How about Saskatchewan? The Huskies, with Michael Linklater (29 points, 13 assists) and Showron Glover (21 and eight dimes) leading the way, whipped No. 6 Calgary 96-83 to win the Canada West title.
Time will tell how much UBC rues its 104-87 OT loss to Saskatchewan on Friday.
Greg Jockims' Huskies had heroes all over the floor, including that big front line with Troy Gottselig (25 points, seven boards before fouling out) and Michael Lieffers (11 points, game-high 19 rebounds) that buttressed the work of backcourt running mates Showron Glover and Mike Linklater. Six-foot-four wing Duncan Jones, who if memory serves has had some injuries which have kept him off radar screens, seems to have been the X-factor with 24 points in 23 minutes off the bench.
Saskatchewan stayed within single digits of UBC during a November game there, but if someone had told you Glover would be held under 20 points (he had 16 and 11 assists), would you have given the Huskies much chance?
Those who were around for Justin McElroy's liveblog know it was a crazy game. Canada West player of the year Josh Whyte (15 points with a sore hammy) missed a free throw that would have put the T-Birds up one with 10 seconds left. At the other end, Sasky's Nolan Brudehl was fouled with less than a second left, but bricked both to send it to overtime.
One wonders why Saskatchewan, which had Jones take over in OT, rebounded from that better than UBC. The T-Birds, a 69.6 per cent time from the foul line, were also 24-of-41 (58.5 per cent), which was also inexplicable.
- UBC Thunderbirds (455) (17-1 CW Pacific, 3-1 playoffs, 1st in RPI through Friday) — Did what it needed to do with a 10-point win over Simon Fraser in the Canada West third-place game on Saturday.
Blain LaBranche (23 points on 9-of-16) had a bounce-back game (he was 4-of-19 on Friday, but the result meant no one on UBC was full marks).
It's rare to see the other team have more double-figure scorers than the T-Birds, who had just two to SFU's three.
- Carleton Ravens (419) (20-2 OUA-E, 2-0 playoffs, 2nd RPI) — Role reversal — defensive stopped Cole Hobin outscored Josh Gibson-Bascombe 25-17 — helped the defending champs roll past Ottawa 78-64 to win a fourth consecutive OUA East title.
It was a carbon copy of the regular-season games, Carleton assuming a healthy halftime lead and weathering the storm in the second half. Hobin and Kevin McCleery (20 points, 11 rebounds) were Carleton's offence through the first 15 minutes, scoring 24 of their first 26. The Ravens steadily pulled away — up one after a quarter, nine at halftime, as much as 21 in the third.
Warren Ward (20 points) and Josh Gibson-Bascombe (17) led an Ottawa charge which got them within eight early in the fourth quarter. However, Hobin hit a pocket three and Willy Manigat got a steal and layup to take the lead back out to 13, and that was the ball game.
Ottawa can play with Carleton. The Ravens simply don't make as many mistakes.
- St. Francis Xavier X-Men (375) (18-2 AUS, 5th RPI) — Lost 87-79 to Saint Mary's on Friday, which in one fell swoop gift-wrapped the AUS regular-season title for Cape Breton and made the loss to SMU a potential semifinal preview.
- Cape Breton Capers (326) (18-2 AUS, 9th RPI) — Beat UPEI 94-82 to finish in first place and have a more favourable draw at next week's AUS Final 6 in Sydney. The conference is likely to have only one team headed to the Final 8. (Thought: What if Simon Fraser upsets UBC? Do they go?)
- Ottawa Gee-Gees (316) (18-4 OUA-E, 1-1 playoffs, 6th RPI) — Face Lakehead in OUA third-place game on Saturday; they beat Thunderwolves by 37 in the regular season and were 18-4 to LU's 16-6.
- Calgary Dinos (274) (15-5 CW Prairie, 3-1 playoffs, 4th RPI) — Got a solid night from their bigs (23 from Ross Bekkering, 19 from Robbie Sihota), but had no answer for the Saskatchewan backcourt.
- Windsor Lancers (220) (17-5 OUA-W, 2-0 playoffs, 3rd RPI) — Isaac Kuon hooped 23 points to help Windsor cruise past Lakehead 87-66 in the OUA West final.
The Lancers had a 47-point first half and cruised home, with five players in double figures. The question is whether they have the savvy ball movement to slow down McCleery and the post presence to stop McCleery from going wild.
- Lakehead Thunderwolves (189) (17-5 OUA-W, 1-0 playoffs, 11th RPI) — Will face Ottawa in the OUA third-place game next Saturday
at the Thunderdome. Most people will probably throw their support to the Gee-Gees, based on how the first game went (93-56 for the Gee-Gees).
Cam Hornby had a team-high 15 for the 'Wolves on Saturday.
- Simon Fraser (145) (14-4 CW Pacific, 2-3 playoffs, 7th RPI) — Matt Kuzminski (22 points), among others, went out with heads held high in that 10-point loss to UBC.
- Saskatchewan Huskies (127) (14-6, 4-0 playoffs, 19th RPI) — As noted, they had the size to match Calgary's Bekkering, Sihota and Tyler Fidler, and their backcourt is quick and experienced.
Saskatchewan has won 14-of-15. They might be the hottest team in the country going into nationals.
- The ARV teams: Saint Mary's (42), Dalhousie (32), UQAM (20), McMaster (6), Laval (6).