Men's Basketball: National Top Ten Recap

While the heavy hitters rolled, a few teams at the bottom of the CIS top-10 stumbled and might be taking a little vacation for a week or two. Also, this week's National Top Ten Recap features a guest appearance from Toronto Raptors guard Sonny Weems, so that's cool, right?

#1 Carleton Ravens (2nd in RPI):

How's this for putting on a clinic? In their 111-63 win over Laurentian, the Ravens shot 61 per cent, won the rebounding battle 32-18, went 12-for-23 from beyond the arc and made just seven turnovers. The next night, they beat York 84-52, but only made 11 threes and shot just 44 per cent. Pathetic.

Next week: play Ottawa in the Capital Hoops Classic, then host RMC and Queen's.

#2 UBC Thunderbirds (3rd in RPI):

What the T-Birds did to the Brandon Bobcats this weekend was just mean. First, they cleaned up a 101-42 victory (including a 52-13 halftime lead), with the 59-point margin of victory being the largest of coach Kevin Hanson's career. Then they cruised to a 106-62 win the next night, once again taking a big lead early and cruising from there.

Next week: at Regina for two

#3 Saskatchewan Huskies (15th in RPI):

Whooped Thompson Rivers 101-76 in a game which could have been a lot worse (they led by 38 going into the fourth) on Friday, then did pretty much the same thing the next night in a 118-78 win. The duo of Rejean Chabot and Jamelle Barrett are getting tons of attention, and deservedly so; they're averaging more than 45 ppg between them. But you know what's crazy? Post Michael Lieffers is shooting almost 70 per cent from the field.

Next week: At Trinity Western for two huge away games.

#4 St. Francis Xavier X-Men (6th in RPI):

Took out their anger over Wednesday's heartbreaking loss to CBU by crushing hapless UNB 98-56. One nice thing about the blowout was that 7'2" gentle giant Riiny Ngot was able to make an impact, grabbing 12 boards in 16 minutes. If you're not familiar with Ngot's story, take a read here and here.

Next week: at Saint Mary's on Wednesday and then at UNB for two on the weekend.

#5 Trinity Western Spartans (4th in RPI):

Extended their team-record win streak to 14 games with two impressive road wins over Calgary. First, they won 96-87 despite some foul trouble and 20 turnovers, then won 92-77 after dominating the glass 45-31. Jacob Doerksen scored 51 points for the two games... yawn.

Next week: get a chance to prove they're for real, hosting Saskatchewan for two.

#6 Laval Rouge et Or (19th in RPI):

Just when it looked like the Rouge et Or were going to separate themselves as the top dogs of the QUBL, they dropped a stinker at home 93-73 to the UQAM Citadins (who then fell to McGill the next night). Still, they've faltered a little less frequently than their rivals and lead the division at 7-2.

Next week: host McGill on Friday.

#7 Windsor Lancers (8th in RPI):

Lost to Brock 62-60 after a botched play led to an over-and-back violation, setting up Jordan Johnson's winning layup for Brock. It's the second time in as many weeks some late-game miscues have cost the Lancers a chance to win, after an inbounds turnover led directly to their loss at McMaster. Isaac Kuon shot just 1/15 for five points against the Badgers. Earlier in the week, they held on to beat the struggling Western Mustangs 77-72.

Next week: will play Lakehead for first place in the OUA West.

#8 Cape Breton Capers (1st in RPI):

It's not often you post three wins over top-10 teams in one week. But that's exactly what the Capers did, following up their dramatic win over St. FX with two solid victories over Dalhousie. Paris Carter hit five threes in the first quarter of an 89-84 win on Saturday, and then led the way with 17 points and eight assists today in a 71-62 victory. That's a hell of a week.

Next week: host UPEI

#9 Concordia Stingers (14th in RPI):

Fell to the McGill Redmen for the second time lately, 67-65 on Friday night. Kyle Desmarais went just 6-for-13 from the charity stripe. Yikes.

T-#10 Toronto Varsity Blues (T-9th in RPI):

Came up empty at home against Queen's, falling 80-66. Maybe they were nervous trying to impress Sonny Weems, who took in his first CIS game. Apparently he wasn't impressed, as he left the gym at halftime. They managed to crush RMC the night before 117-44 thanks to nine threes from Arun Kumar.

T-#10 Dalhousie Tigers (11th in RPI):

As mentioned above, fell twice to Cape Breton. To be fair, the Capers are on fire right now. 42 total points from Simon Farine weren't enough to turn the trick in the two losses.
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  1. Never too early to start Bracketology:

    1. Carleton (OUA winner)
    2. Cape Breton (AUS winner)
    3. UBC (Canada West winner)
    4. Trinity Western (Canada West runner-up)
    5. StFX (AUS runner-up)
    6. Laurier (OUA runner-up)
    7. Victoria (wild card)
    8. McGill (QUBL winner)

    One through five I didn't spend much time thinking about, but the bottom three are pretty much a toss-up at this point. (Maybe it is too early.)

    I don't think Saskatchewan finishes in the top three in Canada West (don't forget, they still haven't played TWU, Regina, or Alberta in the regular season), so I'll take Victoria out of the west. And it's tough to argue against UVic as wildcard unless Carleton loses in the OUA Final Four semis, which I doubt (but if the Vikes get crushed by UBC in February I'll reconsider). That just leaves the OUA runner-up and I like Laurier there. (A lot can change, though: the Lancers have yet to play Lakehead or Laurier.)

  2. Here's my bracket:

    1. Carleton (OUA winner)
    2. Cape Breton (AUS winner)
    3. UBC (CW winner)
    4. Saskatchewan (Canada West runner-up)
    5. Lakehead (OUA runner-up)
    6. St. FX (AUS runner-up)
    7. Laval (QSSF winner)
    8. Windsor (wild card)

  3. And mine. Still awfully early, so I expect it to change quite a bit over the next weeks:

    1. Carleton (OUA winner)
    2. UBC (CW winner)
    3. Cape Breton (AUS winner)
    4. Trinity Western (Canada West runner-up)
    5. Lakehead (OUA runner-up)
    6. Laval (QSSF winner)
    7. St. FX (AUS runner-up)
    8. Saskatchewan (wild card)