Thursday, March 10, 2011

Here's our preview for the Final 8, presented in descending order of how likely that team is to win, per our odds based on RPI and SRS. "Top-100 players" refers to our player rankings. Players marked with * or ** were first- or second-team conference all-stars ("conference" meaning OUA East/West in the case of Ontario; someone needs to tell them they're the same conference). "Bracketology consensus" refers to the majority opinion for this team's seeding in our latest Bracketology post. "Possible roadblocks" are questions or concerns posed about this team from a CIS follower at some point during the year (links provided) or a worrying statistic. The first-round point spread is also RPI/SRS-based, and is from that team's point of view, so UBC/Acadia is a 23-point line in favour of UBC.

Half the teams are new this year and about half those teams weren't expected to make it at all, so let's get right into it.



1. UBC THUNDERBIRDS
Josh Whyte
RPI / SRS: 3rd / +20.7
Odds of winning: 31.9%
Top-100 players and award-winners: Josh Whyte* (7), Brent Malish (55), Alex Murphy** (64), Nathan Yu (70), Doug Plumb (94), Kevin Hanson (coach)
Bracketology consensus: #1
Last year: Qualified as the at-large berth, 31% chance of winning, lost final to Saskatchewan
Possible roadblocks: May not be in CIS come Sunday (okay, that's a joke). "Less than stellar" defence can be worrisome at times (Noah Burshtein).
First-round point spread: Acadia, +23



2. CARLETON RAVENS
Cole Hobin
RPI / SRS: 2nd / +18.8
Odds of winning: 24.6%
Top-100 players and award-winners: Tyson Hinz* (9, MVP), Philip Scrubb** (34, rookie), Elliot Thompson** (73), Willy Manigat (81), Kyle Smendziuk (83), Cole Hobin* (88, defensive MVP), Dave Smart (coach)
Bracketology consensus: #2 (minus one pundit)
Last year: Qualified as hosts but also won the OUA, 34.5% chance of winning, lost semifinal to Saskatchewan
Possible roadblocks: "Getting that confidence and quiet swagger back may be Carleton's greatest challenge as they prepare for arguably the most athletic team in the Final 8" (Mark Wacyk). And their coach will probably tell you they aren't good enough to win but that's always what he says, isn't it?
First-round point spread: Concordia, +12.5




Michael Lieffers
3. SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES
RPI / SRS: 6th / +16.5
Odds of winning: 11.6%
Top-100 players and award-winners: Jamelle Barrett* (2, MVP), Rejean Chabot** (10), Nolan Brudehl (41), Michael Lieffers (63), Duncan Jones (87)
Bracketology consensus: #3
Last year: You might not know this, but they beasted
Possible roadblocks: "Can this vastly different team defend its title?" (Brian Decker). "Saskatchewan's a pretty small team in general" (Andrew Bucholtz). Opponents had nearly a 50% effective field-goal percentage.
First-round point spread: Dalhousie, +3



6. DALHOUSIE TIGERS
RPI / SRS: 5th / +12.1
Odds of winning: 11.3%
Top-100 players and award-winners: Simon Farine* (13), Joseph Schow* (28), John Campbell (coach)
Bracketology consensus: #6
Last year: Did not qualify
Last time they were here: One-and-done in 2009
Possible roadblocks: The slower Schow could be exposed "if the Huskies use their quick and explosive big men" (Armaan Ahluwalia).
First-round point spread: Saskatchewan, -3



4. LAKEHEAD GREAT GROUP OF DUDES [TEAMMATES]
RPI / SRS: 4th / +8.0
Odds of winning: 8.0%
Top-100 players and award-winners: Jamie Searle* (24), Venzal Russell** (82), Yoosrie Salhia (92), Greg Carter (defensive MVP), Scott Morrison (coach)
Bracketology consensus: #4
Last year: Qualified as OUA third-place team, 3.9% chance of winning, lost to UBC in first round
Possible roadblocks: "When the pressure's on, who gets the ball and makes the plays?" (Brian Decker). "They seem to be pretty streaky and fairly dependent on outside shooting" (Brian Decker). Second-worst foul shooters in the country (not in the Final 8, in the country).
First-round point spread: TWU, pick 'em



Jacob Doerkson
5. TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS
RPI / SRS: 10th / +16.2
Odds of winning: 8.0%
Top-100 players and award-winners: Jacob Doerkson* (1), Calvin Westbrook (32), Tyrell Mara (39), Tristan Smith (95)
Bracketology consensus: #7
Last year: Did not qualify
Last time they were here: Have never made the Final 8 before
Possible roadblocks: "It wouldn't be a stretch to say the Spartans need to close out games a little stronger" (Brian Decker). They also foul quite a bit (22.5 per game, one FTM made by opponents per four FGAs against).
First-round point spread: Lakehead, pick 'em



7. CONCORDIA STINGERS
RPI / SRS: 7th / +0.7
Odds of winning: 3.5%
Top-100 players and award-winners: Kyle Desmarais* (43, co-MVP), Decee Krah* (93), James Clark**
Bracketology consensus: #5 or #7
Last year: Did not qualify
Last time they were here: 6th place in 2009
Possible roadblocks: Turnovers (18.6 per game, one per five possessions) and the fact that they have only done seven things worth mentioning in two years.
First-round point spread: Carleton, -12.5



8. ACADIA AXEMEN
RPI / SRS: 14th / -2.5
Odds of winning: 1.1%
Top-100 players and award-winners: Owen Klassen** (19), Anthony Sears (46)
Bracketology consensus: #8
Last year: Did not qualify
Last time they were here: 2nd place in 2008, beating Carleton in a double-OT semifinal for the ages, losing to Brock in the final
Possible roadblocks: Their first-round opponent, and their defence (gave up a point per possession)
First-round point spread: UBC, -23

Photo credits: Wilson Wong / CiTR (Doerkson), Rob Pettapiece (Whyte, Hobin, Lieffers).

1 comment:

  1. Coach Smart must be happy that you didn't rank CU #1..

    ReplyDelete