Basketball: Opening tip '09-10 ... The Road to Kanata

Canada West tips off conference play this weekend, so it's time to step to it and offer capsules on some of the prospective top teams in men's basketball.

The whole exercise, as Rob Pettapiece says, is more of a framework for discussion than predictions on which seven teams join host Carleton at the CIS Final 8 in Ottawa in March.

The Pettapiecian calculations are based on each team's final RPI from last season and how much (how little is more accurate) scoring and minutes played it has to replace from 2008-09. It's a mix of Moneyball and the widely held belief there is intangible value in how much a team's players have played together. Most of Carleton's national championship teams have had core players whose time together playing for Dave Smart predated their arrival in university, plus they were efficient players. Brock's 2008 national championship team, with six fifth-year seniors, was another classic example of chemistry perhaps trumping the math (they had a negative rebounding margin going into the Final 8).

There is limited marginal benefit to doing a Top 25 instead of a Top 20, but there are a few "wild cards" who should be tossed into the mix. Trinity Western has all those transfers, such as Tyrell Mara, who go back a long way with Spartans coach Scott Allen. The Saskatchewan Huskies, with a Moser Award shortlister in shooting guard Showron Glover, merit watching. In the OUA, Western turned over almost its whole starting five from last season's team which came within four seconds and change of playing in the national final.

Anyway, we salaam to when it comes to basketball, but please keep checking for capsules over the next 24, 48, 72 hours or beyond.
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