their past four games, the two losses were by a combined five points. Regardless, Bishop's (Junior Nicolas), Laval (J.P. Morin) and McGill (Sean Anthony and Moustafa El Zanaty, who had 20 vs. Concordia) each have a scorer who can take over for long stretches. That can be dangerous on any given night.
  • OUA East: It was kind of a dry weekend, but don't fret. Carleton and Ottawa, ranked Nos. 1 and 3 in the RPI, each travel to Toronto next weekend.

    The Varsity Blues at home are a tough matchup for the Gee-Gees. Toronto would need to keep the score down, but they have more than a fair shot.
  • OUA West: Take an all-things-considered approach to Guelph's 86-84 win over Windsor. The Gryphons were full value for the victory, but the country's top three-point shooting team did go a gaudy 18-for-36 from downtown (including 5-of-6 from Jay Mott). That kind of proficiency isn't sustainable, but to their credit, the Gryphons did it without one of their best shooters, Jonathan Moscatelli, who's expected to be back next week.

    Windsor was perfect from the foul line, was almost turnover-free and had a 41-35 edge on the boards. Yet they lost, which is pretty damning. Guelph was up double digits much of the way. Coach Chris Oliver's Lancers now need some road wins to get back in the race.

    Guelph is now two games clear of the pack heading into next weekend, where they'll face Brock on Saturday afternoon.

    Coaches and fans on this side of the OUA must be wondering whether there should be a cross-over playoff format similar to the CFL's. The worst record in the OUA West is 4-5. Meantime, in the East, York and Laurentian, both 1-9, are tied for the final playoff spot.

    Prediction: It will become an issue if Western is in danger of missing the playoffs.
  • Canada West: Calgary came back on Saturday to earn a split of a road series vs. Alberta, which might have effectively decided first place in the Central Division five weeks early.

    The glass-half-full outlook for the Golden Bears: Their primary scorer Alex Steele had a tough night (6-of-16) in Saturday's 98-87 loss and they do have a win over Calgary to their name. The Dinos, though, control their own destiny for playoff positioning.

    The other division leaders, Brandon and UBC, got through the weekend with little difficulty.

    Tip of the cap goes Trinity Western, which upset UVic 66-64 on Friday night. (Thanks for the catch, vigilant readers; someone needs to get to bed earlier... it wasn't Thompson Rivers.)
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