Five to Ponder: They beastin' ... their way up the strength-of-schedule rankings

A couple of big hoops matchups highlight this weekend's ponder-worthy games ...

1. Saskatchewan 91-101 at Trinity Western 102-93 (men's basketball)

The Huskies haven't played an above-.500 team since October, so winning 10 in a row is not as impressive as it sounds. Certainly not after going down 59-42 at the half on Friday, and losing by 11. This is not altogether unexpected (the U of S has the lowest strength-of-schedule in the country, so they may not be on the Spartans' level) but I'll still go with a split as the most likely outcome here.

And what do you know, that's just what happened. Both games were covered by Howard Tsumura (Friday, Saturday). Game 2 saw just as much offence as Game 1, but this time the Huskies came out on top: Rejean Chabot scored 35 on 19 shots and Jamelle Barrett scored 31 on 22 (10 coming on free throws). Watching those two play it's a shock when they don't score 30.

2. Windsor 65-66 at Lakehead 73-77 (men's basketball)

The GGOD[T]s came away with a win on Friday, effectively shutting down Isaac Kuon (6 for 25) and overcoming an eight-point deficit in the fourth. Curiously, Lakehead only went to the line once (Venzal Russell hit both). Saturday was a repeat: another nothing night for Kuon (1-14!), and Monty Hardware was similarly stumped (1-13). Lakehead overcame a 10-point deficit.

3. StFX 2 at SMU 0 (men's hockey)

Two top-five teams in the RPI sure don't face off every week. Our David Kilfoil put it thusly: "I think Friday's StFX at SMU is HUGE! The X-Men rode their goaltender [Wednesday] night, and the Huskies goalie was not great (when have we seen that movie before ...), so now when they meet on Friday a win could put X in a multi-team tie for second place."

Dave says below, "SMU lost 2-0, while reportedly outplaying the X-Men. Going 0-for-5 on the PP doesn't help." Another bad case of "five something in a row" comes in the L column: this is the Huskies' fifth loss in five games, all of which came in regulation. But who's counting?

4. Laurier 2 at Brock 3 (women's hockey)

Brock did win this one as I kind of predicted, even if I forgot that Liz Knox was off in Turkey (at a university sporting event even I can't bring myself to follow). The game-winner came from Maja Samborski on the powerplay with three minutes left in the third.

5. Toronto 1 at RMC 3 (women's volleyball)

Everyone's favourite 5-9 women's volleyball team has won another swing game, this one against U of T, whom they now lead by one game, with two in hand, for the last playoff spot in the OUA East. The CIS Blog Research Group will have to determine the last time an RMC team made OUA playoffs.
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  1. Uh oh. SMU lost 2-0, while reportedly outplaying the X-Men. Going 0-for-5 on the PP doesn't help. Now there are four teams tied for second place behind UNB! Tonight might break that log jam, as UNB is at UPEI, Acadia is at StFX, and SMU hosts Dal.

  2. Worth pointing out: Ryerson coach Roy Rana calls York "arguably the most talented team in the conference." Not the undefeated team, but the 7-9 team, with whom his Rams are basically tied in the RPI. Interesting...

  3. The only team I've seen that was more impressive than this year's Spartan team was last year's Huskies team.

    Jacob Doerksen with 21 points last night (actually below his season average) but he has to be the only thing moving my MUBL team right now.

  4. Looks like Roy is quickly learning to spin things the old college way. The only way York is arguably the most talented team in the conference is if the Ravens have bolted for the western conference.

  5. Frequent comments are made about the weak schedule the Huskies have played. I can't argue that much...although they don't control their CanWest schedule. But one thing that deserves mentioning is that they have beat both UBC and TWU on the road. Who else has a better pair of road wins this season?

    I'll add that with 3 wins over UBC since the CanWest final 4 last year, 2 of which were in UBC's gym, the T"Birds would probably rather see a different team in their path at the CIS championships.

  6. @Vic ... it's not about diminishing the Huskies' achievements. It's about attempting to convince people, gently, that maybe 13-3 (now 14-4) isn't what it seems, especially for a team that ran up a 10-game winning streak against teams that are now a mighty 24-70 in conference play.

    Barrett and Chabot might be the toughest 1-2 to stop in the country, and the Huskies are certainly one of the best teams in CIS, but as long as we have an at-large berth at the Final 8, and as long as the decision to award that berth is made (in part) on W-L record and number of weeks in the coaches' Top 10, it's worthwhile debating what those things mean.

  7. Does the rpi differentiate between a win on the road as opposed to a win at home?

  8. I believe it gives more weight to a road win.

  9. It does. This (and more) is explained, hopefully clearly, on the "Explanations" tab in the RPI I provide.