With exams coming to a close and the winter break upon us, it won't be long before many CIS teams are playing in mid-season tournaments and preparing for the stretch drive of the second semester season. But before we start looking ahead to the holiday tournaments and second half games, it's time to make like professors and TAs and start dishing out the first-half grades. How have the teams done in their pursuit of athletic excellence?
Jared Book takes a look at the Quebec conference.
With the most any Quebec team having played being at least three games lower than the rest of the country, there isn't much to go on especially when the favourite to win the conference has only played three games. However, there seems to be a grouping in the middle of the pack that has yet to separate.
Record: 3-0, 1st
CIS Rank: 10th
The Concordia Stingers went worst-to-first last season, and this season lost no players to graduation so you had to expect them to be the favourites again this season and so far so good as they have won their three games and are the best Quebec in most key statistics including rebounding, scoring and turnovers. They even lead the nation in steals at 13.3 steals per game. So far this season they have beat McGill, Laval and Bishop's and start the second semester off with back-to-back games against UQAM. The Stingers seem to be the team to beat in Quebec.
Record: 3-2, 2nd
The McGill Redmen are continuing their relaunching under second year coach Dave DeAveiro. After finishing 10-6 and making the playoffs a year ago, McGill had a 25 point win over Laval in the season's second game which is never an easy task. They also had wins against Bishop's and split their two games against UQAM. McGill is second in most statistical categories in the conference and seem, so far, to be the team that has the inside track for the second home playoff game. All in all, McGill has to be pleased with the results thus far from DeAveiro.
Record: 2-2, T-3rd
Laval always seems to be in the playoff hunt, and this year is no different. However, other than their win against last-place Bishop's, this Laval team has struggled losing big to McGill and Concordia on the road and beating UQAM by only four at home. Laval and Bishop's do have the most traveling to do in the conference as UQAM, Concordia and McGill stay in the city when they play each other. That gives Laval a home-court advantage but also hurts them in their multiple trips into Montreal. This conference, with McGill's emergence is becoming a four-team race and it will be a very interesting second half of the season.
Record: 2-2, T-3rd
UQAM is coming back from a disappointing 5-11 season a year ago which saw them need to replace several key players. Already almost halfway to their victory total from a year ago, their key seems to be a stifling defence. In their win against McGill, they held the Redmen to only 35 points and have allowed a Quebec-best 59 points per game. They have yet to meet Concordia and their two games with them coming out of the break will be big in seeing whether this UQAM team is closer to the top or the bottom of the conference.
Record: 0-4, 4th
After a two-win season last year, the Gaiters have yet to win this season. They have lost to each team in the conference with the closest game being an eight point loss against UQAM in their first game of the season. Given the results of the teams ahead of them, Bishop's has their work cut out for them to make the playoffs this year and will need a strong second half in order to get themselves into the picture before they fall too far behind.