Nos. 5 through 10, Concordia, Guelph, Ottawa, Brandon, Alberta and Cape Breton each lost (of course, the No. 8 Bobcats also beat No. 2 UBC, as the RPI anticipated). This validates the objections some had when the poll came out last Tuesday. It's either that or regular-season hoops is totally random, unless you look down at the front of your jersey and it says CARLETON.
It's getting harder to hide that Calgary is the No. 2 team in the country than it was for Alison Scott to conceal her pregnancy by the third reel of Knocked Up. UBC, who currently holds that slot, was without scoring ace Chris Dyck for much of their home loss to Brandon.
Two teams will have to be nudged out to make room for the U of T Varsity Blues, who won at home over Ottawa on Saturday night as well as the Victoria Vikes, now 12-4 in Canada West after their five-point win over Brandon. Concordia doesn't belong, certainly not any higher than No. 10, but there's the "three-spot-drop" rule to worry about.
Obviously, some of those teams are going to stay. Coach Dave DeAveiro's Gee-Gees, who lost by six points at Toronto and Don Horwood's U of A Golden Bears, who lost by seven at Manitoba (Alberta was 71% on threes, but 68% on ones and 38% on twos), as well as Brandon each took a very good RPI this weekend.
Here's a quick How They Fared from the weekend:
- Carleton (beat U of T and Ryerson): Early in the season yours truly e-mailed to one of the basketball writers at a Toronto daily, telling them that given all the ink spilled over U of T's epic football losing streak, it would only be fair if the successful hoops team Mike Katz has built got more media coverage. It was hard not to imagine the same writer coming away from Friday's foul-filled Carleton-U of T game (as per cishoops.ca's description) saying, "This is why people don't bother with Canadian university basketball." It was a whistlefest.
Carleton has clear sailing straight through to the Jan. 26 Capital Hoops Classic vs. Ottawa at Scotiabank Place (unless Queen's has ideas about pulling a Grand Fenwick the night before).
- UBC (beat Simon Fraser and Regina, lost to Brandon): The benefit of the doubt extended to the T-Birds for losing at home to Brandon is just a matter of degree. Does not having Dyck (jumper's knee), who's not a big-time rebounder, excuse getting pounded on the boards?
The T-Birds face a fun week with a return game vs. the Clan and a game against UVic on Friday with first place in the division up for grabs.
- Acadia (beat UNB twice): Next weekend's game to circle in the AUS is the Axemen at home vs. Cape Breton on Sunday afternoon. Leonel Saintil, a grad of Ecole Secondaire Publique Louis-Riel in Ottawa, is the runaway conference player of the year.
- Calgary (swept Lethbridge): Get ready for a new No. 2. The Dinos deserve it based on their body of work. A trip to Brandon looms next weekend.
- Concordia (lost by 23 to Laval, only game): The Scrum says, -- "Take Concordia out of the Top 10 already." The kindest comment about the Quebec loop is that their conference playoffs will be the most unpredictable by far, since someone's going to win. For what it's worth, Bishop's students are most likely to make a weekend in Ottawa out of a Final 8 trip.
- Guelph (lost to McMaster and Brock): The Gryphons, like the team ahead of them, are deep in the January blahs, even though it's been unseasonably mild in Ontario. Big Man on Campus notes that Nick Pancherican and Jonathan Moscatelli each missed Saturday's 87-79 loss vs. Brock.
- Ottawa (beat Ryerson, lost to Toronto): There's been enough subtle hints that the Gee-Gees were cruisin' for a bruisin' like Saturday's 71-65 at Toronto. Josh Gibson-Bascombe was put through the ringer and scored just seven points in his hometown.
- Brandon (beat UBC, lost to UVic): A season of following the Raptors is enough to create a new appreciation of the concept of cresting. By January, a team is what it is, no coulda-woulda-shoulda. It's arguable that the Bobcats have settled into being on the second level of the pantheon, although Dany Charlery did have a good look at a three-pointer to take the lead in the final seconds of the 65-60 loss to Victoria. Brandon is going to be heard from in late February and March.
- Alberta (beat Winnipeg, lost to Manitoba): The Golden Bears will probably drop out, although their RPI and recent win over Calgary suggests they should still be ranked.
- Cape Breton (beat St. FX, lost at Dal): Rookie point guard Tremaine Fraser had a big night in the win over the X-Men, setting up a first-place showdown next week vs. Acadia. Coach Jim Charters' Capers might fall out of the Top 10 in the wake of their three-point loss to Dalhousie, though.
- Newcomers: Toronto and Victoria
- Should be stepping out: Concordia (which won't), Cape Breton (which has a stronger case to stay)
- Getting warmer: Brock
- Sorting out the OUA West: Lakehead will have so much sway over the standings that we could save time by simply asking Thunderwolves coach Scott Morrison to pull playoff matchups out of a hat.
The Thunderwolves (6-6, after being 1-21 last season) have two-game series left vs. Brock, Guelph and Windsor, the trio tied for first. They will host McMaster and Western, two traditionally strong teams each at risk of missing of the post-season.