Men's Basketball: National Top Ten Tracker - Holiday edition

What have the top-10 teams in CIS men's basketball been up to over the holidays? Glad you asked! Here's a look at how the ten best fared over the break, and what they'll be up to this week.

#1 Carleton Ravens:
Spent some time working on their games and tans in Ft. Lauderdale over the break. They'll play the Ryerson Rams, who are fresh off a loss in the final of their own National Invitational Tournament, on Friday. Their first real test of the new year, however, will be the following night against the 6-2 Toronto Varsity Blues.

#2 UBC Thunderbirds:
Fell 87-84 to the Westmount College Warriors in the final of the Tom Byron Classic in Santa Barbara, CA. Westmount's Preston Branson went for 40 in that game, and Alex Murphy's last-second three wouldn't drop. They'll travel to Winnipeg this weekend to try and hunt down the Manitoba Bisons.

#3 Saskatchewan Huskies:
Blew away surprising hosts Winnipeg 80-60 in the final of the Wesmen Classic, capturing the title of the longest-running tournament in Canadian university sports. Rejean Chabot was named tournament MVP, and the Huskies proved they are ready for the stretch run of the conference season with a barnburner 80-79 win over Lakehead in the semi-final.

The news wasn't all good, however. As the Winnipeg Free Press' Allan Besson reports, Saskatchewan star Jamelle Barrett played the tournament with severe pain and swelling in his hand, and doesn't "really know what's going on." They'll head to Brandon this weekend for a couple of contests with the Bobcats.

#4 Concordia Stingers
Won bronze at Dalhousie's Rod Shoveller Tournament, losing a disappointing semi-final 88-77 to the St. F-X X-Men. 24 points from Kyle Desmarais and a second-half charge weren't enough to overcome a 19-point deficit built by St. F-X. The Stingers responded with a 75-55 win over Acadia in the bronze medal game. They'll have a chance to further establish their Quebec supremacy this weekend against Laval.

#5 St. Francis Xavier X-Men:
Looked like the top-10 team they're supposed to be, winning the Shoveller Tournament with an 85-69 win in the final over the Dalhousie Tigers.

You have to wonder what's going on between star guard Christian Upshaw and coach Steve Konchalski. Monty Mosher's article says Upshaw was held out of the semi-final for 'undisclosed reasons.' This isn't the first time it's happened this season, either. They get UPEI and Acadia this weekend.

#6 Laval Rouge et Or:
Bowed out of the Shoveller Tournament early by blowing a 24-point lead over the Acadia Axemen, who prevailed 85-80 in overtime. The Rouge et Or shot just 25 per cent in the second half and scored just 22 points, after going for 51 on 46 per cent in the first half. Ouch.

#7 Trinity Western Spartans
Will start their second half on the road this weekend against Victoria.

#8 Windsor Lancers:
The Lancers beat Ohio State.... Mansfield campus. One day after falling 73-37 73-67 to Lake Erie College, Windsor manhandled Ohio State-Mansfield 107-73 behind 24 points from Monty Hardware. They'll begin their second half on Wednesday at Western.

#9 Toronto Varsity Blues:
Finished third in the Ryerson NIT, falling to the eventual champion Walsh Cavaliers in the semi-finals. The Blues also beat the Houghton Highlanders but fell to the Daemen Wildcats over the break. They'll play Ottawa and Carleton this weekend.

#10 Cape Breton Capers:
Will return from China tomorrow, having travelled the country to play three games. This was probably the second coolest holiday trip in the CIS, behind the McMaster men's volleyball team going to UCLA and getting a box for a Lakers game. They'll play Dalhousie twice this upcoming weekend.
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  1. Toronto actually played Walsh very well, leading after three and keeping it tied in the fourth (at 75, I think?), which I guess is an accomplishment against an NAIA team. Can Ball Ray and I were in the stands at Ryerson and we were both quite impressed.

  2. corrected score Erie college 73 Windsor 67.
    Windsor played without leading scorer Isaac Kuon.