Basketball: A look at the QUBL, part one (men's)

Last season, the Quebec conference was very close, mostly due to a home-and-home schedule which had very few sweeps, and the splits led to a very tight conference both on the men's and women's side.

This year, the schedule is no longer that format, but after the first weekend of games in 2010, it doesn't look like there will be any teams running away with the conference, which while exciting for the fans of conference play will not have any of the teams climbing the National rankings.

First, we'll take a look at the men's side where it's tight at the top like last year. Laval (21st nationwide in RPI) and UQAM (24th) are tied at the top with matching 5-1 records (their losses coming against each other as they have split their two games so far).

Then, you have the other three teams tied with four points each, with Bishop's at 2-4 (35th in RPI) and McGill (36th) and Concordia (27th) both at 2-5.

UQAM's play so far shouldn't surprise anyone. They had a very talented, young team last year and took a much more experienced Concordia team to the brink in the Quebec final.

Led by Adil El-Makssoud, Arthaud Plesius, Gregory St-Amand, Thierry Justin and Eric Cote-Kougnima the team is very talented. Jules Diagne is probably the best sixth-man in the conference, and would be starting if he had been healthy over the summer. UQAM has the talent to make some noise. They finished 8-8 a year ago before beating Laval in the semi-final.

Laval is led by returning players Xavier Baribeau, J.F Beaulieu-Maheux and Etienne Labrecque who all average over 10 points per game. The Rouge et Or have a great amount of depth and balance. Eight players average 20 minutes or more, and a ninth, Richard-Kwaku Addai averages 5.5 points in 11.8 minutes.

Laval and UQAM still have two games remaining between each other, and if any team wins both that team would have to be the favourite to take the regular season title. A more experienced Laval team is poised to improve upon their 10-6, second place finish last year.

Bishop's missed the playoffs last season after finishing tied with McGill for essentially last place in the conference at 5-11. This year, however, led by rookies Oraine Green, Onnex Blackwood and fifth-year player Hermon Tesfaghebriel, the Gaiters are poised to return to the post-season.

Green and Blackwood average 14.5 and 13.8 points per game while Tesfaghebriel averages 12.8 points and 6.2 rebounds.

They have beaten both Concordia and McGill - the two teams tied with them at four points - have a game in hand, and brought Laval to the brink losing by only five.

Concordia is realizing what it's like to be rebuilding. In their first season without Damian and Dwayne Buckley as well as Jamal Gallier, the Stingers are battling for a playoff spot instead of first place.

The Stingers are being led by two returning players in Decee Krah and Evens Laroche. Laroche turned heads as a rookie last year and is now leading the conference in rebounding. He has also led the Stingers in scoring in four of their seven games.

Krah has taken his starting position to lead the Stingers with 13.8 points per game and newcomer Vali Lazarescu averages over 10 as well.

For the Redmen, Matthew Thornhill has established himself as one of the conference's top players, a reputation he started last year especially in the postseason when he played an outstanding game against Concordia in the semi-final.

Thornhill leads the conference in scoring at 18.2 points per game. Michael White also has over 12 points per game and made his presence known in that semi-final last year.

Pawel Herra
and Jesse Woods returned to bigger roles this year and Olivier Bouchard and Jeff Cumming have taken the job of distributor.

Later on this week, we'll take a look at the women's side of the Q.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


  1. Since both UQAM and Laval had good holidays tournament, I hope they finally get some credit and get in the CIS TOP 10.

    I think UQAM is now the top dog in the QSSF. They had a good tournament, at home, beating Brandon, (without Jules Diagne), Brock, but droping one game, to Waterloo. Then, in conference play, they built a 30+ points lead on Laval and Concordia (before slowing down in the end of both games).

  2. Sorry, but neither Laval nor UQAM merit top 10 inclusion.
    Laval has a 9-9 overall CIS record while UQAM is slightly better at 10-8.
    That pales considerably when compared to teams that are currently in the top 10.

    Top 10 teams and their league and overall records:

    1. UBC 9-0, 12-0
    2. Carleton 9-1,15-1
    3. St. Francis Xavier 6-0, 14-3
    4. Calgary 9-2, 12-2
    5. Cape Breton 6-1, 14-2
    6. McMaster, 5-5, 12-5
    7. Windsor 8-2, 10-3
    8. Toronto 6-4, 12-5
    9. Dalhousie 5-3, 13-6
    10. Lakehead 9-1, 13-2

    Even though Toronto, McMaster and Dalhousie have been slumping in league play lately, their overall records are still way better than either Laval or UQAM.
    If any of those three teams arwe to be replaced in the top 10, it'll like ly be Ottawa who are 8-2 in league play and 14-6 overall.
    Laval and UQAM just don't make the cut.

  3. Both teams are 7-2 overall since the start of the season (with Laval beating UQAM once and vice-versa).

    I can't believe people still look at pre-season games as a legit way to rank teams.

    Laval lost to Lakehead in late december.
    UQAM lost to Waterloo at home.

    While I agree they are not TOP 10 material yet, I don't think they are as far as people might think.

  4. "I still can't believe people still look at pre-season games as a legit way to rank teams." you have a better idea?
    Isn't the whole idea of inter-conference play is to give voters some reference point
    as to the relative strength of teams and conferences?
    How else can teams be ranked objectively?
    The fact that the QSSF hasn't fared particularly well in inter league play
    isn't the fault of the coaches voting.
    What other conclusions could they come to?
    If Laval or UQAM ran roughshod over their out of conference opponents we wouldn't be discussing this.

  5. True, the Q (but Laval and UQAM) is pretty weak this year.

    As for pre-season, you can't really judge on a game between backups. Pre-season is there to get ready, not to win, thinking you can get in the TOP 10 because of a win.

    Let's say a team loses by 30 in pre-season but wins by 5 in a holiday tournament, I would rank the 2nd winning team ahead (with similar records).

    But you are right, if Laval or UQAM ran the table in their out of conference opponents, they would be in the top 10. Then again, they did pretty well after the preseason.

    But I guess the Q will have to win another CIS championship to get credit again.

  6. You don't have to go too far back to find a team from the Q that did get credit.
    Concordia went into the 2007 national tournament ranked #1.
    The Stingers were 17-1 in league and playoff QSSF play and a solid 5-1 in non conference, including wins over UBC, Victoria and TWU in Victoria .
    That year, both Victoria and UBC were 20-3 in conference play and UBC were the #2 ranked team at nationals.
    Last year, Concordia was 20-6 overall, 14-4 in league play and playoffs and 5-0 in non conference.
    The Stingers were ranked in all 14 polls last year, as high #3 and as low as #9.
    This season, the two best teams in the Q are 9-15 combined in non conference play.

  7. I don't think you can treat October games like they didn't happen. Yes, the rotation goes deeper in October than it does in February, but teams are still looking to win. A win in October can be what gives or costs a team a wildcard berth. (This, of course, isn't an issue for the Q, which is generally a one-bid league.)

    Laval's performance in Winnipeg wasn't going to leapfrog anybody. The field wasn't strong, and they finished third.

    They beat Thompson Rivers (2-14 CIS, 1-9 CW) by 9. They lost to #10 Lakehead by 15. Then they beat Valley City State (who beat Manitoba by 2 and lost to Bishop's by 2) by 13. Laval's chance to get into the Top 10 was in the semi against Lakehead, and it wasn't close.

    UQAM's performance at their own tournament wasn't sufficient, either. They beat two sub-.500 teams (Brandon & Brock), and lost to Waterloo, who are 11-8 (6-4 OUA) and aren't in the Top 10.

    UQAM's awful October is going to haunt them all year. Their games against X, Ottawa, Mac and CBU were all chances to make their presence known. Three of those games were in Montreal, and UQAM didn't win any of them.

  8. UQAM is not a top tem team. I saw them go down by 30 in the fourth quarter against a week Waterloo team before feasting on the bench and bringing it to a respectible 8 point loss. If UQAM were in the OUA they would not even be in the playoffs.

  9. One of the anonymous : UQAM awful october will indeed haunt them. But while other teams had injuries, UQAM didn't have Adil El Makssoud (16 PPG last year) and Jules Diagne (13,6 PPG last year).

    UQAM got Makssoud back in the Cape Breton game (76-82 lost) with his 21 points in 15 mins performance, but didn't get Diagne (illness) back before the start of the season.

    To one of the other anonymous : Top teams like Concordia will indeed be ranked in the TOP 10. And with convincing wins like you said, they belong in the Top 3. However, rarely do we see 2 Q teams in the TOP 10. The problem is not the big powerhouse, but the 2nd teams. It's not unusual to see 2 or 3 teams from the AUS in the TOP 10 (5 teams in the Q vs 8 for the AUS).

    In the last poll (from DEC 1), we see Dalhousie ranked 9th. To me, the only reason why they are still in the TOP 10 is their great pre-season (7-1). Since then, they are 6-5 in CIS competition.

    When I see that, I still don't get that any Q team (or even Ottawa like someone said before) can't replace them in the TOP 10.

    Then again, those are just my thoughts. Feel free to discuss ;)

  10. During the 2004-05 season, both Concordia and Laval were ranked in the top 10 wire to wire.
    It wasn't hard to see why.
    Concordia was 15-1 in league play and 26-5 overall.
    Laval was 13-3 and 22-7 overall.
    Unfortunately, despite the fact a 10 team tournament format was being used, Laval was still overlooked.
    Instead 3 Canada West teams went as well as 4 OUA teams.
    What must have been particularly galling for Laval is the fact that the OUA got 4 berths.
    On that count, the Q had a legitimate beef.
    Really, the OUA had three teams with solid records make it but Ottawa stood out because of their overall mediocre record. At 12-10 and just 21-18 overall the Gee-Gees made it over Laval.
    That, I will concede, was very unfair.