Each Tuesday, we’ll look at who’s moving up and down, who’s staying put and who’s moving in and out of the CIS Top 10. This week, the top dogs stay put, everyone else moves and we have our first QUBL sighting of the year.
Here are this week's official CIS rankings and RPI. Here's Rob's post from this weekend's results.
No. 4 Saskatchewan, up from no. 5: Jamelle Barrett came back just in time for the Huskies to close out their semester with two wins. Though they went 2-0 without him, it’s pretty obvious that Barrett is the straw that stirs the drink for the Dogs. Everyone else in their lineup instantly becomes more valuable when they play complementary roles to his driving, dishing and scoring prowess. His 30-8-6 in an OT win over UFV was one of the best CIS games of the year.
Also, this week in unreported Huskies injuries features forward Nolan Brudehl, who missed both games over the weekend.
No. 5 Victoria, up from no. 6: In case anyone didn’t notice (and it’s likely more than a few didn’t), the Vikes are the only remaining undefeated team out west, likely because they’ve yet to play any of the other ranked CW teams. Still, they’ve done everything they needed to in the first semester, having taken care of business and set themselves up for a good run in January and February.
Ryan McKinnon is shooting 53% and averaging 21.4 points on the year, giving the Vikes enough production to lead a balanced attack. It’s tough to say how that will translate against stiffer competition, but we’ll have to trust the voters’ judgment that this is the fifth-best team in the country (and the RPI, which has them sixth).
No. 6 Alberta, up from no. 7: Their third win over a ranked opponent (a convincing 79-57 victory over UFV) is enough to legitimize their top-six ranking, but there are a few things they could work on: shooting over 50% in a game, for instance. They also got badly beaten on the boards and shot just 41.2% against the Cascades and somehow still won by 22. That means you’re still doing some things right.
No. 8 Wilfrid Laurier, up from no. 9: Still undefeated, and still trying to convince people that that they’re more than just the third-best OUA team. And even when you beat up Laurentian and York, home court wins against overmatched OUA East foes doesn’t get you much credit. They’ll get a chance to prove their worth as they head to Ottawa to take on the Gee-Gees and Ravens next week. Until then, it’s still tough to say exactly how good this team is.
No. 10 Concordia, previously unranked: Just like last year, the Stingers are the best of the QUBL, which is like saying the Cobb Salad is the best item on the healthy menu at McDonald’s. They’re the best among those they compete with, but you move them somewhere else and their success becomes a little more dubious. They play UQAM for their first two games in January, which should give us a better idea of how good these guys actually are.
No. 7 UBC, down from no. 4: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t think this team has the depth to be the force that Thunderbird teams have been over the past few years. In their loss to Lethbridge, they got a grand total of 12 bench points, Nathan Yu was forced to take on a scoring role (not sure what’s more wild: that he took 16 threes, or that he made eight of them) and foul trouble ate them up. The following night in a loss to Calgary, three starters and a key player (Graham Bath, Balraj Bains, Doug Plumb and Tommy Nixon) fouled out, while Yu and Kamar Burke each had four fouls.
UBC’s top talent is good enough to compete for a title, but they’re going to need to find a way to stay on the court, and that starts with getting more out of their bench.
No. 9 UFV, down from no. 8: Two losses to end the semester after a 5-1 start will leave a sour taste in their mouths, especially after shooting 35% in a loss to Alberta. They still need to play UBC and Victoria twice, so they’ll have some work to do in the second semester. If their resurgence is going to continue, more consistent play will be at the top of their wish list this Christmas.
No. 1 Carleton: A win over the GGODs in the Thunderdome is never easy to achieve, and the first team to challenge the Carletons didn’t make it easy. A three-point victory, probably the closest a team will get to beating the Ravens until the playoffs, is the feather in the Ravens’ cap so far this year.
No. 2 St. FX: Is an undefeated season too much to ask? Yes. Their 81-78 win over Dalhousie was their second nail-biter of the year. I’m just not sold on the rest of the AUS, however (maybe UPEI?!). X is clearly better than all the other teams, and for some reason it seems conceivable that they'll beat everyone this year.
No. 3 Lakehead: No shame in the Thunderwolves losing a classic to the best team in the country. From what I hear about this game, it sounds like a thriller. I’d say I wish I was there, but then I’d be wishing to be in Thunder Bay and no one wants that. I am looking forward to what this team does in the second semester, however.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: Nathan Yu, UBC: 36 points, six assists, 8/16 3pt
I don’t care that they lost, that he went 2-for-6 on two-point shots, and that it probably played into Lethbridge’s strategy to make him a scorer. Nathan Yu shooting 16 threes is hilarious, and making eight of them is pretty awesome.
Honourable mention to TRU’s Justin King, who is averaging 32.8 points over his last four games, shooting 61%.
UPPER DECK TOP 10
2. St. FX
7. Wilfrid Laurier
9. Fraser Valley
THIS WEEK IN @CHRIS__OLIVER: “Discipline means to learn everything that helps us to the maximum performance.”