The great Canada West tradition of starting a week early continues in basketball, with 12 of 14 teams playing their season opener tonight. (Brandon and Regina are the slackers.) Everyone else appears to start next week sometime.
Saskatchewan is probably the team to watch this weekend, as they host UBC and UVic tonight and tomorrow. The Huskies were good, albeit overmatched at the nationals last year (which they hosted), but they're set up well for success this year.
During the season, we'll track the top 10 teams as per the official CIS poll, but I'm pretty sure they haven't put one out yet. Here's my attempt at one:
1. Simon Fraser
6. Cape Breton
Some comments: the Clan's depth keeps them at the top despite one graduation and one bad back. UBC has the potential to stay in the top 5, but may fall if their losses are too much to overcome. And Dalhousie looks really good on paper, which is what the pre-season is all about.
Also, now's as good a time as any to bust out the season predictions, which are below. They're roughly based on three-year performance, the loss of ineligible players, and several wild guesses, with Bayes' theorem thrown in for good measure. Please, no wagering.
42 Cape Breton
21 Saint Mary's
21-2 Simon Fraser
9-14 Fraser Valley
8-15 Trinity Western
4-19 Thompson Rivers